The DNA Detectives

Let The DNA Detectives take you on a scientific journey around the globe as they unravel the genetic history of well-known New Zealanders.

The biggest journey starts with a small step. But in this case, it’s a small spit! What you’ll discover in a test tube of saliva is greater than any distant family story.

From Africa to Europe, Asia to Australia, and all the way back to New Zealand- The DNA Detectives reveal that our 23 sets of chromosomes contain far more history than the stories of our closest relatives.

NZ On Air funds programmes that reflect and develop New Zealand identity and culture. The documentary series, The DNA Detectives explores the many and varied ancestries of New Zealanders.

Through the tracking of gene mutations which have occurred since our ancestors migrated from Africa, The DNA Detectives can uncover what dictates your personality, where family traits lie and help to reunite people with long lost relatives.

During each of the six episodes, The DNA Detectives follows two iconic New Zealanders as they retrace their ancestry to uncover which countries recent relatives call home, and where distant relatives once inhabited.

Check out the extras segment at TVNZ On Demand to learn more about the process of DNA testing and tracing.


The DNA Detectives is made by Jam TV for TVNZ 1

6 x 1 hour

NZ On Air funding: $1,045,671

Audience reach


People aged 5+ on average that watched the first series, sourced from Nielsen Television Audience Measurement


Pecentage of people aged 5+ on average that watched the series, sourced from Nielsen Television Audience Measurement

Watch this show

This show is now off-air but is available On Demand.

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