March 2015

March 2015 Newsletter

A note from the CEO

Jane Wrightson - CEO

I want to start with a big thank you to everyone who has been part of making great local content over the past 25 years. Last night the Minister of Broadcasting Amy Adams hosted an event in Parliament's Grand Hall to mark the 25 years anniversary of NZ On Air. Many of you were there, but space constraints meant we couldn't invite everyone we would have liked to. For those who weren't present, we acknowledged the remarkable changes through the 25 years and the many people and businesses who've been part of the journey.

As Minister Adams noted in her speech, who would have thought 25 years ago that today we would be able to catch up on the TV show we missed last night, on a mobile phone on the bus ride to work? The beauty of the NZ On Air funding model is that we have been able to adapt and respond both to changing technology and also audience behaviour and needs. Online is now part of everything we do. 

This month saw a relatively light round of funding decisions, and as noted in the TV update, funds are now running low. As we set our budgets and targets for next year we remain mindful of the need to ensure that our funds are invested wisely, in the areas that most need our intervention.

There are some exciting new projects on the slate in television including another series of the beautiful Our Big Blue Backyard, a number of documentaries covering everything from hip hop to race relations, and the plight of a New Zealander in a Bali jail.

Not quite ready for announcement in this newsletter is the outcome of submissions to our first ever international digital co-production fund. We advise the successful project applicants under the Canada NZ Digital Media Fund shortly. Some very interesting projects have emerged from a border-busting initiative.

On a subject that has been in the news this week, we are pleased that Mediaworks made the right decision, and swiftly, regarding the X Factor judges. Despite incorrect headlines, we didn't 'axe' funding for the show. We signalled last year when we funded the second series of X Factor that we would only be able to support two seasons each of the X Factor and NZ's Got Talent, but were pleased to provide funding to help establish these series.

We look forward to the focus returning to the artists and the music. Shows like this provide national exposure and a new fan base for emerging musicians, and we wish all the contestants well.

Thanks to all our colleagues, old and new, who have been part of our 25 years of backing local content.




Hon. Amy Adams & Miriam Dean (Chair)

Last night we formally celebrated 25 years of NZ On Air at Parliament with about 180 people from the television, radio and music industries and MPs.

We used the opportunity to give out some light-hearted awards to a small number of the many people and businesses who've made a contribution to local content over the 25 years.

The Playtime Award: presented to producers Janine Morrell-Gunn (Whitebait TV) and Mary Phillips (Pickled Possum Productions) for tirelessly working with and for the kids of NZ.

The No Stone Unturned Award: presented to Mark Jennings (Group Head of News, Mediaworks) for 25 years of advocacy for serious television current affairs.

The Picture Postcard Award: presented to Country Calendar (TVNZ) for truly Kiwi documentary-making at its most beautiful, and for the modern-day miracle of a farming programme in prime time.

The Aunties and Nefs Award: presented to Bailey Mackey (Pango Productions) for harming Māori stereotypes and for bringing Te Reo into mainstream prime time TV.

The Best NZ On Air End Credit Award: presented to 7 Days (The DownLow Concept) for creating a career path for comedians and making terrific funny telly.

The Caterina DeNave Dramatic License Award: presented to Shortland Street (South Pacific Pictures) for providing a national cast and crew training ground, but mostly for proving year in and year out that a local soap can work.

Chris Bailey (SPP) & Angela Bloomfield (Shortland Street)

The Tiny Terror Award: presented to Andrew Shaw (TVNZ, General Manager – Commissioning, Productions & Acquisitions) who has played many, many roles in the TV sector over many, many years but none more important than being a champion of local TV programmes.

The Access All Areas Award: presented to Attitude (Attitude Pictures) for being authentically by and for their audience, leading by example, and giving a genuine voice to people with disabilities.

The First Cab Off The Rank Award: presented to Moana & The Moahunters for the first NZ On Air-funded music video – A-E-I-O-U .

The Can’t Get Enough Award: presented to Supergroove who featured on the very first NZ On Air Kiwi Hit Disc in 1993 and are still making music today.

The Down With The Kids Award: presented to Mike Chunn (CEO of Play It Strange Trust) for his unflagging energy and enthusiasm as a promoter of young musical talent.

