October 2016 Newsletter

A note from the CEO

Jane Wrightson, Chief Executive

You might have noticed we've been a tad busy around here. Since January we have been working on plans to simplify and add more flexibility to the way we fund content, in response to changing audience behaviour and the volatile media landscape.

It was my pleasure to unveil the draft new Funding Strategy and NZ Media Fund at the Big Screen Symposium a couple of weeks ago. The feedback since then has been overwhelmingly supportive. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their thoughts. But keep the feedback and questions coming - we need you to help us dot the i's and cross the t's so that the strategy can be implemented next year.

This is undoubtedly the biggest change to the way NZ On Air operates since its inception. But our core mission remains the same - to reflect New Zealand culture and diversity in media. Our Board and staff are excited and energised by the changes ahead and the possibilities they open up.

Meantime we continue to seek powerful content ideas during the transition. Our latest round supported a number of ongoing series that have served audiences well over several years. Exciting new projects funded include Kiri And Boo a new claymation animation series for pre-schoolers, and a character spin-off of the box office hit What We Do In The Shadows, bringing Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement's comedy talents to smaller screens.

The end of the year is looming - I hope to see many of you in Auckland on December 6 for our annual stakeholder catch-up. In the meantime don't hesitate to email, phone or send smoke signals if you want to talk about the new draft strategy.

On a sad, final note, we are shocked and saddened by the sudden death of the magical Brent Chambers of Flux Animation. We have loved working with Brent and his team for more than a decade, from the delightful The Adventures of Massey Ferguson, Staines Down Drains, and Tamatoa to the brilliant Wiki The Kiwi and Tiki TourOur sincere condolences to Sue, family and friends.



Strategy update

We will keep you up-to-date here on progress as we work through the necessary changes to implement the new Funding Strategy. 

Feedback and questions

We welcome your questions and feedback. If you have a question email it to Your question (anonymously) will be added to those in our Q and A section on the website along with the answer. 

If you want to hear a broad conversation about our new approach and the reasons for it listen to Jane Wrightson's interview with Kathryn Ryan on RNZ National.

We are accepting submissions until 18 November. Please send submissions to

Once we have considered the feedback we will work on any changes needed to the strategy, which we hope will be finalised by the end of this year.

Progress report

In order to be able to implement the new strategy from July 1 next year there's a lot of work to be done behind the scenes. At the moment we are finalising a new staff structure. Look out for details in the next newsletter.

We have also begun work on the new fully online funding application system. This is based on a system developed for Te Māngai Paho, which we will be refining and repurposing for our needs. We will user-test this early next year.

And we are working on details of how we will run funding rounds, and criteria for applications to the Factual and Scripted funding streams. We are relying on your questions and feedback to help us with this so don't be shy about sharing your views! We hope to have this part nailed by the first quarter of 2017.


September round 

The September meeting was nominated for Children’s, Special Interest and Comedy projects and is the meeting where the majority of Children’s and Special Interest programmes are funded for 2017.

We received 36 applications across the General and Platinum funds seeking $30.8m and were pleased to support 26 projects with funding of $25m for 522 hours of content. Given our general funding constraints we appreciated the work many producers did to keep costs down so we were able to support more returning series.

The launch of the proposed NZ Media Fund in 2017/18 will provide a catalyst to encourage new content outcomes across multiple platforms. However, we still expect to have significant financial constraint and this means it is unlikely we will be able to continue to support all returning series in 2018. We will carefully assess the performance of all established shows alongside new content opportunities for 2018.


The Moe Show, Pop Up Workshop for TV3

New claymation pre-school series Kiri And Boo, along with sustainable short-film series Someday Stories lead the line-up of new Children’s projects for 2017.

Returning series include the popular What Now and The Adam and Eve Show for TVNZ 2 and Sticky TV for TV3. The Moe Show will also return to TV3 in a new series along with a Moe Christmas special.


