December 2015

December 2015 newsletter

A note from the CEO

Merry Christmas from all of us!

2015 - what a year!

As we wind down after a frenetic finish to the year we can take stock on what has again been a year of ongoing change. I want to thank all of our wonderful content creators and broadcast partners for continuing to show New Zealanders the value of local content.

It's great to see the industry innovating to meet changing audience needs. Our new Interactive Documentary Fund projects (see below) are an excellent example of this. We have also had good conversations this year with children’s content producers about how - and where - our youngest viewers can find content that appeals to them. We are making similar moves in the regional media area too.

The preliminary results of a recent stakeholder survey again tell us that you value our work and you like and respect our staff. That’s always a relief! But you’re also wondering if we’re adapting to change fast enough, and whether we have sufficient funds to do our job. I’m pleased to report that we've been thinking about exactly the same things. We do appreciate the funds we have – and do not take for granted that we have managed to maintain our funding level. But as change in the media environment intensifies, and funds remain tight, we’re continuing to look carefully at our strategies and where we allocate resources. This will be the Board’s prime focus at our planning day early next year and there is likely to be change, with new opportunities for innovation, in 2016/17.

The December round was a really tough one. After eight years of static funding we are increasingly having to decline good projects. We genuinely understand the disappointment when a good project can’t be supported. We will continue to prioritise our funds where the need is greatest, and to manage our budgets with great care.

This round we declined more excellent documentary and factual projects than we would have liked, and also a serial drama proposal for TV3. On the TV3/Warner Bros proposal, while we do understand the argument that it would have been a good opportunity to provide another industry training ground, of course all our television budget goes to local production companies, with the associated employment and training opportunities.

Among the funded content for television we have supported a third series of the excellent Brokenwood Mysteries for Prime, a second series of the magnificent Grand Designs for TV3, and a second series of the clever DNA Detectives for TV One. New projects include a Platinum docudrama on the Scott Watson case and, joining political current affairs series Q+A and The Nation, Minority Reports, a fresh specialist current affairs series.

On the subject of new things, have you tried out yet? Its a portal to NZ music, with curated playlists for various tastes. We also now have well-known faces providing their own guest playlists. Following on from Taika Waititi, find out what businesswoman and chef Nadia Lim is listening to, and enjoy some chill NZ sounds for relaxing with family and friends over the holidays.

Finally, on behalf of NZ On Air’s Board and staff we thank retiring member Stephen McElrea for his two terms on the Board, contributing his business skills and television production knowledge. We welcome incoming member Helen Grattan who comes from a career in international television distribution.

Please be safe and happy this Christmas season.


Jane Wrightson

Office updates

Trish Cross, Receptionist and all-round awesome person


Today we say goodbye to Trish Cross, our long-serving receptionist/administrator.

Trish has been the face or voice that has cheerily greeted our guests and callers for 15 years. With a quirky sense of humour, she has juggled reception and administration duties for NZ On Air and the Broadcasting Standards Authority, and found out an awful lot about broadcasting along the way.

Trish is heading off for well-earned retirement. We will miss her, but if she tends to her garden as well as she has tended to our staff and stakeholders, she will have a bountiful retirement.

Logo files updated

We have recently updated our logo. It now has a more modern font. If you have the old logo (with a bubbly/round font) please delete it and replace with the new one. The files are on our website here.

We haven't yet updated the animated bug for on-screen use. If budgets allow we will do this in 2016. For the time-being please keep using the existing ones.

Holiday season closure and payments

Our offices will be closed from 5pm on Wednesday 23 December and reopen on Monday 11 December.

We made final payments for the year on Thursday 17th December and the first payment date of next year is Thursday 21 January. 

Due to the slighter later timing of our final Board meeting contracts from this round will be processed in January. If this is going to cause any significant problem please get in touch with the relevant funding manager.


December round

The December meeting again proved to be a busy one with many more good applications received than funding available to support them. This meant some difficult choices had to be made. In making these we remained focused on the core public media role NZ On Air is charged with delivering.

From a total of 39 applications seeking $27.3m we were pleased to support 24 projects (including development). Funding of $12.4m will deliver nearly 140 hours of content.

