We are Ōrākei School...

Story Shop is delighted to share our latest video offering a glimpse of life at Ōrākei School, Auckland.

Filmed over two days and featuring kids from all parts of the school, including the Rumaki Reo and Montessori class, athletics day and classroom learning, the video features drone footage and narration by students in six languages. Go Ōrākei School!

Produced/Directed - Eric Millet | Camera - Guy Quartermain

The Great NZ Dance Masala is here

An original television concept developed by Story Shop and produced by Top Shelf Productions for Three, with funding from New Zealand On Air.

The series takes the best of India’s centuries-old dance culture and combines it with an entertainment format where New Zealanders of all backgrounds compete to win the Great New Zealand Dance Masala. Designed to put a Kiwi spin on the the rich traditions of dance and music developed in India and now taking the world by storm.

The Great New Zealand Dance Masala is hosted by Colin Mathura-Jeffree and features all-ages talent from all over the country.

“The best reality dancing show in the country right now.” - Sunday Herald

Anna Murray: Indian-inspired dance show eschews celebrities 'in favour of people who actually have rhythm'

Roll up, roll up for a new series of Heritage Rescue!

Eric Millet (front centre) with the rest of the Heritage Rescue production team

Eric Millet (front centre) with the rest of the Heritage Rescue production team

The artefacts have been given a dust off and the paint brushes put away after 6 months of production of Heritage Rescue, series two.

Produced for Choice TV (Freeview Channel 12) by Top Shelf Productions with Story Shop's Eric Millet production co-ordinating, series two has taken the team off the beaten tourist track and into the heart of New Zealand's lesser known rural towns.

In this New Zealand on Air-funded series, community-run museums harbouring unusual collections and quirky true stories get a carefully planned makeover.

Now in post-production, Heritage Rescue airs on Choice TV later in the year.

Final day goes off with a bang!

The final day of filming for Heritage Rescue season 2 just wrapped. The Top-Shelf Productions show started shooting the 8 episodes back in February. Today was a pick-up shoot to most notably film the firing of the 132 year old 'disappearing' gun (1885) on North Head, Devonport, Auckland NZ. It has only been fired a handful of times in the last century. It's first firing was in 1887, 2 years after it was built, to test if it actually worked!

Pyrotechnic and armoury whizzes Daryl Richard and Grant Philpott at work on the 1885 disappearing gun on North Head, Auckland NZ

Pyrotechnic and armoury whizzes Daryl Richard and Grant Philpott at work on the 1885 disappearing gun on North Head, Auckland NZ

The gun is ready, area cordoned off and now waiting for Heritage Rescue presenter Brigid Gallegher to come and push the detonator....

The gun is ready, area cordoned off and now waiting for Heritage Rescue presenter Brigid Gallegher to come and push the detonator....

The crowd gathering

The crowd gathering

House of English photo shoot

In between making videos, Story Shop’s Eric Millet recently peeled off a photo shoot for Elaine Pujji at House of English. Offering one-on-one tuition in all aspects of spoken and written English, House of English is a boutique tuition service in Auckland’s CBD.


Special thanks go to model student Peggy-Jane de Schepper, the photographer’s son as the younger model student, and George Lai and the rest of the team at Albert Park Café and Espresso on Kitchener Street.

The word gets out about Médaillé Extraordinaire

It’s just over a month since the launch of Médaillé Extraordinaire in Picardy, France. The exhibition about New Zealander Lieutenant-Colonel James Waddell’s flamboyant life in France’s Foreign Legion coincides with centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme.

The exhibition, produced in New Zealand by Story Shop and supported by the New Zealand-France Friendship, received wide-ranging media coverage at home and in Europe. Please click here to view. 

We have also been moved by some of the feedback received from France. For those who can parler français: 

Quelques mots pour vous dire que la journée du 4 juillet à Belloy-en-Santerre était très réussie. Comme un siècle auparavant, il pleuvait durant la cérémonie mais le ciel est redevenu clément pour le déjeuner. Je suis allé voir l’exposition. Elle était très bien. Vos “kakémonos” sur James Waddell étaient très réussis et ont beaucoup plus aux membres de l’amicale que j’accompagnais.

C’était une expo très bien faite et très éducative. Votre travail de mémoire vous honore et je suis très heureux de voir qu’à l’autre bout du monde des citoyens pensent encore à ceux qui sont morts en défendant notre pays.
— Jean Michel Lasaygues, Noisy le Grand
Vos panneaux, plus particulièrement et James Waddell lui-même, ont fait sensation.
Un grand bravo pour ces superbes panneaux qui apporteront une présence néo-zélandaise à notre exposition. Et merci!
— Marcel Queyrat, Association Santerre 2014 - 2018

We’d like to pay tribute to all of those who have helped pull this project together over the last seven years. This little known story of a ‘boy’ from Cromwell, Central Otago, is being shared for the first time with people of all ages in the Santerre region of Picardy, France. Your support has made this possible.

