October 2015

October 2015 newsletter

A note from the CEO

Jane Wrightson - Chief Executive

It's hard to believe we are already on the downhill slope towards Christmas. We are already wrapping some projects, planning our December Board meeting in Auckland, and a thank you function for stakeholders. Invitations coming soon.

As signalled in our last newsletter, this year we are having to make some very tough funding decisions as the effect of static funding for eight years starts to bite. The demand for funding is increasing. In this round we assessed 43 Television proposals (31 funded), 109 Webseries (8), 28 Digital Innovation proposals (4), and 135 music applications (24). That means we are saying No more often to funding applicants. I know it is of little comfort, but it feels as bad for us as it does for you. NZ On Air still has a comparatively large investment pool overall, though, and we'll do our best to help.

Our 2016 funding deadlines are here.

In September we were overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of applications for webseries funding. It is an exciting and fast developing genre and we think the projects we have selected are mighty good. In television we renewed funding for some high quality perennial children's shows, while we review our children's funding strategy.

We note with sadness the passing of Daniel Keighley, the founding station manager of Access Radio Taranaki. Daniel had a profound influence on the access radio sector as a whole and will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family and his access radio friends.

Last week we were sorry to farewell our CFO, Alan Shaw, who has been our expert juggler of finances for the past five years. His replacement is Clare Helm from Audit NZ. We welcome Clare to the senior leadership team. 

Finally, it's reporting season and we are well-advanced with our Annual Report, due for tabling in Parliament in mid-November. This year's report is designed for online reading as we embrace all things digital. It's a great opportunity to present what can be a fairly dry read in a fresh and interactive way. No video yet but its on the list for the future. We hope you will enjoy this new style of reporting.

Kia ora



We are currently reviewing how we fund children’s content and have just published a draft strategy, which you can read on our website. Our new policy will be finalised in early 2016 with a view to funding policy changes being implemented for the 2016/17 financial year.

  • We will be discussing this draft strategy at NZ On Air’s Children’s Content Forum on the morning of 13 November at the Roxy Cinema in Wellington as part of the SPADA Conference.

To register for the forum please email Anna Currie anna@nzonair.govt.nz ASAP.


September round

As the major meeting for funding next year's Children’s and Special Interest programmes this was another busy round with 43 funding requests seeking over $33.5m. We were pleased to support 30 General Fund projects and a drama from the Platinum Fund.

We confirmed funding of nearly $29m delivering 572 hours of content.


The Moe Show, Pop-Up Workshop for FOUR


We have supported an excellent range of children’s programmes for all ages for 2016.

Along with returning pre-school series The Moe Show on FOUR we were pleased to support a new animation project from the people at Whitebait Media for TV2. Darwin And Newts, a 40 x 11min series, will engage children in exploring the science around how stuff works.

Classic weekend series What Now will return for its 35th year along with another season of The Barefoot Bandits and re-branded weekday afternoon series The Adam And Eve Show, all for TV2. The popular Sticky TV is also returning to FOUR.


Coverage of the 2016 Anzac Day National Commemorative Service held at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park has again been supported for screening on TV One.


A new comedy special, Aotearoha – Rising Stars, hosted by Urzila Carlson and featuring stand-up performances from some of the up-and-comers of New Zealand comedy was supported for TV3. Friday-night prime time comedy favourites Jono And Ben and 7 Days were also funded for new seasons in 2016.

Chief Gary, a comedy feature film starring Josh Thomson, produced by Filmwork, and written and directed by thedownlowconcept, was also supported.


Two further feature films were also supported including Taika Waititi’s latest feature film Hunt For The Wilderpeople, for TV2; and Tip Top Taj Mahal, based on the well-known NZ play Krishnan’s Dairy, which will screen on Choice.

The support of three theatrical projects in this round means we have already exceeded our budget for feature films. We will not be able to support any further dramatic film projects for the balance of the current financial year.

A new Platinum Fund telefeature has also been supported. Details will be released shortly.


Highlights coverage of the 2016 Rio Paralympics was supported for screening on TV One along with a new season of the award-winning series Attitude.