After three meetings we have now committed 90% of our General Fund and 80% of the Platinum Fund. This means the opportunity to fund new projects at the last two meetings of the year is very constrained. Please contact the Head of Television to discuss any new applications you are considering submitting.


We are pleased to have supported a third series of the successful The Brokenwood Mysteries for Prime. High demand in a high cost genre means that demand quickly outstrips available funding. This is very true at the moment.

With new series Filthy Rich, Dirty Laundry and the second season of Westside due to screen next year, it promises to be an exciting time for viewers. However, ensuring the timely return of successful series as well as providing opportunities for new prime time projects in a financially constrained environment, requires some juggling and good will from all parties.

We will continue to liaise closely with broadcasters and producers regarding existing projects and the opportunities that might exist for new projects.

Find Me A Māori Bride, Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for Māori Television


We have supported a second season of the satirical comedy Find Me A Māori Bride for prime time on Māori Television. With the first series originally funded by Te Māngai Pāho, we are pleased to be able to support a further series of this critically acclaimed show.

Coverage of the Comedy Gala 2016, which heralds the start of the annual NZ Comedy Festival, has once again been supported for prime time screening on TV3.


This was a hotly contested genre with more good applications than available funding. Only the highest priority applications could be supported.

A new Platinum Fund docudrama, Ben And Olivia: Searching For The Truth, has been supported for the Sunday Theatre slot on TV One. It will revisit the case against Scott Watson, who was convicted of murdering Ben Smart and Olivia Hope on New Year’s Day 1998.

In the general fund, a feature length documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Gaylene Preston will reveal the work of Helen Clark in her role as the Administrator of the UN Development Programme in My Year With Helen. This project is being co-funded with NZFC and will screen on TV3 following its theatrical release.

Another new programme for TV3 sees ex-pat comedic genius John Clarke make a welcome return to our screens in New Zealand: A User’s Guide With Mr John Clarke. This six-part series will humorously explore how NZ has changed since John’s departure in the late 1970’s.

Returning documentary and factual series include a third and final season of the popular Topp Country, along with a second series of The DNA Detectives for TV One. Also returning will be a second series of Grand Designs NZ for TV3 as well as Great War Stories that will continue to mark significant WW1 anniversaries and screen within 3News at 6.00pm.


Toa Hunter Gatherer is a new series from Songs From the Inside producer Julian Arahanga that will deliver a holistic and ethical Māori perspective on hunting and food gathering along with lessons in bush craft, conservation and preservation.


Live coverage of Waitangi Day 2016 celebrations has been supported for screening on Māori Television.


How To Murder Your Wife, Screentime for TV One


Congratulations to the team at Screentime whose telefeature How To Murder Your Wife has already collected a number of international awards and recently also won the Best TV Movie category at the C21 Media International Drama Awards.

Digital Media

Funding news

We’re very excited to have supported the first four Interactive Documentary projects from our Interactive Digital Media Fund. Documentary is a natural fit for digital media, and we were looking for projects that really considered an online audience first with a strong integration of story and interaction. Funded projects will cover topics as diverse as teenage mothers, poi, the Christchurch rebuild, and refugee experiences.

We also received 14 applications for the second year of the Canada-NZ Digital Media Fund, and have shortlisted four to come back with full proposals in February.

Digital projects in the wild

K Road Stories: 10 short films by 10 different directors launched last week as part of First Thursdays on Auckland's Karangahape Road. For the launch event each film was available to view in a different location along the iconic K Road, and hundreds of people crowded into galleries, cafes, laundromats and carparks to view the films. Supported by our Innovation Fund, the project has been successful in reaching diverse audiences with unique stories. 

K Road Stories, Tuesday Best Ltd

Jiwi's Machines, Eggbeater Ltd

Jiwi’s Machines is a hilarious four-part webseries that follows a somewhat hapless genius - Jiwi - as he attempts to solve basic problems by building very complex Rube Goldberg machines. The series is accompanied by special video features that explain the science behind the machines in an entertaining and engaging way.

Supported through our Kickstart fund, and launched in November, the series is aimed at children but has adults completely hooked as well. 

Two more of our funded webseries have launched this month on NZME’s new platform. Well known satirical website The Civilian is being transformed through video, and Yeti is an intriguing, creative exploration of the challenges immigrants face when integrating into NZ society. 