Curator Jasmine Millet's remerciements go to:

Claudia Klein

Julie Waddell

Joanna Wilby

Julie-Anne Labroy 

Eric Millet

Marcel Queyrat

Bruno Etévé

Charlotte Clech

Capitaine Jean Michon

Bridget Hargreaves

Ambassade de France en Nouvelle-Zélande

Alliance Française d’Auckland

Elise Tokouka

Marie-Thérèse & Charles Millet

Christopher Pugsley

Dave Johnston

Mark Derby

Exhibition sponsors:

story shop logo_print.jpg
santerre 2014-2018.jpg
Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 3.03.10 pm.png
Souvenir français.png

LaserKids dental app lifts off

The LaserKids dental app was launched recently and it has a very exciting feature in it, which is a first for NZ. It allows parents to upload photos of their child's teeth and get a free initial assessment from Dr Alfonso Vargas of LaserKids dental in Auckland, New Zealand. He will tell you what might be going on in terms of alignment, overcrowding or other issues regarding jaw, palate and tooth formation based on what he sees in the photos. It's super easy to use and the app gives you a couple of sample photos to show what kind of photos to upload. Story Shop created the video below which introduces this cool feature.

While preparing for our shoot Dr Alfonso mentioned that "Traditionally dentists are taught to wait for all the permanent teeth to appear in the oral cavity before anything can be done".

However after treating hundreds of children and questioning why so many present with issues of over-crowding, cross-bite, narrow-jaw etc he has concluded "In many cases there are things we can do to change the oral habits that lead to these issues in the first place". Here are some of the areas he says that we can go wrong;

1) Thumb or Lip sucking - When a child puts a finger or thumb into their mouth and starts sucking the lips and cheek muscles exert around 150-250grams of constant pressure on the jaws causing them to alter their normal growth pattern

2) Mouth breathing - When a child mouth breathes as opposed to nose breathing it changes the positon of the tongue and removes the support it normally gives to the upper jaw. During development this may cause narrow-jaw and crowding of teeth. Constant mouth breathing also alters the pH of our saliva reducing its anti-bacterial effect leading to increased risk of tooth decay.

3)Tongue function and resting position - Kids with tongue restrictions like tongue-tie or a habit called reverse-swallowing are at risk of problems. We all swallow about 2000-3000 times a day creating about 500gm of pressure against the roof of our mouths, this helps to develop the upper dental arch reducing the chances of narrow-jaw and crowded teeth. Anything the restricts our normal swallowing patterns is not going to be ideal.

It was fascinating speaking to Dr Alfonso about the above issues. The App is great and very worthwhile. It can be downloaded from the following links:

Google Play

Apple iTunes Store




Médaillé Extraordinaire Exhibition Opens in France

Produced by Story Shop the Médaillé Extraordinaire exhibition opens in Belloy-en-Santerre, France on 4 July 2016 before being shown at other locations on the Somme. See below for more details

James Waddell as a young officer in the Foreign Legion, 1913. Image courtesy of the Waddell Family

James Waddell as a young officer in the Foreign Legion, 1913. Image courtesy of the Waddell Family


Médaillé Extraordinaire, the first exhibition bringing to light the remarkable story of a New Zealander whose glittering military career spanned 20 years in France's Foreign Legion, opens in Belloy-en-Santerre, Picardy, on 4 July 2016.

The exhibition, supported by the New Zealand France Friendship Fund, coincides with centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme in France starting in July.

It tells the little known story of Lieutenant-Colonel James Waddell who was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, but fought under the French flag for the duration of World War I

He gave brilliant service as a battalion commander of Legion troops at Gallipoli, on the Somme, at Champagne and Verdun. He was awarded France's Croix de guerre 1914-1918 with seven palms, was made Commander of the Legion of Honour and lived to tell the tale

"The story of James Waddell is fascinating for so many reasons, and it's one we in both countries should know more about," says curator New Zealander Jasmine Millet.

"I think his military achievements make him one of New Zealand's most important military figures but Waddell also had the most unusual personal life, which explains how a working class boy from the bottom of the world wound up as an officer in the Foreign Legion."

The exhibition combines large-scale photographs with the story of Waddell researched by Millet over seven years and is hosted in Picardy by the Association Santerre 2014-2018 and the Souvenir Français.

"we are delighted to be able to present this unique exhibition as part of our local centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme," says Association Santerre secretary Marcel Queyrat.

"The liberation of the village of Belloy-en-Santerre in 1916 was a key moment in the history of this area. Until recently we had absolutely no idea that a New Zealander called James Waddell lead a Legion battalion at the forefront of that big push. And he was the only battalion commander to come out alive."

The exhibition will be shown in Belloy-en-Santerre until the end of August, after which it will travel around the Santerre region of the Somme.

Médaillé Extraordinaire is one of only two New Zealand-led projects given the official seal of France's Mission du centenaire de la Première Guerre mondiale.

It has been supported by: Story Shop, France-New Zealand Friendship Fund, Association Santerre 2014-2018, Souvenir Français, ECPAD and the Horowhenua Chronicle.