Split Enz – a documentary special on the iconic kiwi band was supported for Prime and will be made by Greenstone TV with Richard Driver executive producing.

Special Interest

A new series for Māori Television will take us Inside Parliament. From the team behind Media Take, the fly-on-the-wall series aims to demystify the workings of Parliament and give a younger generation a greater understanding of what the people involved in the day-to-day running of Parliament do.

Fresh, Tikilounge Productions for TV2

Returning series in 2016 include the TV2 Pacific youth series Fresh and Tagata Pasifika, Rural Delivery, Praise Be and Neighbourhood for TV One. Both Worlds (TV3) will again reveal the lives of migrants and refugees. We've supported additional episodes of the new series Arranged examining the stories of NZ couples entering arranged marriages. Back Benches on Prime and Media Take on Māori Television will once again explore politics and the media.

Type 3 Funding (online)

As noted in the July round we have recently funded a couple of online projects from the Television General Fund under the Type 3 category (detailed in our Channel Preference Guidelines). This is a mechanism that enables NZ On Air to potentially secure hard to achieve, diverse programme outcomes online rather than via broadcast channels. However, funding contraints mean that only a very small number of Type 3 projects can be supported from the television budget.

Type 3 applications need to demonstrate they offer important content of a type that is currently difficult to achieve on Type 1 and Type 2 broadcast platforms, for example, content that serves and/or represents minorities or communities, Māori, arts, children and youth etc.

There is no special budget for Type 3 online applications and they are assessed alongside Type 1 and Type 2 television applications. Our programme targets and budgets are set by genre as detailed in our Statement of Performance Expectations.

Please contact our Head of Television Glenn Usmar if you are planning to make a Type 3 application to a television round. He can advise you regarding the remaining available funding and also where your project might sit with regard to NZ On Air’s funding priorities.

December funding round - Television

After two meetings of the current financial year we have already committed 76% of the General Fund and 60% of the Platinum Fund budgets, with some genre budgets already completely committed (e.g. Arts/Culture, Disability, Special Interest, Platinum Drama).

This means opportunities for funding new applications in December and March are limited. To discuss applications that you propose to submit please contact Glenn Usmar, the Head of Television.

Attitude, Attitude Pictures for TV One


Congratulations to the team at Attitude who are again finalists in three prestigious international awards:

  • The AIB Awards (UK) – Specialist Programme: My Search For Words
  • ABU Awards (Asia-Pacific) – Documentary: Maia and Letitia
  • ABU Awards (Asia-Pacific) – Sports: Attitude Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter
    Games Special
  • World Summit Awards – Inclusion and Empowerment – AttitudeLive

Congratulations also to all the winners at the 2015 Script Writers' Awards (SWANZ) last week, in particular: the NZ On Air Best Television Comedy Episode winner Roseanne Liang for Flat 3: The Game, and Tim Balme for The Brokenwood Mysteries: Sour Grapes winner of the NZ On Air Best Television Drama episode.

Digital Media

This has been our most exciting and challenging digital funding round. With 109 applications for webseries and 28 for the Innovation Fund we know there is no shortage of great ideas for new and innovative online content.

The total funding requested for webseries was $10,155,293. We were able to support eight series, totalling $764,720.

Overall we were really impressed with the quality of the applications, although this just made the decisions even harder. Ultimately we decided to focus on comedy, supported by a significant platform, from diverse creators. This is because opportunities for innovative comedy on mainstream broadcast channels are relatively rare and it is a genre that works well online. Two of the projects are not comedy but we were captured by their innovative ideas. You can read more about these projects here. These applications were assessed by a staff team.

The Innovation Fund applications totalled $1,287,696 and we funded four projects to a total of $167,125. This fund draws in a diverse mix of ideas, and we look for those that are particularly innovative, or suit a specific audience, or that do not fit other fund criteria. Two external reviewers assisted staff with assessments: Anna Jackson, a creative producer and lecturer at AUT Colab, and Justin Matthews, a producer and senior lecturer in Digital Media at AUT.