We were pleased to be able to support the streaming of The Outlook For Someday Awards on December 10. This is the 10th year of the sustainability film challenge for young people. Check out the amazingly talented winners.

We also supported streaming for the Attitude Awards on December 3. View the full stream or the highlights here


Push pause

Making Tracks now takes a two month break with the next round in February. At the half way mark in the 2015/16 Making Tracks year, we have taken in 644 applications and have funded 112 projects, including the song that is currently #1 on the Official NZ Singles Chart, Sweet Disguise by Jupiter Project.

But the song that takes the prize for the most column inches so far this funding year is the te reo metal song by Northland teenagers, Alien Weaponry.

We first came across the band when they supported Shihad for their Killjoy show at the Powerstation in May and subsequently, we saw them at the 2015 RockQuest and Pacifica Beats finals.

In October the band picked up Making Tracks funding for their te reo song Ruana Te Whenua which is “about our tūpuna, who was killed in the Tauranga conflicts at Pukehinahina (Gate Pa). He was part of a Ngāti Pikiao contingent that went to help their whanaunga from Ngāiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Pūkenga defend the fortifications at the Gate Pā in 1864”.

It’s certainly not our first te reo Making Tracks song but it is our first te reo thrash metal song!

Jupiter Project

Very special

In the last newsletter we reported on some of our Special Tracks grants, for the winners of the APRA Best Children’s Song, the Play It Strange Lion Foundation Songwriting Award winner and the three winners from the 2015 RockQuest and Pacifica Beats high school music finals.

Since then another Special Tracks song has been released. It’s a project that we funded with the Attitude Trust ahead of the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. The song is called Long White Cloud and as well as providing an anthem for the Paralympics, it has been produced to drive public awareness of the 25% of the population who live with some form of disability.

The project manager was Mike Chunn of Play It Strange. Mike talks about the special significance the project and the song have here. The song was written by Chunn’s Sacred Heart school mate, Paul Fitzgerald, when he was living in Paris and missing home. The vocal is by Natalie Te Paa from Takapuna and Cam Dawson from Blenheim who are both blind.

Mike Chunn


The 50th NZ Music Awards have come and gone. We congratulate the finalists but most especially the winners, many of whom are from our Making Tracks cohort, like Marlon Williams, Shihad, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tami Neilson, Ranea, Janine + The Mixtape, Savage, Trinity Roots, and Six60.

The NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award was won by the awesome Broods for Mother & Father and the NZ On Air Best Music Video Award was won by video-maker, Shahir Daud, for a tune called Cymatics by little-known Wellington ex-pat musician, Nigel Stanford. It is an extraordinary, must-see work.

In the run up to the Music Awards, we also sponsor the Critics’ Choice Prize which focuses on new up-and-coming acts that have the potential to be future Tui winners. The finalists this year were Boycrush, New Gum Sarn and winners, Bespin, an “ambient” trio from Auckland. Watch this space!

Jonathan Lee of Bespin at this year's Critics' Choice Prize


We used the 2015 NZ Music Awards to launch the second stage of our AllTracks project. AllTracks is our way to help audiences find and enjoy great New Zealand music online via seven genre-based playlists curated by people who know and love that genre. Like Shihad’s Tom Larkin who has put together the Rock & Metal playlist and multiple Tui award winner, Tami Neilson who is curating Folk & Country.

We now have an eighth playlist option – a guest playlist put together by interesting New Zealanders.

First up, on the back of the NZ Music Awards, we have had Taika Waititi and over the festive season, we have businesswoman and chef Nadia Lim dropping in.

Nadia Lim - My Food Bag Head Chef and Dietitian

Another year

We have locked in funding for our new music features on commercial radio stations in the 2016 calendar year. These shows introduce new songs and new artists to the audience and build familiarity that increases the chances of the song being added to a playlist. 

Examples are Locals Only on Radio Hauraki, Backyard Beats on Mai FM, The Word on ZM and Wired on the More FM network.

We have also confirmed funding for New Zealand music features on The Edge TV like Decent Exposure and another year of the Resound project with Sounz and RNZ Concert. Sounz marked the fifth anniversary of the Resound project in November. Since the launch of the Resound, Sounz has made 528 works by New Zealand composers available for streaming.

