‘Code Fun’ teaches preschoolers tech

Having a ball .. Code Fun writer and director Janis McCarthy (left) guides presenter Rosalind "Rozzie" Manowitz in a NHNZ studio in central Dunedin on Monday. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE


In a series, business reporter Shawn McAvinue asks people working in Dunedin five questions.

Five questions with . . . Code Fun writer and director Janis McCarthy, of Dunedin.

Q: What is Code Fun?

A new children’s television series currently in production around Dunedin and in a NHNZ studio. The 30-episode series _ created and produced by Pickled Possum Productions –  teaches preschoolers the basics of digital technology. We are introducing computational thinking to young people.

QWhen did you get into the industry?

I studied in Dunedin, back when Aoraki Polytechnic had a diploma in film and television production. I graduated in 2004. I got a job straight away with Pickled Possum and I’ve been working for them, on-and-off doing different shows, since then. I started working for Pickled Possum when I was 22 and I’m 36 now. There wasn’t enough to keep me here that whole time so I moved to Auckland for a few years, and Christchurch for a few years, and returned to Dunedin about six years ago.

I’ve also worked on ZooMoo, another children’s show made in Dunedin.

Q: Is there work for students graduating with television production qualifications?

There is definitely work in television but in my class, three of us work in television and the rest of a class of about 20, don’t.

Q: Is there potential for more children’s television to be made in Dunedin?

I think so, Dunedin is a great place to make TV shows, it takes 10 minutes to get across town, not two hours, like in Auckland.

Q: It must be nice being able to stay in Dunedin.

It’s great – I’m very, very lucky but I made the choice to stay here no matter what. I’m from here and I have a son so if I can keep finding TV work here, that’s good for me.

  • Code Fun will air later this year on TVNZ 2, TVNZ on Demand and HEIHEI.