Telling our stories creatively

Drama and comedy programmes provide unique opportunities to tell New Zealand stories creatively. In this genre we fund scripted drama series, tele-features, scripted and stand-up comedy.


Overview

Under the Broadcasting Act special priority is given to drama as a way to reflect and develop New Zealand culture and identity. We fund high-quality local drama that competes with the best international programmes.

These are expensive programmes to produce and they are risky. They receive significant support from NZ On Air to ensure we continue to see our local stories and characters on screen.

To ensure that funded programmes have the best possible chance of success most of our drama and comedy projects will go through a development process before we agree to fund the production.

Most drama funds are invested in programmes to be broadcast during prime time on the mainstream free-to-air channels that reach the largest audiences.

We also fund comedy that delivers a uniquely New Zealand perspective. These shows offer a fresh and funny take on life in New Zealand.

Annually NZ On Air spends around $36million on drama and comedy programmes from the General and Platinum contestable funds.


Showcase

Terry Teo

July 2016

Terry Teo

Terry is on a mission to avenge his father’s murder in this witty action drama which makes for great family viewing.

The Cul De Sac

March 2016

The Cul De Sac

Waking to find there are no adults and no technology, this brand new teen drama series follows Rose and her friends as they tackle a dystopian world.

The Brokenwood Mysteries

October 2016

The Brokenwood Mysteries

Four two-hour murder mysteries set in small town New Zealand will entertain you while giving the grey matter a work-out. 

Step Dave

November 2015

Step Dave

Step Dave is a significant drama investment by NZ On Air. Its creator tells us why it’s important to have local drama on NZ television. 

Westside

June 2016

Westside

From the award-winning creators of Outrageous Fortune, Westside is a drama series that will take the West family's large and loyal fan-base on a journey back to where it all began.

Filthy Rich

March 2016

Filthy Rich

Filthy Rich is what happens when an incredibly wealthy family finds out it has three cuckoos from the wrong side of the tracks in its golden nest. Who will ultimately rise to the top of the Truebridge Empire?


Strategy

NZ On Air is the key funder of local television drama in New Zealand. Drama is a high-risk genre because of its production complexity and cost.  

Section 37 (c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 requires NZ On Air to ensure that, in its funding of the production of television programmes, reasonable provision is made to assist in the production of drama and documentary programmes. That makes drama a strategic and statutory priority for NZ On Air.

In light of changing audience behaviour NZ On Air reconsidered our drama funding strategy in 2014. We issued a refreshed strategy in August 2014 which will guide our future investments. It is not a significant change from how we have invested in the past but allows some new flexibility in approach.


Apply for funding

There are four funding rounds a year for drama programmes. Decisions in 2016 will be announced in March, May, July, and December.

There are two funding rounds a year for comedy programmes. Decisions in 2016 will be announced in March and August.

Funding deadlines and how to apply


Funding to date, 2016-17

In A Flash $2,897,500

Dec 2016 · Screentime New Zealand · TVNZ 1 · 1 x 120 mins · Drama · TV Production

The Brokenwood Mysteries 4 $3,636,000

Dec 2016 · South Pacific Pictures · Prime · 4 x 120 mins · Drama · TV Production

Comedy Gala 2017 $114,164

Dec 2016 · MediaWorks TV · TV3 · 2 x 60 mins · Comedy · TV Production

Funny Girls 3 $394,587

Dec 2016 · MediaWorks TV · TV3 · 6 x 30 mins · Comedy · TV Production

Herbert $199,999

Dec 2016 · Virtue Entertainment Limited · TVNZ 2 · 1 x 120 mins · Drama · TV Production

Only In Aotearoa $241,886

Sep 2016 · Kura Productions · Maori Television · 8 x 30 mins · Comedy · TV Production

7 Days 2017 $1,056,000

Sep 2016 · MediaWorks TV · TV3 · 32 x 30 mins · Comedy · TV Production

Jono And Ben 2017 $1,717,042

Sep 2016 · MediaWorks TV · TV3 · 26 x 60 mins · Comedy · TV Production

Paranormal Event Response Unit $1,417,273

Sep 2016 · New Zealand Documentary Board · TV 2 · 6 x 30 mins · Comedy · TV Production

Filthy Rich 2 $6,977,019

Jul 2016 · Filthy Productions · TV 2 · 14 x 60 mins · Drama · TV Production

Westside 3 $6,543,500

Jul 2016 · South Pacific Pictures · TV3 · 8 x 60 mins · Drama · TV Production

Kiwi $3,068,975

Jul 2016 · Rogue Productions · TV One · 1 x 120 mins · Drama · TV Platinum Fund

Resolve $2,564,955

Jul 2016 · Screentime New Zealand · TV One · 1 x 120 mins · Drama · TV Platinum Fund

Why Does Love? $2,564,330

Jul 2016 · Great Southern Television · TV One · 1 x 120 mins · Drama · TV Platinum Fund

Vermilion $199,000

Jul 2016 · Vermilion · TV One · 1 x 120 mins · Drama · TV Production