It starts with a song

We are excited to partner with the songwriters’ champion, APRA, to launch SongHubs Auckland in February next year. SongHubs is a project that APRA runs in Australia with the Australia Council to pair world-class international songwriters and producers with developing writers in a week-long intensive residency. The Auckland project will take place at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios and will involve four successful international writers collaborating with 10 of New Zealand’s best developing writers, curated by producer, Greg Haver. Look out for APRA’s full announcement soon.

Community Broadcasting

Regional media news and information

There were 18 submissions to our call for regional media expressions of interest. Overall, NZ On Air has decided that the range of submissions received fell short of our strategic objectives for the EOI process and that further work is necessary before short-listing decisions can be taken. We've decided to invite full proposals from any EOI submitter wishing to supply one. The mechanism will be a closed tender.

Earlier this year a review of regional television found a series of weak business cases in most areas. We decided to assess interest in new ideas for delivering converged regional news and information content beyond 2016.

We sought proposals that showed clear and compelling demand from regions; delivery on multiple platforms; and media partnerships that could deliver regional content to the platforms audiences are already accessing.

Spoken word radio programmes

We've funded four Spoken Word Radio programmes in this round. The Nutters Club, Christmas and Sealed Section are all returning programmes. 

That’s The Story Trilogy is a suite of three new programmes aimed at children. The programmes will be broadcast on Radio Rhema and available online. One of the programmes will be made available directly to teachers for classroom use.

Funding decisions

The latest funding decisions for Television • Digital MediaRadioMusic Industry Development



Waitangi 2016 - A Walk Among The Crowds
Māori Television for Māori Television • 1 x 300 • $108,661


Comedy Gala 2016
Mediaworks TV for TV3 •  1 x 120 • $114,396

Find Me A Māori Bride 2
Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for Māori Television • 7 x 30 • $590,000


Grand Designs NZ 2
Imagination Television for TV3 • 10 x 60 • $900,000

Great War Stories 2016/17
A C Productions for TV3 • 14 x 3 • $197,108

My Year With Helen
Gaylene Preston Productions for TV3 • 1 x 60 • $199,000

New Zealand: A User's Guide
Hikoi NZ for TV3 • 6 x 30 • $572,632

The DNA Detectives 2
Jam TV for TV One • 6 x 60 • $1,279,725

Toa Hunter Gatherer
Awa Films for Māori Television • 8 x 30 • $240,000

Topp Country 3
Diva Productions for TV One • 10 x 30 • $746,007


The Brokenwood Mysteries 3
South Pacific Pictures for Prime • 4 x 120 • $4,036,000


Mediaworks Radio for The Edge TV • 225 x 30 • $53,000

Decent Exposure
Mediaworks Radio for The Edge TV • 15 x 5 • $90,000

The Slab
Mediaworks Radio for The Edge TV • 45 x 30 • $53,000

Live Acoustic Sessions
Mediaworks Radio for The Edge TV • 8 x 15 • $54,000

PLATINUM FUND - Current Affairs

Minority Reports (working title)
Great Southern Television for TV3 • 30 x 30 • $400,000

The Nation 2016
Mediaworks TV for TV3 • 40 x 60 • $900,000

Q + A 2016
TVNZ for TV One • 40 x 60 • $846,000

PLATINUM FUND - Documentary

Ben And Olivia: Searching For The Truth
Production Shed TV for TV One • 1 x 90 • $1,027,660 

Special Interest

Pukana Subtitles 2016
Cinco Cine Film Productions for FOUR • 80 x 30 • $58,960


Digital Media

Interactive Media

Conversations With Young Mums
Pop Film • $175,000

How A City Rises
Frank Film • $174,956

Through The Fire Ltd • $175,000

Together We Make A Nation
Story Inc • $176,860



That's The Story 2015/16
Loud Mouth Productions for Various • 659 x 16 • $88,400


Resound 2016
Centre For New Zealand Music Trust (Sounz) for RNZ Concert & Sounz.Org.NZ • $130,000