The Loaves And Fishes Award: presented to Radio New Zealand for continuing to bear aloft the flame of public broadcasting, walking that formidable tight-rope of being all things to all people.

The Online Over-Achievers Award: presented to KHF Media for bringing home New Zealand’s first (and at this time, only) International Digital Emmy Award for Reservoir Hill, and continuing to look for new ways to engage audiences.

The Techno Tusitala Award: presented to Lisa Taouma (Tiki Lounge Productions) for breaking new ground with online hub for Pacific content – The Coconet, and connecting Pacific youth with their roots.

For more information about 25 years of NZ On Air supporting local content check out our Feature.


March round

This second to last meeting of the financial year saw 16 applications submitted seeking nearly $5.3m. Targeted for Arts/Culture, Comedy, Māori and Platinum we were pleased to support an excellent range of projects in this round with total funding of $5m for 32.5 hours of content.

As noted in our December newsletter, following the funding decisions of this meeting we have effectively met our General Television and Platinum Fund budgets for the year. While there may be some residual funds available for the May meeting these will be extremely constrained. Please contact TV Manager Glenn Usmar to discuss before you submit any applications to the next round.

Our Big Blue Backyard - NHNZ for TV One

Platinum Fund

A further six episodes of the outstanding natural history series Our Big Blue Backyard from NHNZ were supported for TV One. Also funded, to complete the Platinum budget for this year, was Decades In Colour – a 3 x 1 hour series for Prime that will chart New Zealand’s social history across the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s using amateur home-movie footage never before broadcast.


Smokefree Rockquest - Commotion for FOUR

Children’s & Young Person’s programmes

Once again the annual search for New Zealand's up and coming music stars, the Smokefree Rockquest has been supported for screening on FOUR.


Rising stars of the future is also a theme of Chopper’s Lineup, which has been supported for TV3. Each week Heath Franklin, aka Chopper Reid, will be hosting a series of stand-up sets and interviews that will feature established and up-coming NZ comedy stars along with some international comedians visiting New Zealand for the annual Comedy Festival.


A one-off documentary Till Death Do Us Part has been supported for TV3. This will tell the story of New Zealander Antony de Malmanche who is currently facing trial in Indonesia for importing drugs – a charge that could result in the death penalty if he is found guilty.

Māori programmes

Six Māori projects totalling $1.7m were supported in this round including a one-off documentary Beyond The Bully for Prime that will focus on bullying from a personal perspective. Also supported is returning rangitahi series 2Kaha for TV2 along with a new observational documentary series for Māori Television Kanikani, which will show the journey of a group of young Māori dancers hoping to make it to the World Hip Hop Championships.

2Kaha - Whitebait Productions for TV2

The final three Māori Television Pākipūmeka projects from the 2012/13 allocation were also confirmed.

The recent blossoming of Māori filmmaking will feature in Hautoa Ma!, Haka & Guitar will revisit the successful 1997 NZ Defence Force mission to Bougainville where our soldiers went armed only with ‘haka and guitars’; and  Raids To Reconciliation will follow the journey of Tame Iti, activist and kaumatua of Ngāi Tūhoe, through the last seven years, telling the story of his people through this turbulent time.


Topped 20

It was great to see local music content on commercial radio hit 20.09% in the last week of the 2014 calendar year. That was a four-year high. Our thanks to all the radio programmers for giving local artists airplay.

Marlon Williams


We are back into MakingTracks after two months off in December and January.

In the first MakingTracks round for the 2015 year was had 115 applications. We supported another 20 very cool songs from the likes of Marlon Williams and Ginny Blackmore, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and The Veils. That makes 132 MakingTracks songs so far this funding year.


The Kiwi Hit Disc is no more. We are rebranding the Kiwi Hit Disc as NewTracks starting in April.

NewTracks will be a 28-track monthly compilation of new radio-ready releases by New Zealand artists – like the Kiwi Hit Disc – but it will be primarily a digital delivery service via our new site. 

There will still be a disc version for a while but we will produce a smaller number as we phase out hard copies.

