August 2015

August 2015 Newsletter

Greetings from the CEO

Jane Wrightson - Chief Executive

We’re very proud of the quality of our television documentaries right now. Four funded feature documentaries are getting premiere screenings at the International Film Festival and no fewer than five of the Loading Docs have been accepted into the festival. See Bouquets below.

As usual the first funding round for the new financial year was heavy for television activity. There’s been discussion around various drama options, and it’s true we have more options than we can immediately fund. We were delighted to be able to commit $20m for a mixture of series and telefeatures.

It might be useful to reiterate what drives us when considering drama investments. We’re in an environment where funds are tight and audience behaviour is changing.

Why is television drama a cornerstone activity for NZ On Air? Because, of all the genres, it’s the hardest to make and get right – and is the most successful, both creatively and with the audience, when the planets align.

Even though New Zealanders are incredibly efficient at making drama, the economics are just too hard for a broadcaster or producer to finance the budget without help. That’s why all countries have special broadcasting provisions - and why NZ On Air has always made drama a priority.

Our current drama strategy is here. We have three core goals:

• Support diverse New Zealand dramas that appeal to local audiences
• Encourage multiple broadcaster and online outlets for New Zealand dramas to maximise audience interest
• Ensure New Zealand dramas deliver value for money by being appropriately budgeted and enjoyed by target audiences

To appeal to different audiences NZ On Air wants production diversity: we look for series, telefeatures, miniseries, docudramas, and will occasionally co-invest in feature films. And we have a special webseries fund for quite different drama projects to play online.

Once NZ On Air agrees to support production of a developed series, we’ll try very hard to maintain funding for more than one year so the series has time to grow. While it’s occasionally unavoidable, series intended for a longer run that only last one season are not the best outcome.

An erratic funding approach does no one any favours: not the audience, not the production company, not the network. The flipside of this though is that with capped funding, opportunities for new series are few and the choices are getting harder.

NZ On Air will choose carefully, with the audience at the heart of our decision-making. These are the kinds of questions we consider:

• Is it a good idea, with good people on board, well-pitched to a target audience? (if the answers to this point are no, the following questions don’t matter)
• Is the network investment enough? Does the network have a longer-term strategy?
• Is the network demonstrating commitment in terms of intended scheduling and marketing? And commissioning oversight? What are the online plans?
• Can third party funding be obtained to help offset the cost?
• Will the programme rate?
• How does it sit with other programmes on our drama slate?
• Can we afford it? If we can’t, can we juggle projects to make space?

Even if a project comes through with flying colours, we might not be able to afford it for a while. But if it’s good, and genuinely adds to our slate, we’ll try.




We're delighted to welcome ARL's Ian Taylor to our Board, starting now, and Helen Grattan, formerly of TVNZ International and National Geographic, starting in January.

Miriam Dean, Ross McRobie and Kim Wicksteed have been appointed for their second terms, and Stephen McElrea will retire in December at the end of his second term. 

Ross and Ian have also been appointed to the NZ Film Commission Board, to help our two agencies align high level strategies. There are no plans to merge the two agencies because of our quite different operational roles; of course we will continue to ensure our teams collaborate effectively.


We are currently reviewing our children’s content funding strategy, and published a discussion paper in May 2015. This paper outlined the current environment for children’s content and invited you to have your say on how we could update and improve our approach.

We have just published the public submissions we received. You can read them on our website here

We will further discuss children’s content and strategies at a half-day forum to be held in Wellington on the morning of Friday 13 November, in conjunction with the 2015 SPADA forum.

If you are not planning to attend SPADA but would like to take part in our forum please register your interest with us by emailing Anna Currie Confirmed attendees will be provided with a short information pack. We'd love a broad mix of people to be involved. 


July round

The first meeting of the new financial year was predictably busy with 44 funding requests seeking over $43m. We were pleased to support 31 projects across the General and Platinum Funds. We confirmed total funding of $27.7m that will deliver 109 hours of content for on air and online.