We are pleased to support the new early evening comedy series for TVNZ 2, Paranormal Event Response Unit, which is a spin-off from the hit feature film What We Do in the Shadows. Another series getting a fresh start is Only In Aotearoa the second series of which will screen on Māori Television as well as online. Perennial TV3 favourites Jono And Ben and 7 Days will also be returning to TV3 next year.

Special Interest

Back Benches, TVNZ for Prime

A diverse range of series serving targeted audiences was supported for 2017 including the award winning disability series Attitude, Pacific series Tagata Pasifika as well as Pacific and Māori youth series Fresh.

Different cultural stories will be told in the delightful series Arranged, Neighbourhood and Both Worlds along with rural insights in Rural Delivery and media and political stories in Media Take and Back Benches.

December round

Following the funding decisions made in September 77% of our total funding for the financial year has been expended. This means the funding available in December is as follows;

  • Arts/Culture - $360K
  • Māori - $500K
  • Platinum - $2.2m
  • Factual/Documentary - $2.7m

It is more than likely the total Television budget will be all but spent following the December round. A decision as to whether both the planned television funding rounds in March and May 2017 should still take place will be made in December. We may need to cancel one round, with the remaining one reserved for returning series or projects already in development. We will confirm our approach after the December decisions are taken.


Congratulations to the team at Attitude for the Paralympics coverage they provided through the September games.

They executed a difficult job extremely well and ensured that audiences at home could watch and appreciate the amazing successes of the athletes competing. The Attitude team of just 13 people on the ground in Rio produced an incredible output of over 190 hours of content. (Compare this to the Seven Australia team who had 26 people to produce 150 hours.)

We've also had delighted feedback from viewers including this:

My wife walked in one morning to find my 8 year old son sitting in his wheelchair in the lounge watching one of the swim events, where the athletes emerged in their power wheelchairs, four times over before later declaring that he wants to be paralympian javelin thrower.

To me, a massive role of olympic games is to inspire the next generation of athletes, and your coverage of the paralympics has done that for my son.

The Attitude Paralympics Rio team


Amy Street by Bella Pacific Media

Skip Ahead

The Google/YouTube co-fund received 18 applications for webseries funding. The fund targeted YouTubers with a significant subscriber base who had ideas that would extend their skills into narrative storytelling.

Four projects were selected for funding and we’re very excited to see these four very different ideas come to life over the next few months. It doesn't get much more diverse than this: from gumboot throwing (by the creator of the hugely popular How To Dad Youtube series) to horror, eGaming and a web musical. 

New launches

Several exciting digital projects have launched since our last newsletter. Grab a cuppa and settle in to watch these:

Amy Street  A wonderful series of short stories about special people.

Christchurch Dilemmas An interactive documentary that explores what is happening right now in Christchurch and invites discussion.

The Watercooler  Everyday true stories with a twist. Comedy gold.

Friday Night Bites A weekly comedy webseries focused around eclectic Friday nights in the lives of three 20-something, Asian Kiwi women.

I Spy (With My 5 Eyes) An interactive documentary that delves into the Five Eyes Global surveillance network.

Funding this round

We’re very pleased to continue our support for streams of content on The Wireless, Coconet TV and Loading Docs, all of which we are funding for the fourth year in this latest round.

Each of these projects creates a diverse and popular range of content for different audiences. Viewing numbers have continued to increase each year and collectively these projects have nurtured the development of new talent across the industry.


New Music Funding

The New Music funding schemes kicked off in July, replacing Making Tracks. The New Music Single scheme is much like Making Tracks, providing song by song support for a wide range of artists, but with more flexibility. While the New Music Project scheme sees us partner in multi-single projects with professional NZ music companies who can provide the expertise, planning and support to create hits.

The first batch of New Music Project grants was announced last month. A good spread of mainstream and niche projects are being supported for a range of multi-song releases over the next 12 months. The funded artists were - Aldous Harding, Benny Tipene, Ciaran McMeeken, David Dallas, Devilskin, Fly My Pretties, Leisure, Lontalius, Stan Walker and Villainy.

