9:30am Saturday, September 26 on TV2

Today on TV2, it’s the Activate grand final, as the quest to find the next generation of top Kiwi chefs reaches boiling point.

Matt Gibb presides over the cooking show where the contestants need to rely on more than just their ability as a chef. They’re also tested on their physical fitness and health knowledge as well. Only the best two teams remain to impress us with their cooking and brainpower, and Hebron Christian College battles Villa Maria College to make the best signature meal. Steve Logan and Shaun Clouston – the owner and head chef of Logan-Brown, one of the top restaurants in Wellington – join Matt as the special guest judges.

As the fast, funny, and inspiring quiz show concludes, which team will win the day and bag the glory for their school?

Saturday 1 August, 9.30am

Popular teen cooking show, Activate, continues to delight and inform audiences, presenting creative culinary challenges to schools around New Zealand.

Quiz master, Matt Gibb, takes the students through their paces, in the show that pits two teams of three high school students against each other in the kitchen. Extra points, and a competitive edge, can also be gained by answering quiz questions, and completing mad challenges, comedy skits and fitness challenges.

Tune in this week as Aquinas College (Tauranga) faces Palmerston North Girls’ High School (Palmerston North) in the kitchen to see who can make the best burgers.

Saturday 20 June, 9.30am

TV2’s popular teen cooking show, Activate, returns for a second series to Saturday mornings with a cupboard full of new recipes, new challenges and a new presenter. Studio 2’s Matt Gibb is quiz master, in the show that tests two teams of three high school students against each other in the kitchen.

The format is simple but there’s a lot packed into the recipe! In each episode, two teams of three young chefs representing sixteen High Schools from around New Zealand are given a basic meal to cook. They are allowed to change the recipe to give it their own spin, but have to be careful that what they substitute for flavour doesn’t make the meal less nutritious. While they cook, quiz-master and host, Matt Gibb, poses questions relating to food and health, some of which are in the form of funny skits.

Having the chance to work on Activate this year has been inspiring and educational for Matt: “With Activate being so focused on healthy eating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it’s been a great chance for me to have a look at how I live!”

Since filming Activate, Matt’s even signed up at his local gym, “It’s funny, I am the one quizzing the contestants on the show, but at the same time I think I am probably the one learning the most from the whole process!”

Judges Anna Sloan (Dietitian) and Ish Cheyne (Fitness trainer/Chef) award points to the teams’ cooking, but the judging of the meals doesn’t end there! Both teams have a last chance at scoring the winning points in the Final Fat Burner: All three members of each team pedal exercise bikes for 60 seconds at a constant speed in order to make their buzzers work to answer fast and furious questions worth vital points!

Anna is dedicated to the cause of showing young New Zealanders how easy it is to make their own healthy meal choices. “I love showing people how to choose easy foods that are inexpensive, healthy, and how to put them together to make balanced tasty meals.”

Made with the help of New Zealand On Air and TVNZ, Activate also received a substantial portion of its budget from SPARC. SPARC were delighted with the first series and were keen to see the show continue. Part of their aim is to get young people thinking about the food they eat by simply cooking it themselves. All the base meals on Activate are designed to be nutritious, delicious and cheaper than any takeaway meal.

Anna emphasizes this saying, “Most of the recipes you see on Activate take less time to make than sitting in a drive-through waiting for the five cars ahead of you to get their orders. And once you start tasting ‘real’ food you’ve made yourself, you’ll find your taste buds have a whole new range of flavour favourites!”

Another addition to the salubrious format of Activate is Steve Logan and Shaun Clouston as guest judges for the Semi Finals and Final. Steve is co-owner of Logan-Brown, one of Wellington’s most respected restaurants and he’s no stranger to TV either. This award-winning restaurateur hosts popular TV One cooking show Hunger for the Wild with his restaurant partner, Al Brown. Shaun Clouston is Steve’s Head chef at Logan Brown. With many years experience as top chefs between them, Steve and Shaun will raise the heat in the kitchens for the teams who make it through to the final stages of Activate.