This meeting also saw a couple of firsts for television funding, which has traditionally been confined to the six main free-to-air channels. Our Channel Preference Policy notes we will occasionally support projects, in this case cultural ones, that are difficult to achieve on mainstream channels. The support of Arts/Culture series Heritage Rescue is the first time we've approved funding for content for Choice TV on Freeview. Established in 2012 the channel has built a regular audience and has shown a strong commitment to supporting local programmes. Heritage Rescue will look at regional museums that are in need of a makeover to better attract visitors; and in the process will reveal the history behind their collections.

This is also the first time we have funded an online project (Type 3 as per our Channel Preference Policy) from television funding. The project we have supported is Waru, for Māori TV On Demand, an innovative approach to drama that tells the story of the death of a child from eight different perspectives. Each episode will be directed by a different Māori woman director. Waru is a funding collaboration with Te Māngai Pāho and we hope NZFC will also partner by running masterclass sessions for the directors prior to the shoot.


Along with Heritage Rescue this round saw the return of the classic quiz series Mastermind for TV One, along with country music special The New Sound Of Country for Prime. We also approved funding for the Vodafone NZ Music Awards 2015 (TV3) and Anzac Day 2016 (Māori Television).


We supported a special programme to commemorate the life of Westie comedian Ewen Gilmour for TV3. It will include footage of the last stand up routine Ewen performed the night before his death along with archive footage and interviews with fellow comedians. 

Country Calendar, TVNZ for TV One


Many more good applications were received than we could fund. Among the successful applicants, we were pleased to continue support for a new series of TV One’s Country Calendar as well as a birthday special to mark its 50th year on screen. Other returning series include Street Hospital 2 and Gloriavale 3 (TV2), Lost And Found 2 (TV3), the final season of Shearing Gang (Prime).

A Platinum docudrama on the Pike River disaster will be amde for Prime. Pike River – A Long Wait will tell the story of what happened in the weeks, months and years leading up to the 2010 tragedy that took the lives of 29 miners.

Westside, South Pacific Pictures for TV3


A new drama series from the pens of Gavin Strawhan and Rachel Lang, Dirty Laundry, was funded for TV One along with a second series of Westside for TV3 to continue the back-story of Ted and Rita West.

Two new Platinum telefeatures will screen in TV One’s Sunday Theatre slot. Jean from the producer/writers of Tangiwai and Field Punishment No.1 will tell the story of world renowned NZ aviator Jean Batten. Bombshell – The Sinking Of The Rainbow Warrior, produced by Screentime (Siege) and written by John Banas, will tell this local story of terrorism from the perspective of the Greenpeace crew. 


Congratulations to the NZ On Air funded films included in the NZ International Film Festival that is currently making its way around the country:

  • Belief – David Stubbs’ beautiful and moving account of the Janet Moses story, which will screen on TV One.
  • The Price Of Peace – Kim Webby’s feature length examination of the 2007 Tūhoe ‘terror’ raids as experienced by Tūhoe activist, artist and kaumātua, Tame Iti. This will screen on Māori Television.
  • Art Of Recovery (Christchurch only) – Peter Young’s documentary explores the cultural shift in post-quake Christchurch and looks at how creative recovery can be both ‘pioneering’ and ‘powerful’. This will screen on TV One.
  • The Women Of Pike River (Christchurch only) – Mary Durham’s confronting documentary that looks at six women who each lost someone dear to them in the Pike River disaster. This will screen on TV One.
  • Loading Docs – five of this year’s eclectic line-up of 10 x 3 minute documentary films had their premiere in this year’s festival. All the documentaries can be seen online here and on TVNZ On Demand.

Staff – departures and arrivals

We are sad to have said farewell to Jess Jones who has taken up a membership/communications position with Auckland Cricket. Taking her place at the crease as Television Payments Coordinator is recent Bachelor of Commerce graduate Gemma Fulton, who, as well as increasing the quotient of dog lovers in the Wellington office, will be responsible for processing television invoices and producer and cost report compliance.