New Music Project funding has been introduced to provide full Project support for planned and well-supported multi-single releases, and sits alongside the New Music Single funding scheme which provides song-by-song support for a wide array of artists.

Silver Scroll Awards

The wonderful celebration of song-writing that is the APRA AMCOS Silver Scroll Awards was held on 29 September at Auckland’s Vector Arena, and for the first time was broadcast live by the RNZ Music team on RNZ National on radio, online and TV.

We loved that four out of the five finalist songs in the running for the Silver Scroll Award were NZ On Air funded and all five artists had received NZ On Air support at various stages of their musical careers. 

Moana Maniapoto delivered a powerful speech upon being inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame on the night - a well-deserved recognition of one of the most significant voices in Aotearoa. Congratulations go to award winners Rob Ruha, Karl Steven, Salina Fisher, Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper and Tama Waipara. The Silver Scroll for 2016 went to Thomas Oliver for his NZ On Air funded song If I Move To Mars.

Thomas Oliver with the Silver Scroll Award

Young talent

The music team was blown away by the performances from young artists at the Smokefree Rockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats finals in September. Northland metal trio Alien Weaponry who mix heavy riffs with bilingual lyrics (te reo Māori and English) were awarded the #1 place on both nights and are the first ever band to win both competitions in the same year. The Solo/Duo category at Smokefree RockQuest was won by solo singer/performer Iris G.

The winners received recording and video grants from NZ On Air and we look forward to seeing and hearing more from these artists in the future. 

ALIEN WEAPONRY: Winners of the 2016 Smokefree Rockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats

Community Broadcasting

The Big Listen #accessallears

Access radio

August was a busy month for access radio with The Big Listen campaign generating lots of buzz. We were delighted to have the Minister of Broadcasting to open the event at a function at Plains FM in Christchurch.

Access Radio will remain in the spotlight - NZ On Air has agreed to support a project that will produce a report detailing the history of the access radio sector in New Zealand. The work will be co-authored by Dr Brian Pauling and Dr Bronwyn Beatty. It will be a co-publication by NZ On Air and the Ara Institute.

New regional media content

Have you spotted the new kids on the block in regional media yet? Local Focus, joins a stable of regional media we've funded to extend local content choices for regional audiences.

Local Focus is a new partnership between NZME and Very Nice Productions telling audio-visual stories from four regions in the North Island. Local Focus has employed video journalists in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay and Whanganui. 

Local Focus joins three other funded regional media projects. In Christchurch CTV and Star Media have created and adapted a “One Newsroom” approach to their media stable, with a now fully integrated newsroom. 

Also down south, Allied Press are working on their plans to create an integrated newsroom with video journalists covering issues for and about the lower region of the South Island.

And in the Far North, Te Hiku Media and Channel North have combined forces to provide a new integrated news and information service for the region. 

Funding decisions

The latest funding decisions for TelevisionDigital MediaAccess RadioMusic • Industry Development



Anzac Day 2017
TVNZ for TVNZ 1 • 1 x 60 • $87,382.


Kiri And Boo
Field Theory for TV3 • 20 x 5 • $799,630

Moe's Christmas
Pop-Up Workshop for TV3 • 1 x 30 • $240,674

Someday Stories
Connected Media Trust for Māori Television On Demand • 6 x 12 • $150,000

Sticky TV 2017
Pickled Possum Productions for TV3 • 235 x 30 • $2,374,300

The Adam And Eve Show 2017
Whitebait Productions for TVNZ 2 • 200 x 30 • $3,080,400