TV2’s new local show Activate is designed to inspire Kiwi teenagers to make healthy diet choices and get off the couch to exercise.

The show is a lively mix of cooking, interactive questions, silly challenges, sketch comedy and physical competition that will appeal to young an old. The key messages are simple: cooking from scratch is easy and fun once you know how and both healthier and cheaper than most fast food options.
The series was recorded with sixteen teams of three students from high schools all over New Zealand. The competition has fifteen-parts and sees winning teams advance to the overall Activate grand final to win a fantastic range of prizes.

Each episode focuses on one recipe and is divided into three parts: preparation, cooking and presentation. The teams are marked on their work in each of these parts by judges according to a range of different criteria such as teamwork, hygiene, healthy substitutions, taste, visual appeal and overall cooking skills. However, cooking only accounts for about half the available points; teams also have to find time to answer multi-choice questions, complete crazy kitchen challenges (like separating the most eggs or making the longest apple peel), as well as facing-off in a tough physical challenge posed by the Activate fitness guru.

Activate is hosted by Tu Rongonui, a young talent who is also a presenter on TV2’s What Now. Tu enjoyed the challenge of steering 16 teams of chefs through the competition, and says; “I was blown away by the experience! It’s a shame you can’t smell stuff through your TV because the studio always smelled so good. I have to admit, I’m not a great cook, so seeing a bunch of 15 and 16-year-olds cook these awesome meals, really fast, made me think – I could do that! Now if only I could find my frying pan…!”

Anna Sloan is a highly qualified dietitian and one of the judges on the show. She helped conceive the show’s basic recipes along the guidelines of providing healthy, balanced, economic meals for a typical New Zealand family of four. She says; “I thought this show was such a good idea because the basic principles of choosing to eat healthy food should be easy. Even if they don’t absorb the nutritional message right away, just having them in the kitchen giving it a go gets them thinking about real food.”

Child obesity is fast becoming a national problem. Roughly 30% of New Zealand children are considered overweight, and 10% are considered obese. Nutritional ignorance, poor food choices and inadequate physical exercise are major causes. Activate is designed to be entertaining and eye-catching so it encourages young people to think about what they eat.

This week, Waiheke High School takes on Logan Park High School in Dunedin to cook Fajitas. Be watching Activate on TV2, Saturday 16 February at 9.30am to find out who cooks their way to glory!

Saturdays 9.30am on TV2

NZ On Air has just announced funding of $2.8 million for four children’s programmes for broadcast on TV2 and TV3.

“Funding has been allocated for a second series of the animated children’s comedy series Staines Down Drains, which has proved to be a hit with younger viewers,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson, “We are also introducing three great new series.”

“Activate is a frantic, messy, cooking gameshow for young people, to help them think more about the foods they eat and the exercise they get,” said Ms Wrightson. “As obesity continues to be a problem for New Zealanders, this show is particularly timely – and it’s fun!” Â

In a similar vein funding has been approved for a series for pre-schoolers that is designed to get them up and moving. Action Central mixes a live presenter with a range of animated images to encourage the younger ones to join in. The concept has been tried on a test audience, with significant success.

“The children in the test audience quickly warmed to the presenter’s tone and lively actions, and were soon off the floor and joining in the fun,” Ms Wrightson said.

Funding has also been allocated to Bryan and Bobby, a series featuring Constable Bryan Ward, and Bobby his real-life police dog.

“This is a lovely series that teaches primary school-age children positive safety messages about security at home, peer pressure and sharing, among other things,” said Ms Wrightson. “It’s backed up with a website and also features visits from New Zealand sporting and television celebrities who are positive role models for younger New Zealanders.

“With these series, we’ve managed to provide something for a wide range of ages, and programmes that entertain, educate and deal with serious issues in a fun, approachable way.

“NZ On Air’s research continues to confirm the importance of locally produced children’s programmes to New Zealanders,” Ms Wrightson said, “and these projects are just the sort of innovative initiatives that meet those audience’s needs.”