The successful projects were two very different interactive e-books for children - Moe And The Unexpected Bully and My Guardian; a short video series Life Stylers; and streaming for the young people's film event -The Outlook For Someday.

Our Interactive Documentary Fund (closing date 23 October) and Canada-NZ Digital Media Fund (closing date 17 November) are up next. We are looking forward to a new mix of ideas and collaborations! Please take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions if you are considering applying for either of these funds.  

Mahinga Kai, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu

Finally the webseries Ngāi Tahu Mahinga Kai  was launched last month, a visually stunning exploration of traditional food gathering practices passed down through generations.


Spinning Spinning Spinning

At the end of every Making Tracks year, we do an Outcomes & Impacts review where we count 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 now completed our count for the last complete Making Tracks year and at the same time, updated tallies for songs funded in the first three years of Making Tracks since July 2011.

You can see the highlights here and you can read the full report here but briefly –

  • 831 Making Tracks-funded songs have been released since July 2011
  • Those 831 songs have picked up more than 109 million spins on radio or music television and streams online over the four years to 31 July 2015

The most-played Making Tracks-funded song of all time is Celeste by Ezra Vine which had notched up an extraordinary 11,759,241 spins and streams by 31 July. The song is huge on Spotify. It just keeps on racking up the streams; as we write, it’s close to 15 million on Spotify alone.

Ezra Vine

Meanwhile, more tracks

Since the last newsletter, we have had three Making Tracks funding rounds – in July, August and September. We picked up 24 projects in July, 20 in August and another 24 in September to bring the total for the 2015/16 year to date to 68 supported from 368 applications.

We have also picked up a few more Special Tracks projects. Special Tracks grants are made to the winners of selected music competitions.

In the last newsletter we congratulated Levity Beet as the winner of the 2015 APRA Best Children’s Music Song. He will also receive Special Tracks funding to record a new song and make a music video as a result of his win. It’s a first for us to earmark funding for children’s music like this.

Since then, Grace Wood from St Kentigern College in Auckland has picked up a Special Tracks grant as the winner of the 2015 Play It Strange Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition with her song Young Naïve & Reckless. Again, it’s a first for us to partner with the wonderful Play It Strange people to do this.

And the winners of the 2015 Smokefree RockQuest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats competitions have been decided. The RockQuest Solo winner this year is Ben Mollison from Bethlehem College in Tauranga who will get Special Tracks funding to record his song Time Has Slid By. The RockQuest Band winner is Joe’s Van from Mt Maunganui College who will record Shroomy Sam. The Pacifica Beats winner this year is Reciprocate from Alfiston College in Manukau with their song Serenade.

Smokefree Rockquest Solo Winner Ben Mollison

Smokefree Rockquest Winners Joe's Van


It’s music awards time.

The 2015 Waiata Māori Music Awards were held in Hastings on 11 September. 

Six60 won the NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award for their song SpecialToni Huata’s beautiful Hopukia Te Tao made with Making Tracks funding topped up with Bring It Home funding from the Porirua City Council, won NZ On Air Best Music Video.

The following week, it was the APRA Silver Scroll. Four of the five finalists for the country’s most coveted songwriting award were artists funded by NZ On Air, including the winner, Unknown Mortal Orchestra for the song Multi-Love.

The 2015 Vodafone NZ Music Awards are next. Finalists are announced on 13 October in the build up to the NZ On Air Critics’ Choice Prize on 5 November and the Awards themselves on 19 November.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Community Broadcasting

Regional Media Content 

We received 16 submissions in response to our call for Expressions of Interest in providing converged regional media news/information content. The EOI process follows our review of  funding for regional television.

We will decide at our December Board meeting whether to invite fully fledged proposals from some submitters. Final decisions will be made at the March 2016 meeting.

Community Access radio

The first phase of redevelopment of the Access Internet Radio project has been completed and is due for re-launch later this month. We approved funding for the second phase of development at the September meeting. Access Internet Radio is expanding the reach and audience of community radio programmes made around the country.

Industry Development

Our new Industry Development Fund supports recognised industry organisations to lead industry initiatives that also contribute to NZ On Air’s mission. 