As always, please send invoices and reports to – this email account can be accessed by other members of the TV team if Gemma is away.

Regional television

Six channels were eligible to apply for rollover of their existing regional television funding for a further year until 31 August 2016. All six channels applied and had funding renewed.

The existing regional television funding scheme will close on 31 August 2016. We are currently requesting Expressions of Interest for new ways of delivering regional audio visual content. Responses must be received by midday 21 August.


The Digital Media Innovation Fund closes on 21 August. All the information you need is on our website here

Our inaugural Digital Media Fund for Interactive Documentary is also open and applications close on 23rd October.

We’d like to reiterate that we’re looking for ‘born digital’ projects, and we would expect that producers are teamed up with interactive or digital agency people from the outset. If you’ve got a great idea but you’re unsure how to find digital people, we have been creating a list and we can put you in touch with them. Get in touch with our Head of Digital Brenda Leeuwenberg

Applications for the Webseries Fund have now closed. We received an incredible response with more than 100 applications!


Four years on

Making Tracks has now been running for four years. In that time, we have funded 994 songs by 486 different artists.

At the end of every Making Tracks year we review how many times Making Tracks songs have played on radio, on music television and on the main online streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud.

We have the calculators out now and will release the tallies soon. This time last year the cumulative spins and streams tally over the first three years of the scheme was 53.7 million. We are excited to see what the tally is 12 months later.

When we release the Music Outcomes and Impacts report, we will also announce the Most Played Work. 

Making more tracks

Since the last newsletter we have had three Making Tracks funding rounds. We picked up 25 projects in May and 27 in June to bring the total for 2014-2015 to 230. We supported 22 projects in the first round of the new financial year.

In May, we funded new songs by troubadour Delaney Davidson and young Auckland pop band Openside and in June, we funded new songs by Sony’s exciting new signing, Maala as well as country queens Tami Neilson and Mel Parsons and stalwarts of Urban format radio like K.One, Pieter T and Tomorrow People.


And some special tracks

Special Tracks grants are reserved for the winners of selected music competitions. For example, the winners of the annual high school RockQuest and Pacifica Beats competitions get Special Tracks recording and music video funding as part of their prize package.

In 2015-2016 we will do 10 Special Tracks grants, including RockQuest and Pacifica Beats. First up for the year though is a new one, a partnership with APRA and its annual Children’s Music awards. For the first time this year, the winner of the APRA Best Children’s Music Song receives Special Tracks funding to record a new song and make a music video.

The finalists this year included Madeline Sami for her song Bugs, and Maraea Davies and Rangi Kerswell for their bi-lingual song He Aha Ai (Why?). The winner this year is a Takaka musician who goes by the name Levity Beet. His song There’s One In The Bush is the 2015 APRA Best Children’s Music Song.

Our congratulations. This is Levity Beet’s third win but it’s a first for us.

Levity Beet

Bringing it home

Another first. The first music video to come from our new Bring It Home scheme was released on 27 July to mark Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori.

Toni Huata’s beautiful Hopukia Te Tao was made with Making Tracks funding topped up with Bring It Home funding from the Porirua City Council.

Bring It Home is a partnership between NZ On Air and interested regional and city councils. The scheme aims to showcase and promote creativity and parts of New Zealand through music videos filmed in areas outside the main centres. Porirua is the first to come on board.

Toni Huata - Hopukia Te Tao

On the wireless

Local music content in the June quarter on commercial radio was 15.03% and All Radio – which includes all the commercials plus student radio, iwi radio, etc – was 17.99% at the end of June. 

Over on Alternative Radio, local music is pumping – 42.14% at the end of June.

The most played New Zealand song on the radio at the moment is Six60’s White Lines which has commanded the top slot since the middle of May but the Making Tracks-funded Inside Out by Avalanche City is closing in!