Title banner of exhibition

Title banner of exhibition

No Man's Land Feature - available free to watch

No Man's Land is a World War One commemorative project by acclaimed composer John Psathas and producer/director Jasmine Millet (Story Shop) bringing together over 150 musicians from around the world.

Many of the musicians were filmed on the exact same battlefields that 100 years ago their forebearers were fighting and dying on....now they were able to come together in peace as friends and share humanity's common language of music. In commemoration of this war, rather than meditating on past deeds and glorifying certain actions, it is hoped people will reflect on our need for peace and compassion, that building bridges benefits us more than destroying them...

The feature film is now available to view freely. Please enjoy it and share it as widely as possible!

In the coming months Jasmine will share some of her experiences and insights as producer and director of No Man's Land.

If you are after more information about the project or some of the wonderful musicians and people involved in the creation of No Man's Land then please check out www.nomanslandproject.org


Sneak preview of No Man’s Land locations

A selection of some of the haunting World War I locations Jasmine and the rest of the No Man’s Land crew will return to over the next few weeks. 

Fort I - Przemysl, Poland

Fort I - Przemysl, Poland

Wood - Przemyśl, Poland

Wood - Przemyśl, Poland

Frise sur Somme, France

Frise sur Somme, France

The Somme, France

The Somme, France

Not far from Passchendaele, Flanders, Belgium

Not far from Passchendaele, Flanders, Belgium

La Citadelle de Verdun - Verdun, France

La Citadelle de Verdun - Verdun, France

French WWI cemetery, Notre Dame de Lorette, near Arras, France  All photos by Mathew Knight

French WWI cemetery, Notre Dame de Lorette, near Arras, France

All photos by Mathew Knight

No Man’s Land Europe shoot - the countdown is on!

photo by Kenyon Shankie

photo by Kenyon Shankie

Three days to go until Director Jasmine Millet and the rest of the No Man’s Land crew leave New Zealand for an epic 7 week shoot and music record in Europe. 

A year in the making already, No Man’s Land brings together musicians from around the world to perform music by composer John Psathas on the battlefields of World War I. One hundred years ago their ancestors were fighting on this ground; in 2015 they are collaborators and friends promoting peace and togetherness. 

The shoot takes place in Poland, Belgium, France and, later, India and New Zealand. For regular updates from the field, please like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nomanslandproject?fref=ts 

For a project description, crew information, profiles of musicians profiles and our generous supporters check out our website: www.nomanslandproject.org

Story Shop’s Eric Millet has had his Production Co-ordinator role on for this project and will be supporting the team from home base in Auckland. His French-speaking skills will be sorely missed on the ground!

photo by Kenyon Shankie

photo by Kenyon Shankie

First pictures in the can

Good first day of shooting for No Man’s Land last week with Director of Photography Mathew Knight and featuring musicians from Wellington band The Nudge James Coyle and Ryan Prebble (plus family). Love your work guys.

Review of Reality Trip

"The makers of Reality Trip have shown great commercial savvy in their choice of five young Kiwis to plunge into the reality of third-world poverty and the hard graft that lies behind many of our products.

The contrast with their Kiwi lives that the five feel when they encounter the cramped apartments, low wages and inadequate sanitation of the Philippines makes Reality Trip a chance to see what life beyond our comfort zone can be like.

Who knows? You might just see real life.” Nice work Top Shelf Productions and the local people in each country who made it happen.


Not your ordinary reality doco series

Check out Reality Trip, with story research by Jasmine Millet, on TV3 in New Zealand, Mondays at 9.30pm and as video on demand at www.tv3.co.nz. Not your ordinary reality documentary series, this was a challenging set of stories to research - and obviously a life-changing experience for the talent involved...! It's been fascinating watching the first three episodes filmed in the Philippines and now the fourth from Sri Lanka. Looking forward to more from Sri Lanka next week.

According to the blurb: This brand new series sees five young Kiwis go on the trip of a lifetime, travelling to Asia to see what goes into producing the products they so readily consume back home. S1 Ep1

Check it out: https://shar.es/1qFCjw


No Man's Land Launches online

No Man’s Land, the ambitious WWI ‘cinematic performance’ by composer John Psathas and directed by Story Shop’s Jasmine Millet, has pressed ‘play’ on a dedicated project website. 

The website will grow over the next few months, leading up to the work’s New Zealand premiere in February 2016. 

The project brings together musicians from around the world to perform a new, mega-symphony on the former battlefields of World War I. Set in France, Belgium, Poland and Turkey it’s set to be unlike any other centenary commemoration. We’ll keep the updates coming here too so watch this space...

Groupe F ing Amazing

Credits roll on the final show....

Credits roll on the final show....

It's barely been a week since the talented men and women of Groupe F left our shores after 3 jaw-dropping shows for the Auckland Arts Festival. I had the privilege of being their local assistant while in Auckland and seeing up close all the work and preparation that goes into putting on a show of this scale. There is a huge amount of effort, sweat and passion that goes into putting on these shows..and even as it happened a bit of blood...The result is truly F..ing Amazing!

Eric Millet - Story Shop                                                                                                                                                                   

The pyrotechnics are stacking up!!

The crowds building....