We invite applications twice a year. In September we helped seven industry organisations with projects as diverse as awards events and industry safety standards.

Applications for the next funding round close on 22 January 2016. 

Three types of initiatives are eligible:

  • National Quality Awards
  • National Industry Conferences
  • Professional Development

You can find out more about the fund's objectives and download the application form below.

Funding decisions

The latest funding decisions for TelevisionDigital Media • Radio Music • Industry Development



ANZAC Day 2016
TVNZ for TV One • 1 x 90 • $89,399


Darwin And Newts
Darwin & Newts Ltd for TV 2 • 40 x 11 • $1,523,177

Sticky TV 2016
Pickled Possum Productions for Four • 274 x 35 • $2,374,290

The Adam & Eve Show
Whitebait Productions for TV 2 • 200 x 30 • $3,080,400

The Barefoot Bandits 2
Mukpuddy Animation for TV 2 • 10 x 30 • $869,054

The Moe Show 3
Pop-Up Workshop for Four • 26 x 24 • $2,202,214

What Now 2016
Whitebait Productions for TV 2 • 40 x 120 • $3,189,000


7 Days 2016
Mediaworks TV for TV3 • 32 x 30 • $1,056,000

Aotearoha - Rising Stars
Mediaworks TV for TV3 • 1 x 60 • $75,218

Chief Gary
Chief Gary for NZME • 1 x 120 • $199,999

Jono And Ben 2016
Mediaworks TV for TV3 • 26 x 60 • $1,717,042


Somme - The Bloodiest Battle (additional)
Scottie Douglas Productions for Māori Television • 1 x 60 • $5,000

Split Enz
Greenstone for TV Prime • 1 x 90 • $229,427

The Palace (additional)
Rogue Productions for Māori Television • 7 x 30 • $20,005


Hunt For The Wilderpeople
Majestical Productions for TV 2 • 1 x 120 • $199,999

Tip Top Taj Mahal
South Pacific Pictures for Choice TV • 1 x 120 • $199,999

Special Interest

Notable Pictures for TV3 • 2 x 60 • $171,455

Attitude 2016
Attitude Pictures for TV One •  34 x 30 • $1,787,300

Back Benches 2016
TVNZ for Prime • 20 x 60 • $618,946

Both Worlds 5
Notable Pictures for TV3 •  10 x 30 •  $399,901

Fresh 2016
Tikilounge Productions for TV 2 • 25 x 30 • $1,143,890

Inside Parliament
Top Shelf Productions for Māori Television • 8 x 30 • $471,183

Media Take 3
Top Shelf Productions for Māori Television • 15 x 30 • $360,285

Neighbourhood 2016
Satellite Media Group for TV One • 35 x 30 • $1,434,373

Praise Be 2016
TVNZ for TV One • 54 x 30 • $387,541

Ready, Set... Rio - Paralympics 2016
Attitude Pictures for TV One • 12 x 60 • $374,139

