October 2017 Newsletter

A note from the CEO

Jane Wrightson, CEO

If there's one thing I know about our industry, it's that if we throw down a challenge it will be taken up. Our first round seeking innovative content for the new online children's platform proved this again. From 58 applications, 19 production companies won funding for 25 projects creating a very wide range of content.

It's exciting to see the children's project with TVNZ coming closer to fruition - it is truly a collaboration between platform, funder, creatives and the audience - children. We hope to announce a name for the platform soon - the kids are in charge of that bit! (eeek!). And we are going to the market for a new weekday children's series that will also provide unique online content.

This round saw a whole swathe of new content funded across Factual and Scripted, including Children's. But inevitably, to make way for new content, we have had to let go of some old favourites. We have long signalled that this would be the case. It's about renewal, about making sure that there is room for new ideas, serving new or different audiences.

Also talking about new ideas, we held a successful drama forum in Auckland in September. There's more on this below. I want to thank everyone who came to this and freely contributed their thoughts and ideas. We are grateful to work with a supportive, creative sector - if we get this right we all win.

The next funding round closes on 19 October, with decisions following our final meeting for the year on 7 December.

Kia pai tō rā,


Drama - where to next?

Telling our own stories on screens is vital to cultural identity. There is no question that drama faces new challenges. Audiences are watching differently, stacking and bingeing. High quality international content has never been more available, through a variety of platforms.

So how do we create successful local drama in this environment? This was the question 130 attendees grappled with last month at our drama conversation in Auckland.

The attendees identified four main challenges/opportunities. They are:
1. Development
2. Diversity
3. Innovation
4. Newer platforms

You can read a summary of the day's discussion here. Jane's opening remarks outlining some of the issues and some of the audience data presented are here

As we consider where to next with drama one thing is clear - there is insufficient funding both to continue with the status quo and to effect change.

We'll publish a short draft plan early in 2018 to seek your feedback.

In the meantime we will continue to fund the best ideas put forward and continue to listen to you. Getting change right is crucial to serving our audiences well, and retaining talented people in our industry.

Development update

Development was a hot topic at the drama forum. There was a very strong call from some that NZ On Air needs to invest more in development, in more diverse projects, and consider it as talent development. Some held the view that, whether or not the project proceeded to production, lots of development was still worth funding to expand creative development and skills.

NZ On Air’ s long-held policy is to fund development 50/50 with a co-investing platform: this gets skin in the game and the project’s chances of being produced are enhanced. On average, we invest around $400,000 pa. and about 60% of funded developments go into production.

Last December we introduced the Diverse Development Fund, which doesn't require an attached platform, as a subset of our usual development funding. This was to widen the project pool and to increase the range of companies that have a project ready to pitch to buyers.

In the year ended in June, we supported 24 projects with development funding of $424,700. Four of these were Diverse Development applications that received in total $100,000.

In the financial year that began on July 2017 we have already committed $259,655 to 17 projects, including five Diverse Development applications that received $102,100 (the latter from an allocation of $125k).

We are likely to have only around $150k left for development and we will need to take a strategic approach for the rest of this year.

We publish content development funding in every Annual Report but keep decisions from rounds through the year confidential as there are usually commercial sensitivities in the early period. We will review this practice as increased transparency will provide better industry information .

In the September round we supported a new Script to Screen initiative through our Industry Development Fund. Episodic Lab 2018 will provide a new opportunity for writers to upskill. The lab is intended to support 6-10 talented mid-career writers with a week of in-depth sessions, wraparound support from mentors, and platform access to pitch series concepts. More details in the New Year.

Given NZ On Air’s static funding, we will need to carefully consider if and how we add more development investment. NZ On Air has always focused on using our funding to actually produce content. Our contestable spend of $80m pa provides consistent and significant opportunities for industry professionals to practise their craft while delivering audience outcomes. We will explore, with guilds and the NZFC, if there are new, different and cost effective ways we can address some of the content and career development issues raised at the drama forum.

September round

Year to date expenditure

This round was for both Scripted and Factual content for targeted audiences. With the inclusion of the first round for content for the new online children's platform it was a mammoth effort! We assessed 118 applications in total.

It is clear that our new funding model is attracting even more applications on an ongoing basis. And while this is great, because a wider door provides more opportunities to assess a wider range of content, it also means more content creators receive a No. And it also means our little funding team is working harder than ever. We thank every applicant for their patience and understanding.

