Chris Lynch - The Puppeteer

Chris Lynch is an experienced puppeteer, who's worked on many children’s television shows in New Zealand. In 2019, Chris will embark on an exciting new project, gifting his time by performing a puppet character for child audiences to raise funds for Christchurch Hospital Children’s Department. Chris has worked with Disney, puppeteering New Zealand’s first Disney Muppet, modelled on a high profile news and current affairs veteran TV presenter. The Muppet was used to promote The Muppets film. In April 2016, with permission of Sesame Workshop, the producers of Sesame Street, he travelled to Fiji with Red Cross to help bring joy to children affected by Cyclone Winston. 

Fiji, Ra Province, Rakiraki - Children affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston have been given a unique opportunity to forget about their problems through a Fiji Red Cross puppet show using Sesame Street monsters. New Zealand puppeteer Chris Lynch visited 1000 children in some of the worst hit schools in the western division of Fiji - entertaining as well as passing on health and safety messages. Corinne Ambler/IFRC / Elmo is intellectual property of Sesame Workshop.

Fijian children affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston near the badly damaged town of Rakiraki in Ra province. Corinne Ambler/IFRC

Fijian children affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston near the badly damaged town of Rakiraki in Ra province. Corinne Ambler/IFRC

Grover providing entertainment for children affected by Cyclone Winston. Corinne Ambler/IFRC Grover is intellectual property of Sesame Workshop.

Grover providing entertainment for children affected by Cyclone Winston. Corinne Ambler/IFRC Grover is intellectual property of Sesame Workshop.

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Thousands of children were also traumatised by the cyclone, so Fiji Red Cross had to find a way to reach them and help them to smile again. They toured affected schools with puppeteer Chris Lynch, who used his puppets to entertain as well as pass on subtle health, hygiene and safety messaging. Fijian children affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston have been treated to puppet shows by New Zealand puppeteer Chris Lynch. The puppet shows reached 1,000 of the worst-affected children, including those at Vunikavikaloa Arya School. Head teacher Asishwar Prasad says the puppet shows have changed the children's mood. "A new space has been created in their minds. They’ll go home and talk to their parents about seeing a white man with a red puppet, creating a new topic of conversation in the villages as well." He says the health and safety messaging was a bonus. "The children listened to the puppet where they may not have listened to a teacher or parent. They were concentrating. In the future they will know what to do," Mr Prasad says.