As Kiwi As 2016
NZME.Radio for The Hits • 36 x 5 • $40,000

Backyard Beats 2016
Mediaworks Radio for Mai Fm • 40 x 5 • $40,000

Fresh Produce 2016
NZME.Radio for Flava Fm • 48 x 5 • $30,000

Homegrown 2016
Rhema Broadcasting Group Inc. for Radio Rhema • 52 x 60 • $30,000

Kiwi Rock Soundcheck 2016
Mediaworks Radio for The Rock • 24 x 5 • $50,000

Locals Only 2016
NZME.Radio for Radio Hauraki • 55 x 5 • $30,000

The Jump 2016
Mediaworks Radio for George FM • 52 x 5 • $20,000

The Slab 2016
Mediaworks Radio for The Edge • 40 x 5 • $50,000

The Word 2016
NZME.Radio for ZM • 50 x 5 • $50,000

Wired 2016
Mediaworks Radio for More FM • 40 x 5 • $50,000

Special Interest

Christmas 2015
Christian Broadcasting Association for NewstalkZB • 1 x 1080 • $20,477

The Nutters Club Radio Show 2016
The Key To Life Charitable Trust for NewstalkZB • 52 x 120 • $73,340


Sealed Section 2015/16
NZME.Radio for ZM • 40 x 90 • $49,000




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

Alien Weaponry • Ruana Te Whenua 
Bakers Eddy • Wallbreaker 
Beastwars • Some Sell Their Souls
Beastwars • Witches
Ben Mollison • Time Has Slid By [Special Tracks Rockquest Solo Winner]
Bespin • Untitled [Special Tracks Critics Choice Prize Winner]
Black Fox Trio • Giants
David Dallas • Can’t Get Enough
Decades • If It Kills Me
Delaney Davidson • Something’s Wrong
Die! Die! Die! • (I Love How You) Listen To The Radio
Ekko Park • Probable Cause
Estere • Rent
French For Rabbits • The Weight Of Melted Snow
Fungi • Waste Me Taste Me
Glass Vaults • Untitled 2
Graham Candy • My Wellington
Joe’s Van • Shroom Sam [Special Tracks Rockquest Band Winner]
Jonathan Bree • Triangular
Kamandi • What About You
Lisa Crawley • Your Love Is My Weakness
Marley Sola • Fill Me Up
Marley Sola • On My Own
Race Banyon • Surface
Reciprocate • Serenade [Special Tracks Pacifica Beats Winner]
Rei • Hundy Club
Sam Verlinden • Out Of My League
Sir T • Legend
Sons Of Sofa • So Young
Sons Of Zion • All Or Nothing
Stan Walker & The O'neill Twins • Boss As Chick
Sweet Mix Kids • With You Featuring Vince Harder
Tali • How To Get High
Tamagotchii • Don't Feel
The Beths • Whatever
The Deluxe Project • On & On
The Doqument • Nothing Was The Same
The Miltones • Pursed Lips
Tiki Taane • No Place Like Home
Tomorrow People • Writing On The Wall Featuring Fran Kora
Trei • Rebels Featuring Tali
Will Slugger • Tilt Of His Hat

Making Tracks • Music Video • $6,000

All The Colours • Jonathan
Annah Mac • Red
Aske • Found
Bailey Wiley • Take It From Me
Chambres • Chase Me Too
Dave Dobbyn • Tell The World
Diaz Grimm • I Saw Inside
Don Mcglashan • Hold Onto Your Loneliness
Ekko Park • Surface Breaks
Electric Wire Hustle • Brother Sun Featuring Kimbra
Gareth Thomas • Weird Fever
Groeni • Truce
Ill Semantics • 4 Thought Featuring Giant Killa
Joseph & Maia • I Know
Manalion • Dirty Roots
Maya Payne • Breathe Again
Medz • Love On Loop
Mermaidens • Undergrowth
P.H.F • Soft
Ranea • Tihei Mauri Ora
Rhian Sheehan • The Upper Sky
Rob Ruha • Kariri Featring Tiki Taane
Sammy J • I'm The One For You
Sneakers • Come Around Sundown
Stack & Piece • Burning Out Featuring Helen Corry
Tami Neilson • Holy Moses
Team Dynamite • Marvin (Beam Me Up)
Two Cartoons • Males
Yoko-Zuna • One's Cycle Featuring Bailey Wiley
Young Lyre • Winter

Industry Development

New Zealand Songhubs 2016 
APRA • $25,000