The Herald reports:
Meet Mark Sainsbury - and his muppet.
The TVNZ Close Up presenter has become the first person in Australasia to be immortalised as one of the famous felt fellas.
Sporting a smart blue blazer, crisp white shirt and a silk tie, Mark Muppet has Sainsbury's signature walrus moustache and round nose.
In case there's any mix-up about who is who: the puppet is the one with green skin.
"Someone thought they'd used the off-cuts off Kermit," Sainsbury joked.
Yesterday, the presenter was happy to pose with his Muppet-self, looking a little embarrassed. "You're a good-looking fella," the real Sainsbury laughed.
The Muppet was made in New York by Disney's official Muppet makers, The Muppet Workshop.
It came about after Close Up producer Chris Lynch, a puppeteer, travelled to the United States for a story about the upcoming Disney movie The Muppets.
The story airs on TV One tonight, when Mark Muppet will also make his television debut.
"[Chris] came in all excited, saying, 'They want to make a Muppet of you'," Sainsbury said.
"I thought he was joking."
There would be some who argue that Mark Sainsbury is pretty competent at making a muppet of himself, but we couldn't possibly comment on that. At least he sees the humour in the situation:
It was somewhat odd to be turned into a Muppet, he said, but it was something unique and he would therefore embrace it.
He was, however, preparing for the jokes.
"You just know you're gonna get a lot of, 'Yeah, I knew you were a muppet' or 'Which one's the Muppet?'
"I mean, it's true that I've been called a Muppet before. But I've never actually been immortalised as one," he laughed.