Maia The Brave, Pickled Possum Productions, for the children's platform

Children's content

We received 58 applications for children's content for the new online platform. The applications were all of a very high quality and the range is exceptionally broad. As a result the new platform (yet to be named) will have local games, and short-form series on everything from healthy cooking and science, to comedy, fantasy adventure, arts and craft and the natural environment.

For these applications we used a different assessment process, involving external panellists to ensure we were getting a range of views.

The children's budget for the year is now largely spent, with the exception of an RFP for a weekday series.

Children's weekday series RFP

As we assessed the funding applications for the new children's site, we became more interested in a drawcard weekday children's series. 

In order to be sure we have the best ideas, and because we hadn't explicitly asked for such a project, we have now issued an RFP with TVNZ. The process and timeline is described in this document. The deadline is 31 October.

As well, another RFP is open for the Canada NZ Digital Media Fund, this year prioritising projects for children. The deadline is 18 January. The guidelines for the RFP are here.

Heritage Rescue, Top Shelf Productions for Choice TV

Factual content

We considered 53 applications for funding for factual content for broadcast and online platforms. The result was a wider range of content on a wider range of platforms than we've ever before supported.

We are pleased to be providing specific content for the first time featuring and for the large (over 100,000) population of Indian New Zealanders. The Great New Zealand Dance Masala for Three will celebrate dance, and an information series on APNA Television, Namaste will discuss issues involving the community.

Other topics covered include sex advice for teens, The Real Sex Talk on The Villainesse (as well as The Wireless), Life After Rugby on Prime, and life after the Christchurch earthquake, as as seen through the eyes of one Christchurch family in Bus Life NZ, funded through SkipAhead with YouTube/Google.

There's lots of your favourite returning content too. Both Worlds and Arranged, provide diverse stories, Attitude will continue to bring to screens authentic stories of people living with disabilities, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika bring Pasific and Māori content, and a third season of Heritage Rescue on Choice TV will uncover more untold stories hidden in small town museums. 

Westside - South Pacific Pictures for Three

Scripted content

Great news! There will be even more Westside next year! We've supported 2 additional episodes for series 4 on Three, bringing the total episodes to 10.

We've also supported the final series of the TVNZ 2 teen,dystopian drama Cul De Sac, and a new season of the animated series Aroha Bridge for Māori Television.


APRA Silver Scroll 2017 finalists

APRA Silver Scroll 2017

NZ On Air was pleased to support coverage of this years APRA Silver Scroll, held at the Dunedin Town Hall on 28 September. The event was broadcast and streamed live across various RNZ platforms, as well as bFM in Auckland, and on demand footage of the show and performances are available via RNZ here. As always, a night to remember with the finalist songs performed by various groups, and music directed by Shayne Carter. The Clean were inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, teenage Northland metallers Alien Weaponry took away the Maioha Award, and Lorde’s Green Light won the Silver Scroll amongst a very strong all-female field of finalists - Chelsea Jade, Aldous Harding, Bic Runga and Nadia Reid.

Stan Walker - New Takover

Waiata Māori Music Awards

Earlier in September, Māori music and musicians were celebrated at the 10th annual Waiata Māori Music Awards held in Hastings. Maisey Rika won four awards for Best Traditional Māori Album, Best Māori Female Solo Artist, Best Song by a Māori Artist, and best Māori Songwriter award. Troy Kingi was the other multi-award winner, taking away Best Māori Pop Artist and Best Māori Solo Artist Award. NZ On Air sponsored the Best Video of the Year by a Māori Artist - which was won by Stan Walker for New Takeover and the powerful video created by Shae Sterling. NZ On Air also sponsored the Radio Airplay Song of the Year by a Māori Artist Award - won by Six60 for Mother’s Eyes.

Artisan Awards

Awards season continues with the Vodafone NZ Music Awards on 16 November. Before the big night there is a special event to honour the technical talent working behind the scenes of music releases. The Artisan Awards are to take place on 25 October, with categories for Best Producer, Best Engineer and Best Album Cover. NZ On Air is the sponsor of the Best Music Video. The nominated clips this year are for Shapeshifter - Her directed by Dan Watkins, Leisure - Got It Bad directed by Joel Kefali, and Fazerdaze - Lucky Girl directed by Sam Kristofski.

NZ Music Producers

NZ On Air is very pleased to support the second NZ Music Producers Series through our Industry Development Fund. Beginning later this month the series is hosted by Recorded Music NZ and curated by producer Greg Haver. Internationally renowned producer/engineers David Wrench and Romesh Dodangoda will spend time in Auckland working with a selection of NZ music producers on up-skilling and learning some of the cutting edge tricks of the trade. Production and mixing are crucial elements in the creation of a great song, so more expert knowledge and sharing of experience in this area is always welcome.

