Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Wanted: Animals with talent and humans too

Tom Hollow (left), Sam Notman and Eradyn Watson at the 'New Zealand's Got Talent' auditions yesterday. Photo / Getty Images
Tom Hollow (left), Sam Notman and Eradyn Watson at the 'New Zealand's Got Talent' auditions yesterday. Photo / Getty Images

The backers of the New Zealand's Got Talent show want more animal antics.

The call came yesterday as auditions moved to Wellington a week after a dog won the talent show's British equivalent.

Ashleigh Butler, 17, scooped $1 million in prize money when her performing pooch Pudsey triumphed on Britain's Got Talent last weekend. Butler has been offered millions of dollars more in sponsorship deals from pet food and equipment companies.

New Zealand's Got Talent, hosted by Tamati Coffey, is at present auditioning contestants around the country. The series is due to be screened on TVNZ this year.

So far the only animal entry has been a howling dog from Greymouth.

"After Pudsey won in Britain we expected a flood of animals to be put forward to audition in New Zealand, but so far that hasn't happened," a spokeswoman for TVNZ said. "We are surprised because if Pudsey's success is anything to go by there, as well as a $100,000 prize, there is the possibility of an owner raking in a lot more than that in endorsements in New Zealand.

"We did have a dog that auditioned who howled on cue, but we won't know for a few weeks yet if it will get through to the first filmed auditions in July."

The spokeswoman continued: "We now want to hear from anyone who may have a cat that can do back flips or a rapping rabbit. If Pudsey can win ... anything is possible."

Hundreds of people have been trying out for the Kiwi version of the reality show at auditions around the country. As well as the usual singers and dancers, others to try out have included a pole dancer from Christchurch and a woman who cracks whips on stage.

Yesterday, a steady flow of singers, dancers, jugglers and bagpipers made their way into Wellington East Girls' College for their shot at fame.

Boy Republic - made up of Tom Hollow, Sam Notman and Eradyn Watson - decided to enter the competition earlier this year, but didn't get together to practice their performance until Friday night.

"We're just going to rock up and see what happens," Hollow said.

Open auditions still have to make their way to Napier, Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga and Whangarei, before ending in Auckland on June 9.

Contestants will find out by email if they have made it through to the next round on June 18.

Details on how to enter can be found at TVNZ.co.nz.

- Herald on Sunday

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