'Best job in the world'

Pair kick off NZ-wide tour in south

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 27/09/2013
Craig Smith
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ

Queenstown musician and children’s book author Craig Smith (Mr Wonky Donkey) performs to about a hundred children including Mercedes Checketts, 3 (back), Caleb Pink, 6, Taylah Jamieson, 4 (sitting), and Hannah Dick, 4 (front), all from Invercargill.

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Southland and Otago children are among the first in the country to boogie at a combined tour of Kiwi favourites Mr Wonky Donkey and Mr Yipadee.

Queenstown musician and children's book author Craig Smith (Mr Wonky Donkey) and a Kiwi singer based in England, Dean O'Brien (Mr Yipadee), are in Southland as part of their Kiwi Kids Fun Tour.

The pair kicked off their nationwide tour in Queenstown on Wednesday, followed by a performance in Invercargill yesterday.

Smith said the performances were about making kids laugh and having a good time. He has published several children's books including Wonky Donkey, Wilbee the Bumble Bee, Kaha the Kia and recently, My Daddy Ate an Apple.

Earlier this year O'Brien, originally from Mosgiel, asked Smith to tour New Zealand with him. It is the pair's first tour together and they will perform 40 shows in three weeks.

"It's all about self-belief and self-esteem for kids.

"It's the best job in the world. There's nothing better than kids laughing, and we get to stay as children," O'Brien said.

In June, O'Brien was a headline act at UK festival Glastonbury and also topped the UK iTunes Children's Album Charts earlier this year with his debut album, The Yes I Can Club.

"It's all about making people laugh, and kids can learn anything when they're having fun," he said.

While in Invercargill yesterday, the pair handed out Duffy Books to children at the Kew Pacific Island Childhood Early Education Centre.

The pair will perform at 4.30pm at the Longford Intermediate School in Gore today. Cost: $10.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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