Indian animation group, Toonz Entertainment is to set up a new unit in New Zealand.

“The new operation will exploit existing and future animated and live-action IP, forging strategic production, licensing, retail and technology partnerships in the region. It will also support the Toonz development pipeline and help to incubate and cross-pollinate ideas specifically for these markets,” Toonz said in a statement.

The Toonz Entertainment New Zealand unit will be headed by recently appointed Mark Nicholls and launch with a new retail product.

Toonz boss, P Jayakumar says that Australia and New Zealand are key markets for the company, which operates both as a sub-contractor of international animation projects and as an originator and content owner.

“It’s the ideal time to grow a business in New Zealand which is experiencing strong economic growth. The country has substantial talent, resources and a supportive government committed to growing the entertainment production sector,” said Nicholls in a prepared statement.

New Zealand has built a strong skills base and cinema technology platform, thanks in large measure to the huge investments made for Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies, and the “Avatar” movies.

Last year Toonz acquired Spanish animation production and distribution firm Imira Entertainment.