Directory of Music Video Directors

This month NZ Musician announced the addition of a NZ Music Video Directors Directory to their website. The directory is a comprehensive, free database of experienced and active local music video makers and includes full contact details plus links to some of their most recent work - a very helpful tool for anyone looking to make a music video. Experienced directors who are not already included in this handy new directory are encouraged to contact NZ Musician.

Industry news

Jiwi's Machines is a winner

Huge congratulations to EggBeater Ltd who have won Best Children's Series and Best Production Design with Jiwi's Machines at the International Academy of Web Television. You beauties! If you have bored kids at home these holidays the series is a delight - introduce them to Jiwi this weekend.

Acknowledging NZ On Air funding

It has been great to see the NZ On Air logo or the words "made with the support of NZ On Air" appearing in more places - thank you to everyone involved in making this happen. It really will make a difference in the long-run, ensuring audiences know what they've funded through their taxes.

One point to clarify is that it doesn't matter whether a programme has been commissioned by a platform or is an acquisition - the audience still needs to know it was funded by NZ On Air. So if producers are selling a library title to a platform it would be helpful if they remind the platform of the accreditation requirements.

WIFT awards nominations are open

WIFT NZ is putting the call out for nominations for the 2018 WIFT NZ awards.

This exciting evening is a celebration of our leading women industry leaders, profiling the work of women in the screen industry. Anyone can nominate, though the nominee MUST be a woman working in the NZ screen industry.

The WIFT AWARDS will be held on the 1st of March 2018, at ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland. Tickets on sale soon.

Click here to get nominating.

Meet the team

Nicky Andrew - Executive Assistant

We restructured in January this year, to help us deliver the new processes and systems to manage the NZ Media Fund. In our staff blog we introduce you to team members and explain what they do.

Today meet Nicky Andrew, Executive Assistant extraordinaire.

Funding Decisions

Decisions for Children'sScriptedFactualIndustry DevelopmentMusic 



Cul De Sac 3, 6 x 24 mins, Greenstone TV for TVNZ 2, up to $1,220,591

Darwin And Newts 2, 40 x 11 mins, Whitebait Productions for TVNZ 2, up to $1,523,177

Maia The Brave 2, 20 x 10 mins, Pickled Possum Productions for the children’s platform, up to $495,718

Custard’s World, 26 x 5 mins + 245 mins, Whoa! Productions for the children’s platform, up to $750,033

Kai Five, 40 x 5 mins, Pickled Possum Productions for the children’s platform, up to $437,432

Jandal Burn, 10 x 5 mins, Mukpuddy for the children’s platform, up to $308,900

The Drawing Show, 13 x 4 mins, Mukpuddy for the children’s platform, up to $260,000

The Vloggingtons, 25 x 1.5 mins, Yoozoo for the children’s platform, up to $209,960

The Green Fairy, 5 x 5 mins, CONICAL Interactive Studios for the children’s platform, up to $200,000

Tales From Cardboard City, 10 x 3 mins, Vinewood for the children’s platform, up to $188,200

Legendary, 10 x 4 mins, Tikilounge Productions for the children’s platform, up to $175,640

The Barefoot Bandits Water Bomb Battle, game, Mukpuddy for the children’s platform, up to $153,700

Gamefroot, game, Gamelab for the children’s platform, up to $129,240

Sound4Kids, 26 x 32 mins, Prue Langbein for the children’s platform, up to $123,633

Rainbow Animation (Skip Ahead), 7 x 4 mins, Rainbow Learning Limited for YouTube, up to $84,000

Knock Knock, 52 x 0.25 mins, LOUDmouth Productions for the children’s platform, up to $45,500

NZ Educational Games Suite, game, InGame for the children’s platform, up to $25,000


What Now 2018, 40 x 118 mins, Whitebait Productions for TVNZ 2, up to $3,189,000

Michelle And The Nanonauts, 21 x 7 mins, Luke Nola And Friends for the children’s platform, up to $498,785

ZooMoo, 400 x 7 mins, NHNZ for the children’s platform, up to $493,940

Riddle + Squizz, 16 x 5 mins, RDYSTDY for the children’s platform, up to $240,857

Wild Eyes 2, 10 x 4 mins, POP Film for the children’s platform, up to $173,847

Me And George, 12 x 2 mins, Attitude Pictures for the children’s platform, up to $155,655

Tamariki Takeover, 45 x 3 mins, Blackout Media for the children’s platform, up to $99,000

