March 2014

March 2014 newsletter

A note from our CEO

Jane Wrightson

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2014. We have hit the ground running, with a new set of funding decisions for the first funding round of the calendar year, the release of the annual Local Content Report, and a refreshed website.

In our latest funding decisions we were thrilled to be able to support two excellent telefeature projects including a conclusion to Nothing Trivial, and confirmed our support again for the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards as an important way of celebrating our talented music artists.

The Local Content Report released this week shows that overall local content on TV is holding steady, but that first-run content continues to decline. This is a reflection of the health of the broadcast sector, and we continue to have a close dialogue with producers and broadcasters to ensure locally produced content is prioritised. 

Collaboration is key to the way forward. In addition to the joint Documentary Fund we have with the NZ Film Commission, we have other collaborations in the pipeline - always actively looking for ways to get more value for taxpayers, a greater diversity of content, and in doing so, supporting the industry. 

It's interesting to observe two other pieces of research recently released, in the UK and Australia, that give us good reason to have confidence in the television medium. 

In the first piece of research, from the British Audience Research Board, TV sets still accounted for 98.5% of total television viewing in 2013. There's more here in The Guardian. And a report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority finds that .." Despite all the talk about audience fragmentation, mobile devices and online viewing, the vast majority of Australians (96%) continue to watch free-to-air television, overwhelmingly live (93 %). (See Fig. 1)

Of course we are also aware of the opportunities to create great digital media content. We have just established a new joint fund of $500,000 with Te Māngai Pāho for a Māori webseries. You can read more about it in this newsletter. We are also currently working on a plan to gain greater exposure for Kiwi music via online platforms.

Finally, we're also paying a bit of attention to our own 'digital presence', with our refreshed website. We've added a site-wide search function and tweaked the funding search. We've added a lot more content that joins the dots between our strategies and what we deliver. It's all about increased transparency and accountability, and also showcasing the wonderful things that happen with NZ On Air funding. As always, we're grateful for the talents of all our content creators.




Nothing Trivial

Funding Overview

March was another busy round with 21 applications seeking more than $11m. We are pleased to have supported projects with total funding of $8.14m for 34.5 hours of content. Some projects are still being negotiated, and we will provide details later.

Two drama projects were supported. Nothing Trivial fans are very pleased they will get answers to the storylines left hanging at the end of series 3 in a two-hour telefeature that will screen later this year on TV One. Judging by the massive response on social media to the announcement, there's a strong audience demand for the answers.

Venus and Mars, was also supported and will tell the remarkable story of the Palmerston North cop who faked a satanic attack on himself as part of an elaborate insurance scam.

A Platinum Fund music special, Dreams Lie Deeper – Dave Dobbyn Pike River Special was funded for screening on TV One and will see Dave Dobbyn collaborate with the Wellington Orpheus Choir in a tribute concert. Also supported was an arts documentary on NZ band Dragon (The Dragon Story) for screening on Prime, along with coverage of the Smokefree Rockquest 2014 that will screen on FOUR and TV3.

Another Platinum Fund project is Why Are We Fat? This 3 x 1 hour science-based documentary series from Razor Films will seek to explain why New Zealand has such a high obesity rate and what we can do about it. It will screen on Prime. A selection of six diverse one-hour documentaries were also supported for the 2013/14 Pakipūmeka series on Māori Television.

May Funding Round

As the last meeting of the financial year the May meeting does not have specific genres prioritised. However the funding remaining this year is very limited.

Please contact the Television Manager regarding applications you are likely to submit to this meeting - we don’t want people to waste their time compiling applications that have little chance of being supported in this round due to lack of funds.

Joint Documentary Fund

At the end of last year we made a second call for applications to the NZ On Air and NZ Film Commission Joint Documentary Fund. These applications have now closed. We are currently assessing the applications and will announce the outcome in May. 

We are also collaborating on what promises to be an exciting new venture to encourage documentary content and will be able to announce details soon. 

Arrivederci Fiona

Fiona Mulder our versatile Television Funding Coordinator will be leaving NZ On Air for a six-month secondment to the Media Policy section of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, starting 14 April.

