Life-changing episodes led two children's entertainers on unlikely paths to musical success.
Craig Smith, also known as Mr Wonky Donkey, and Dean O'Brien, aka Mr Yipadee, breezed into Nelson yesterday on their whistlestop three-week national tour.
The pair had many of the 150 children in the Nelson College hall on their feet with their infectious blend of music, dance and storytelling.
O'Brien's dramatic career change came after being made redundant from his job as a programme director for a radio station in Manchester, England, just over a year ago.
O'Brien, 35, said his wife Lani gave him the courage to try to make a career out of writing and performing music for children.
Mr Yipadee - he wanted a name with a positive feel and "yipee" was trademarked - was born after the success of performances at his daughter's playcentre.
His debut album The Yes I Can Club initially spread online, went to number one on the British iTunes children's chart earlier this year, and he was invited to perform at the family section of the Glastonbury music festival.
O'Brien said his 1-year-old daughter Evolet was a Wonky Donkey fan, and he contacted Smith through his website with the idea of a national tour.
Both say the enthusiastic reception of their young audience is a constant motivation. O'Brien said his only regret was not starting sooner.
"If you have a dream, a vision, or something you have always wanted to do, just go for it. Don't wait. If you follow your heart you won't look back with regret." Smith said his lightbulb moment came in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in 2004 when a yacht he was travelling to Tonga on was tipped over during a storm.
As he hung upside down in the yacht's cabin fearing the worst, he thought: "I wish I had done more music."
The Otago man gave up his marketing career and became a fulltime musician.
His tongue-twisting musical take on an old joke of "what do you call a donkey with three legs - a wonky donkey" became a phenomenon, with more than 370,000 copies of the book sold. He has just launched his latest book, My Daddy Ate an Apple.
- © Fairfax NZ News