Rural Delivery 2016
Showdown Productions for TV One • 40 x 30 • $1,162,640

Tagata Pasifika 2016
Sunpix for TV One • 53 x 30 • $1,696,165

Digital Media


Fresh Voices: The Wireless
Radio New Zealand • $200,000

Loading Docs: Change
Notable Pictures • $189,169

The Coconet 2016
Tikilounge Productions • $200,000


Life Stylers
Bella Pacific Media • $49,875

Moe And The Unexpected Bully
Pop-Up Workshop • $50,000

My Guardian
Pixelati • $47,250

The Outlook For Someday 2015
Connected Media Trust • $20,000


A Band Called Hook Ups 2 (animation)
Fumes Productions • $100,000

Bright Summer Night (arts)
The Candle Wasters • $100,000

Friday Night Bites (comedy)
Flat3 Productions • $100,000

High Road  3 (comedy)
Tomorrowland • $100,000

Lucy Lewis Can't Lose (youth)
Redletter Ltd • $64,720

Reset (children)
Girl Viking • $100,000

The Civilian (satire)
NZME Vision • $100,000

The Water Cooler (comedy)
Breakdown Productions • $100,000


NZ Music Channel
NZME iHeartRadio • $50,000



Access Radio Capital Fund

Air Project (Various Stations)
Waikato Community Broadcasting • $56,814


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

Average Rap Band • Nowhere
Beastwars • Witches
Ben Mollison • Time Has Slid By (Rockquest Solo Winner)
Brendon Thomas And The Vibes • Golden City
Brooke Duff • Fast Car Featuring Sidney Diamond
Charity Children • Whispering
Still Chia • Someday We Are Gonna Live In The Same Place
Dave Dobbyn • Angelina
Decades • Terrified
Delaney Davidson • Something’s Wrong
Dion Lunadon • Com/Broke
Ekko Park • Probable Cause
Glass Vaults • I Don't Mind
Glass Vaults • Life Is The Show
Glass Vaults • Untitled 2
Grace Wood • Young, Naive & Reckless (Play It Strange Songwriting Winner)
House Of Shem • Anything You Ask For
Joe's Van • Shroomy Sam (Rockquest Band Winner)
Jonathan Bree • Triangular
K.One • Save Me Featuring Sam Allen
Kinetik • Living The Illusion
Levity Beets • Song Title TBC (Apra Children’s Song Winner)
Lisa Crawley • Your Love Is My Weakness
Lontalius • Glow
Louis Baker • Rainbow
Mae Valley • Brightside
Marino Mariner • Here We Are
Marley Sola • On My Own
Nameul • Nice Guys Finish Thirst
P-Money • Call On Me Featuring Starley Hope
Reciprocate • Serenade (Pacifica Beats Winner)
Riley Richards • My Freedom
Rousseau • Petra Says (Wildcard Winner)
Sachi • No More Featuring Zoe & Sysyi
Sachi • South Central Featuring Duckwrth
Sam Verlinden • Out Of My League
Shapeshifter • Panny Fack
Sola Rosa • So Fly
Sons Of Zion • All Or Nothing
Attitude Paralympics • Long White Cloud (Special Tracks)
Tamagotchii • Don't Feel
Taste Nasa • Do What You Feel
Terrible Sons • Tears Don't Fall
The Beths • Whatever
The Eversons • Hippie Girl
The Veils • Axolotl
Tsörf • Can I Be Close 2 U?
Tsörf • Hold On To Me
Will Slugger • Tilt Of His Hat

Making Tracks • Music Video • $6,000

Annah Mac • Red
Chambres • Chase Me Too
Dave Dobbyn • Tell The World
Devilskin • Mountains
Don Mcglashan • Hold Onto Your Loneliness
Doprah • Machinery
Eastern Bloc • Pop Like
Eb & Sparrow • Little Hands
Electric Wire Hustle • Brother Sun Featuring Kimbra
Esther Stephens & The Means • French Kiss
Jackie Bristow & Jason Kerrison • Warrior Spirit
Janine & The Mixtape • When I’m Broken
Joseph & Maia • I Know
Laura Lee • Dreamers
Levi Patel • Since Last Letters
Mac Mylo & Jupiter Project • Omg Featuring Mez & Team On
Manalion • Dirty Roots
Medz • Love On Loop
Miloux • Pocket
P.H.F • Soft
Sammy J • I'm The One For You
Silence The City • Identity
Spycc • Other Lover Featuring High Hoops
Tom Lark • Never Be Your Man
Two Cartoons • Males
Yoko-Zuna • One's Cycle Featuring Bailey Wiley

Industry Development


WIFT NZ Awards 2016
WIFT NZ Incorporated • $7,000

SWANZ Script Writer Awards 2015
NZ Writers Guild • $2,000

Documentary Edge Gala Awards 2016
The Documentary New Zealand Trust • $10,000


SPADA conference 2015
SPADA • $15,000

Screen Edge Forum 2016
The Documentary New Zealand Trust • $10,000

ACAB conference 2015
Access Radio Wairarapa Charitable Trust • $3,500

Professional Development

Script to Screen Writers' Room
Script to Screen • $10,000

The NZ Film & Video Technicians' Guild Inc • $40,000

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