While we will miss her during her absence, we look forward to welcoming her back in October with some new insights and even more skills.

If you have any queries regarding funding applications or sales income in the meantime these should be referred to Jess Jones in the first instance.


Kids TV show Lets Get Inventin' has been nominated in the Prix Jeunesse 2014 - television's most prestigious international children’s television festival. They've been nominated in the "Quality in Children's TV Worldwide" section.

Big congrats to Luke Nola and Friends. We funded this as a TV project, but also provided funding from our Digital Media Fund for an app that allows kids to get inventing, and submit their inventions to the show.

Congratulations also to the producers of Pakipūmeka documentary He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan which is being distributed to all secondary schools along with a study guide. Commissioned by Māori Television and funded by NZ On Air the documentary probed questions around our army's involvement in Afghanistan. It was produced by Annie Goldson, of the University of Auckland, and Kay Ellmers of Tumanako Productions.

If you have news to share about funded productions, let our Communications Manager Allanah Kalafatelis know about it.

Digital Media

New Digital Media Fund webseries opportunity with Te Māngai Pāho

NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho have together established a $500,000 fund for short online series in te reo Māori, or for a Māori audience, or providing a window into te ao Māori.

We are very excited about this new collaboration as a means to encourage new ideas and stories to be developed outside of the traditional broadcast model.

Here is the request for proposals.

Nia's Extra Ordinary Life

Nia's Extra Ordinary Life

Nia's Extra Ordinary Life is a webseries for 6-10 year old children. Funded through the Digital Media Fund: Ignite, the series is set in the beautiful small town of Tinopai, and tells the story of Nia's "boring life". Every day Nia sits under her plum tree and writes in her diary, recollecting the events of the day. She narrates the characters in her world and takes us on a journey into her imagination, making her boring life somewhat more extraordinary.

Watch the series here

The series was created by Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions.

Brenda and the heART creator David Brydon checking out the app

Launch of heARt of Nelson app

Our Digital Strategist Brenda Leeuwenberg attended the launch of the augmented reality app heARt of Nelson last month. The app uses digitised images of glass plate photographs from the collection of the Nelson Provincial Museum. Now visitors to Nelson can see history in action as they walk around town and look at buildings through the app, seeing the buildings as they used to be and accessing stories and information as they go.

The heARt of Nelson app can be downloaded free from Apple and Android stores. It was created by Kiwi AR and funded through the Digital Media Fund Ignite.


Not (quite) Twenty

According to the latest report that we have from RadioScope, New Zealand music content on all radio – including the commercial stations, student radio, and iwi stations – is 19.40% at the moment (week to 9 March).

We also have the final figures for local music content on commercial radio for the 2013 calendar year. 2013 was better than 2012, but only by a whisker – 2013 came in at 17.27% compared with 17.13% in 2012.

The biggest New Zealand song on radio at the moment is Make You Mine by X Factor finalist Benny Tipene, showing us that there is life after X Factor. Wunderkinds Lorde and Broods fill the next four slots on the airplay charts with Ribs and Team from Lorde and Bridges and Never Gonna Change from Broods.

Benny Tipene

Making More Tracks

We have completed six Making Tracks funding rounds so far this funding year. We have received 772 applications and funded 139 projects.

In the first round for the 2014 calendar year – February – we funded new songs from familiar names like Avalanche City, The Phoenix Foundation and Smashproof along with a magic collaboration between two popular chart-toppers, Ginny Blackmore and Stan Walker.


Also on the February list are a couple of alt bands that are piquing interest internationally. The Christchurch / New York / Paris collab called Yumi Zouma and New York-based Streets Of Laredo.

And special congratulations to Ashei from Christchurch and Hamilton metallers, Devilskin for breaking through.

We are in the middle of the March round now and decisions will be out on 27 March. The April round closes on Tuesday 01 April.

Applications are made online.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

In The Hunt

The finalists for the 2014 Taite Music Prize have been announced and the finalists for the 2014 Pacific Music Awards will be announced next week.