Dave Baxter - Avalanche City

Industry development

Television Drama Attachment Scheme

As announced in our May newsletter we have created an Industry Development Fund to support selected industry development initiatives. We are pleased to announce an initiative with the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ) has been supported.

The Television Drama Attachment Scheme will see three directors attached to a television drama for a maximum 12 week period, with the cost being split between NZ On Air (60%) and the production company (40%). DEGNZ will administer the scheme including managing the selection process and monitoring the directors through their attachments.

This is an excellent opportunity for directors who are keen to develop their skills in drama production to secure first-hand experience on a large mainstream production. DEGNZ will announce more about the scheme soon.

Industry Development Fund open for applications

New applications for the Industry Development Fund 2015/16 are now open. 

The Industry Development Fund will support recognised industry organisations to lead initiatives that contribute to NZ On Air’s mission. There are three types of initiatives eligible:

  • National Quality Awards
  • National Industry Conferences 
  • Professional Development

You can find out more information and access the application form here. Applications close on 14 August.

Industry skills shortages

Finally, we will soon release research commissioned along with the NZ Film Commission on behalf of Screen NZ into what skills shortages may exist in drama production in New Zealand. The results of the study will be released on both the NZ On Air and NZFC websites.

Funding decisions

The latest funding decisions for Television Regional Television • RadioMusic



ANZAC 2016
Maori Television for Maori Television • 1 x 120 • $77,450

Heritage Rescue
Top Shelf Productions for Choice TV • 8 x 30 • $484,039

Warner Bros NZ for TV One • 13 x 45 • $685,360

The New Sound Of Country
Notable Pictures for Prime • 1 x 60 • $189,172

Vodafone NZ Music Awards 2015
Mediaworks TV for TV3 • 1 x 120 • $166,000


Ewen Gilmour: Westie Legend
Mediaworks TV for TV3 • 1 x 60 • $19,180


Country Calendar 2016
TVNZ for TV One • 40 x 30 • $566,720

Country Calendar 50th Anniversary Special
TVNZ for TV One •  1 x 60 •  $59,800

Kasey And Karena's Diplomatic Mission
Imagination Television for TV One • 10 x 30 • $991,333

Lost And Found 2
Warner Bros NZ for TV3 • 10 x 60 •  $935,846

Mr Lavalava
Tikilounge Productions for Māori Television •  7 x 30 • $210,000

Shearing Gang 4
Great Southern Television for Prime • 10 x 30 • $462,450

Somme - The Bloodiest Battle
Scottie Douglas Productions for Māori Television • 1 x 90 • $220,000

Street Hospital 2
The Gibson Group for TV 2 • 10 x 30 • $575,000

Te Araroa: Tales From The Trails 2
Scottie Douglas Productions for Māori Television • 7 x 60 • $295,000

The Gloriavale Project 3
Pacific Screen for TV 2 • 1 x 60 •  $170,000


Dirty Laundry
Filthy Productions for TV One • 13 x 60 • $6,719,650

Westside 2
South Pacific Pictures for TV3 • 10 x 60 • $7,597,000

Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for Māori Television • 8 x 10 • $215,000

Pork Pie
Four Knights Film for Prime • 1 x 120 • $150,000

Platinum Fund

Pike River: The Long Wait
Screentime New Zealand for Prime • 1 x 120 • $934,947

Bombshell - The Sinking Of The Rainbow Warrior
Screentime New Zealand for TV One • 1 x 120 • $2,854,573

Lippy Pictures for TV One • 1 x 120 • $3,155,000


Regional Television

News/Current Affairs

39 Dunedin News & Southern Newsweek 2015/16
Allied Press 39 for Dunedin Television • 288 x 30 • $175,000

Channel North News 2015/16
Northland TV Charitable Trust for Channel North TV • 215 x 15 • $90,000

Chatroom 2015/16
Television Hawkes Bay for Television Hawkes Bay • 138 x 30 • $90,000