The Moe Show 4
Pop-Up Workshop for TV3 • 60 x 5 • $1,093,085

What Now 2017
Whitebait Productions for TVNZ 2 • 40 x 120 • $3,189,000


7 Days 2017
MediaWorks TV for TV3 • 32 x 30 • $1,056,000

Jono And Ben 2017
MediaWorks TV for TV3 • 26 x 60 • $1,717,042

Only In Aotearoa
Kura Productions for Maori Television • 8 x 30 • $241,886

Paranormal Event Response Unit
Two Canoes for TVNZ 2 • 6 x 30 • $1,402,273


The Demolition Team
Broadcast Media TV for Prime • 1 x 60 • $83,000

Special Interest

Arranged 2
Notable Pictures TV3 • 6 x 60 • $504,677

Attitude 2017
Attitude Pictures for TVNZ 1 • 30 x 30 • $1,787,300

Back Benches 2017
TVNZ for Prime • 20 x 60 • $617,798

Both Worlds 6
Notable Pictures for TV3 • 8 x 30 • $349,516

Fresh 2017
Tikilounge Productions for TVNZ 2 • 37 x 30 • $1,766,125

Media Take 4
Top Shelf Productions for Māori Television • 20 x 30 • $479,865

Neighbourhood 2017
Satellite Media Group for TVNZ 1 • 30 x 30 • $1,249,964

Rural Delivery 2017
Showdown Productions for TVNZ 1 • 35 x 30 • $1,000,003

Tagata Pasifika 2017
Sunpix for TVNZ 1 • 53 x 30 • $1,600,000

Digital Media

Digital General

Loading Docs: Diversity
Notable Pictures • $156,767

The Coconet 2017
Tikilounge Productions • $200,368

The Wireless: Fresh Voices 2016-17
Radio New Zealand Ltd • $200,000


Outlook For Someday 2016
Connected Media Trust • $20,000


H2Ow Ltd • $80,040

Happy Playland
Good Times Company • $85,000

How To Dad
The Watson Project Ltd • $84,903

Viva La Dirt League Productions • $80,000

NZ Music

iHeart Radio NZ Music Top 20 Extension
NZME. Radio • $12,500

Access Radio

Access Radio Capital Fund

Air Project (various stations)
Waikato Community Broadcasting • $54,578


New Music Projects

Aldous Harding
The Maple • $22,000

Benny Tipene
Sony Music NZ • $30,000

Ciaran McMeeken  
Noise PR • $30,000

David Dallas
Delete • $22,000

Music Management Inc • $22,000

Fly My Pretties
Loop • $30,000

Saiko Management • $28,200

MTCO • $30,000

Stan Walker
Sony Music NZ • $22,000

Signal Agency/Warner • $30,000

New Music Single • Recording and/or music video • $8,000

Alae • Things Change
Aldous Harding • Horizon
David Dallas • Fit In
Dead Favours • Dig
Deva Mahal • Snakes
Devilskin • Pray
Earth Tiger • Slide To The Left
Imagine This • No Other Way
Jordi • I'll Be Loving You
Jupiter Project • Temporary Love Ft. Libby
Kora • Carolina
L.A Women • Hurricane Love
Lord Echo • The Sweetest Meditation Ft Mara Tk
Maala • Stranger
Mulholland • Bethalls
NameUL • Falling
October • Cherry Cola
Pause Applause • Forgive
Ria Hall • Home
So Below • Hard
Stan Walker • You Never Know
Street Chant • Melbourne
Streets Of Laredo • Silly Bones
TRVKS • Psycho Killers
Weird Together • Down Low Ft. Moonchild

Industry Development

National Industry Conferences

Ngā Aho Whakaari Conference 2016
Ngā Aho Whakaari • $10,000

Screen Edge Forum 2017
The Documentary New Zealand Trust • $10,000

SPADA Conference 2016
Spada • $15,000

National Quality Awards

Doc Edge Gala Awards 2017
The Documentary New Zealand Trust • $5,000

NZ Captioning Awards 2016
Captioning Working Group • $2,500

NZWG Script Writer Awards 2016
NZ Writers Guild Puni Taatuhi O Aotearoa • $2,000

Taite Music Prize 2017
Independent Music NZ (IMNZ) • $10,000

Professional & Development Sector

Screensafe 2017
Screensafe • $20,000

SongHubs 2017
APRA • $25,000

Story Edge 2017
The Documentary New Zealand Trust • $25,000

TV Drama Director Attachment
2017 Directors and Editors Guild of NZ • $46,000