Radio stations and other registered music media users who used to get the Kiwi Hit Disc in the mail can now log in at to access the latest monthly release (plus the previous two months’ compilations) and will be able to download broadcast-quality copies of the songs. After three months the compilations will be stored as mp3 listening copies in the back catalogue store on the site.

The Kiwi Hit Disc has a proud 180-volume 22-year history. The first Kiwi Hit Disc was produced in 1993 and since then, we have delivered nearly 5,000 of the best New Zealand songs to every radio station in the land, from the biggest national networks to schoolyard radio stations.

Radio and the online world

We led a workshop with the first of our alt radio partners RDU in Christchurch on 13 March. We looked at a range of different platforms available to help RDU build their online audience and how they can improve and build on their current social media strategy.

Community Broadcasting

The review of our funding support for regional television is nearing completion. Independent reviewer Paul France has now visited regions to speak to channels and local stakeholders. We expect to consider his report at the May meeting.

The Christian Broadcasting Association received funding for its annual Easter programme on Newstalk ZB as well as one-off funding for an ANZAC special. Four one-hour programmes will play on Leighton Smith Mornings in the lead up to ANZAC day with all four programmes being repeated as a package on ANZAC day.


We have two important pieces of research coming out in the coming weeks. The first is research into the media consumption habits of children today. The research, conducted by Colmar Brunton, was commissioned in collaboration with the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

The full report will be available on our website after its official release on 30 March.

The second piece of research to watch out for is our annual Local Content Report which will be out in April. 

Funding decisions

The latest funding decisions for Television • Music • Radio



Smokefree Rockquest 2015
Commotion for FOUR • 6 x 30 min • $319,050


Chopper's Line Up
Hikoi NZ for TV3 • 6 x 30 min • $90,080


Beyond The Bully
Te Amokura Productions for Prime • 1 x 1 hr • $177,000

Rogue Productions for Maori Television •  6 x 30 min • $279,183

Till Death Do Us Part
Pan Pacific Films for TV3 • 1 x 1 hr • $195,000

Pakipūmeka Aotearoa

Haka & Guitar
TMI Pictures for Maori Television • 1 x 1 hr • $100,000

Hautoa Ma!
Blue Bach Productions for Maori Television • 1 x 1 hr • $71,700

Raids To Reconciliation
Conbrio Media for Maori Television •  1 x 1 hr • $50,000


2Kaha 2015
Whitebait Productions for TV2 • 25 x 30 min • $1,025,000

PLATINUM FUND • Documentary

Decades In Colour
Greenstone TV for Prime • 3 x 1 hr • $580,060

Our Big Blue Backyard 2
NHNZ for TV One • 6 x 1 hr • $2,066,927



Taite Music Prize
 Independent Music New Zealand • $10,000

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

Critics’ Choice Prize 
 Recorded Music New Zealand • $10,000

NZ Music Awards 
 Recorded Music New Zealand • $115,000

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

Charity Children • Holy War
Arcee • Rebound
Weird Together • Going Back To Trinidad Ft. Rembun
Emily Rice • On The Road To Moab (Wildcard Winner)
Vince Harder • Find Love Ft. Stan Walker
Henika • You Bring Me Down (Wildcard Winner)
Lawrence Arabia • Another Century
Tunes Of I • Give In (Wildcard Winner)
Jon Lemmon • When It Came Along
Joseph & Maia • Stay
The Veils • Dark Rider
Edward Waaka • Crazy
Ginny Blackmore • Under My Feet
Jackie Thomas • Until The Last Goodbye
Hollie Smith • Lady Dee
Anna Coddington • Release Me
The Essential Tremor • Curious Cut (Wildcard Winner)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra • Can't Keep Checking My Phone

Making Tracks • Music Video • $6,000

Dictaphone Blues • Lance's Tape
Black River Drive • Wake Up
Coco Solid • Slow Torture Ft. Disaster Radio
Eden Mulholland • River Of Hurt
Ekko Park • Validation
Marlon Williams • Hello Miss Lonesome


Special Interest

ANZAC 2015
NewstalkZB • 4 x 1 hrs • $10,000

Easter 2015
NewstalkZB • 1 x 12hrs • $18,000