CTV News 2015/16
Canterbury Television Ltd for Canterbury Television • 250 x 30 • $240,000

Haukainga - 2015/16
Te Reo Irirangi O Te Hiku O Te Ika (Incorporated) for Te Hiku Television • 180 x 7.5 • $40,000

Mainland TV - Local News 2015/16
Mainland Television Ltd for Mainland Television • 200 x 15 • $85,000


Radio New Zealand 2015/16 •  $31,816,000

Music programme sponsorship

95bFM 15/16 •  $220,000

Base FM 2015/16 •  $120,000

Pulzar FM 2015/16 • $40,000

Radio Active 15/16 • $140,000

Radio Control 15/16 •  $75,000

Radio One •  $120,000

RDU 2015/16 •  $140,000

The Most FM 2015/16 •  $60,000

Access Radio

Planet FM  
Access Community Radio Auckland Inc • $250,000

Plains FM
The Canterbury Communications Trust • $230,000

Radio Kidnappers 
Radio Kidnappers Charitable Trust • $170,000

Arrow FM 
Access Radio Wairarapa Charitable Trust • $137,500

Coast Access Radio
Coast Access Radio Trust • $135,000

Access Manawatu
Manawatu Access Radio Charitable Trust • $170,000

NZ Radio For The Print Disabled • $110,348

Wellington Access Radio
Wellington Access Broadcasting Society Inc • $220,000

Fresh FM
Tasman Broadcasting Trust • $195,000

Otago Access Radio
Hills Radio Trust • $178,000

Radio Southland
Southland Community Broadcasters • $175,000

Access Radio Taranaki
Access Radio Taranaki Trust • $178,000

Free FM
Waikato Community Broadcasting • $237,500

Samoa Capital Radio
Siufofoga O Le Laumua Trust • Up to $190,000


Making Tracks • Recording and Music Video • $10,000

Bec Laughton • Worry 'Bout It
Candice Milner • Run For It (Wildcard Winner For June 2015)
City Of Souls • Water
Cymbol 303 & This Pale Fire • Don't Rob Me
Delaney Davidson • Broken Wheel
Electric Wire Hustle • March
Elly • Elvis
Estere • Ambition
Gareth Thomas • Wallow
Ghost Wave • All U Do Is Kill
Hollie Smith • Helena
Junica • Looking Out
Jupiter Project • Sweet Disguise
K.One • Gtha
Lake South • Whanau/Family
Little Oceans • Peace
Madeira • Manipulator
Marino Mariner • N.Y.C.
Mermaidens • Under The Mountain II 
Modern Chair • Can't Look Back
Nadia Reid • The Arrow & The Aim
Nomad • Love Will Call
Olmecha Supreme • Like That
Openside • Branches
Pacific Heights • Buried By The Burden
Parabola West • Fire (Wildcard Winner For May 2015)
Pieter T • Missing You
Racing • Misbehaving
Sachi • Hold On
Signer • When I'm Lonely
Sons Of Zion • Fill Me Up
Swiss • Lovely Women
Tami Neilson • Lonely
The Veils • Low Lays The Devil
Zen Mantra •  She Won’t Remember You At All 

Making Tracks • Music Video • $6,000

Arma Del Amor • The Watcher
Baloo • Weekend
Bespin • Take Control
Boycrush • Flirt
Ha The Unclear • Secret Lives Of Furniture
K Lab & Laugton Kora • Super Gravy Ft. Bailey Wiley
Kings • Jump
Knives At Noon • Trust Trust
Lontalius • Kick In The Head
Maala • Touch
Mel Parsons • Don't Wait
My Halo • Islands Of Love
Sam Allen • Us
Saxi • Lipstick
Shocking Pinks • Double Vision Version
Shocking Pinks • Us Against The City
SJD • Unplugged
Team Dynamite • Comos Reup
Tomorrow People • No Rush