Hundred99 Little Heroes, 4 x 5 mins, Pukeko Pictures for the children’s platform, up to $45,000



Westside 4, 2 x 44.5 mins (additional), South Pacific Pictures for THREE, up to $1,166,500

The Outlook For Someday 2017-18, 6 x 8 mins, Connected Media Trust for Fairfax - Stuff, up to $186,000


Aroha Bridge 2, 18 x 8 mins, Piki Films for Māori Television, up to $534,900

The Coconet TV Strands, 35 x 5 mins, Tikilounge Productions for TheCoconet.TV, up to $250,000

Housie Wives (Skip Ahead), 5 x 8 mins, Tikilounge Productions for TheCoconet.TV on YouTube, up to $98,800




Attitude 2018, 30 x 29 mins, Attitude Pictures for TVNZ 1, up to $1,773,800

Heritage Rescue 3, 8 x 45 mins, Top Shelf Productions for Choice TV, up to $835,191

Living With Tourettes, 6 x 44 mins, 2B Media for Prime, up to $529,000

Both Worlds 7, 8 x 22 mins, Notable Pictures for THREE, up to $367,521

Stan, 1 x 72 mins, Ruckus Media for THREE, up to $200,000

Arranged 2 (Additional), 2 x 44 mins, Notable Pictures for THREE, up to $178,480

Life After Rugby, 1 x 44 mins, Tikilounge Productions for Prime, up to $163,642

Bus Life NZ - Lives Changed Post Quake (Skip Ahead), 1 x 45 mins, Bus Life NZ for YouTube, up to $91,550


Slick As Ice - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Paralympics, 1 x 29 mins + live coverage, Attitude Pictures for Duke, up to $193,831

ANZAC Day 2018, 1 x 55 mins, Screentime New Zealand for TVNZ 1, up to $97,965

Current Affairs

Tagata Pasifika 2018, 50 x 22 mins + 2 x 45 mins, Sunpix for TVNZ 1, up to $1,600,000

D-Brief, 10 x 3 mins, Very Nice Productions for The Wireless, up to $28,500


Fresh 2018, 35 x 23 mins, Tikilounge Productions for TVNZ 2, up to $1,734,630

The Great New Zealand Dance Masala,10 x 24 mins, Top Shelf Productions for THREE, up to $507,684

Namaste New Zealand, 8 x 26 mins, Top Shelf Productions for APNA Television, up to $238,268

The Real Sex Talk, 12 x 9 mins, Villainesse for + The Wireless, up to $164,554

Industry Development Fund

Screen Edge Forum 2018, The Documentary New Zealand Trust, up to $10,000

SPADA Conference 2017, Spada, up to $15,000

Episodic Lab - 2018, Script to Screen up to $59,500

The NZ Music Producer Series - 2017, Greg Haver (Company TBC), up to $10,000


New Music Projects

Drax Project - Debut Album, Universal, up to $30,000

High Hoops - Debut audio/visual album, A Label Called Success/Sony, up to $24,000

Jamie McDell - Solo Album #3, Wonder and Thunder, up to $30,000

LAB - Debut Album, LOOP, up to $30,000

Mel Parsons - 2018 Album, Border Music, up to $30,000

Montell2099 - New EP, Richmond Music, up to $19,920

Pacific Heights - A Lost Light, Warner Music, up to $25,000

Tami Neilson - Album, Monkey Music/Southbound Distribution, up to $30,000

The Chills - Album, Southbound Distribution up to $29,820

The Naked and Famous - 2017/18 New Recordings, CRS Management, up to $30,000

New Music Single 

(all up to $8,000)

9-5ers - Future

Abby Wolfe - Breakdown

Alayna- Bliss

Andrew Papas - I'll Be There

Anthonie Tonnon - Old Images

Arcee Rapper - Got Your Back

Boycrush - 100%

CIity Of Souls - Whispers

Decades - The Truth

Emily Edrosa - Wade Thru

Fabulous/Arabia - Toby

Ha The Unclear - It Follows

Hex - Sight Beyond The Line

JessB - Kick Back Featuring Bianca Pauls

Kings - We'll Never Know

Merk - Hang

Mermaindens - Lizard

Mitch James - All The Ways To Say Goodbye

Sheep, Dog & Wolf - Fine

Sid Diamond - Otara Feat. various artists

SoccerPractice - Big Bad Wolf

Teeks - Never Be Apart

The All Seeing Hand - Lizard Brain

The Beths - You Wouldn't Like Me

Thomston X Sachi - Ride

Tourettes, Shocking Pinks, Gemma Syme - Hotel Room