The Taite Music Prize finalists are Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Beastwars, Sheep Dog & Wolf, The Phoenix Foundation, David Dallas, @Peace, the ubiquitous Lorde and Jonathan Bree (The Brunettes). The winner will be announced on 16 April.

NZ On Air is proud to sponsor both the Taite Music Prize and the Pacific Music Awards.

Community Broadcasting

Fostering sharing

We've just written to all access radio station managers and governing bodies, outlining NZ On Air's interest in promoting programme sharing. One of our strategies in Community Broadcasting is to 'Foster greater collaboration in community radio.' We think programme sharing is a useful way for all community broadcasters to increase the range and diversity of priority special interest programming available to their audiences.

Surveying regional TV audiences

We've just selected a research provider and work will begin shortly on a survey of regional television audiences. We hope to have the results available during May.

Easter radio programming

In the latest funding round we've approved support for the Christian Broadcasting Association to provide 12 hours of programming on NewstalkZB on Good Friday.

Funding Decisions

The latest funding decisions for TelevisionMusicRadio


Arts, Culture and Performance

Anzac Day National Commemorative Service (additional)
TVNZ for TV One • $2,310

The Dragon Story 
Notable Pictures for Prime • 1 x 1 hr • $171,037


Smokefree Rockquest 2014
Commotion for FOUR • 4 x ½ hr & 1 x 1hr • $319,050


Pakipūmeka Aotearoa

Freezing Works
Monsoon Pictures International for Māori Television • 1 x 1hr • $135,020

Get Your Butt Off The Table
Itinui Productions for Māori Television • 1 x 1hr • $124,965

Mending The Makotuku
Tawera Productions for Māori Television • 1 x 1hr • $124,790

Shovels And Guns
Kahawai Productions for Māori Television • 1 x 1hr • $124,200

Top Shelf Productions for Māori Television • 1 x 1hr • $122,203

What Are We Going To Do About Koro?
Ponsonby Productions for Māori Television • 1 x 1hr • $125,000


Back To The Source (additional)
Top Shelf Productions for TV3 • 1 x 1 hr • $140,000


Nothing Trivial telefeature
South Pacific Pictures for TV One • 1 x 2 hr • $1,611,635

Venus And Mars
Screentime New Zealand for TV One • 1 x 2 hr • $2,648,397

PLATINUM FUND • Arts Culture

Dreams Lie Deeper: Dave Dobbyn Pike River Special
Satellite Media Group for TV One • 1 x 1 hr • $210,520

PLATINUM FUND • Documentary

Why Are We Fat?
Razor Films for Prime • 3 x 1 hr • $532,594



NZ Music Awards 2014
J&A Productions on behalf of Recorded Music New Zealand • $115,000

Pacific Music Awards 2014
Pacific Music Awards Trust • $16,000

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

Avalanche City • I Need You
Bunnies On Ponies • Baked
Devilskin • Revolution
Die! Die! Die! • Out Of Mind
French For Rabbits • The Other Side
Ginny Blackmore & Stan Walker • Holding You
Jeremy Redmore • Bad Philosophy
Lydia Cole • One Day Soon
Ria • Knocking
Sola Rosa • Can We Get It Together featuring Noah Slee
The Phoenix Foundation • Bob Lennon

Making Tracks • Music Video • $6,000

Ashei • Bright Eyes
Barker • Haunted House
Black River Drive • Quicksand
Grayson Gilmour • Silence & Youth
Ill Semantics • You Got It
Jayson Norris • Save My Soul featuring Tiki Taane & Cocoa Jackson Lane
Lord Echo • Molten Lava featuring Leila Adu
Mulholland • Cry If You Want To
Smashproof • Survivors featuring Pieter T
Streets Of Laredo • Hey Rose
The Feelers • One Man Army (Never Give Up)
The Shifting Sands • All The Stars
Yumi Zouma • A Long Walk Home For Parted Lovers


Radio Programme

Easter 2014
Christian Broadcasting Association • NewstalkZB • 1 x 12hrs • $18,000