Our story

As a public media funding agency, we work directly with the creative community and broadcast platforms in the delivery of quality public media in service to Aotearoa New Zealand’s audiences. Our primary function is to ensure New Zealand stories, songs and perspectives are not crowded out of a media landscape where excellent foreign content is easily and cheaply acquired

NZOA_Our Strategic Framework

The strategic framework shows what drives and guides our agency and what we seek to achieve

Our strategy is built upon fundamental principles of public media. These encompass enhancing the culture of Aotearoa New Zealand, expanding the variety and inclusivity of local content accessible to New Zealanders, guaranteeing that content is easily accessible, strengthening social cohesion, and promoting well-informed discussions.

NZ On Air Investment Strategy

Our investment strategy aims to inspire, engage, and entertain local audiences with the stories and songs of Aotearoa. We do this by investing in valued, diverse, and discoverable content.

Our values

Manaakitanga - Care

  • We put people first - our staff and stakeholders
  • We treat everyone with mana and respect
  • We are inclusive, supportive and empathetic

Kaitiakitanga - Guardianship

  • We understand the responsibility of enabling and nurturing creativity/content creators
  • We ensure the taonga we fund authentically reflect and serve Aotearoa
  • We are professional and transparent in our decision-making

Māia - Courage

  • We know what we are here to do and will take purposeful risks to get there
  • We are brave; we act with integrity when we have to make hard decisions
  • We have the confidence to lead change where it is needed

We are guided by nine investment principles:

  1. Cultural value: We will prioritise songs and stories that contribute to Te Pae Tata our rautaki Māori; support a range of voices and experiences, including those from varying ages, races, ethnicities, abilities, genders, religions, cultures, and sexual orientations; effectively communicate captivating social, cultural, political, or historical aspects of Aotearoa New Zealand; have strong appeal to audiences who are currently underserved with local content; and ensure that the key creative team has a deep understanding and connection to the stories and songs they wish to create.
  2. Balance: We will continue to balance investment in content intended for both general and priority audiences, however, our primary focus is on public media content that highlights aspects of Aotearoa New Zealand that are less frequently covered in local media.
  3. Risk: We will adopt a generous approach towards creative risk-taking and innovation in funded content while exercising caution when it comes to business risk.
  4. Competition: We will support a range of content and creators, both to encourage multiple views and voices, and to encourage competition for the best ideas.
  5. Value for money: We will use efficient processes and focus on cost-effective content with a reasonable shelf-life that attracts audiences of an appropriate size.
  6. No duplication: We will invest in content and entities that add diversity to content already available and which the market alone cannot support.
  7. Leverage: We will invest in content and entities that attract third-party investment (for market validation and to help offset the cost to the taxpayer). Furthermore, we will strive to leverage other aspects of our mahi, such as opportunities to fund content that brings together local screen and music goals and partnering with other funding agencies where possible.
  8. Capability: We will give preference to content, creators and entities that are run or supported by capable partners. This approach enables efficient monitoring while maintaining robust accountability for public funds with minimal red tape. It is unlikely that investment support will be extended to unsupported start-ups.
  9. Fairness: We will require accurate, reliable information from all applicants to ensure fair and good decision-making in a contestable environment.

Funding decisions for projects seeking $1m or under are made by a Staff Investment Committee. Projects seeking over $1m are determined by the Board.

Te Pae Tata - Rautaki Māori


Waru, Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for Whakaata Māori

An important part of our funding strategy is to make special provision for Māori content.

Te Pae Tata, our Rautaki Māori is a comprehensive commitment to Māori content creators and audiences that covers not only funding but all operational aspects of Irirangi Te Motu | NZ On Air. It ensures we:

  • Grow representation of Māori language and culture in funded content
  • Grow the reach and engagement of funded content with Māori audiences
  • Grow the capability and capacity of Māori creators.

Our work complements the work of Te Māngai Pāho.

We focus on content in English for audiences interested in te ao Māori, encouraging the use of te reo as appropriate to normalise the language for non-fluent audiences.

Te Pae Tata also holds our agency accountable for a number of organisational goals that support the delivery of the funding goals.

Our Te Tiriti O Waitangi Commitment_A4

Working with Māori in the screen sector

Ngā Aho Whakaari (the association of Māori in Screen Production) has guidelines for working with Māori in the screen sector to ensure tikanga is understood and respected.

Working with Māori in Screen Production

Scripted strategy

Head High

Head High, South Pacific Pictures for Three

We aim to invest around half our contestable funds each year in Scripted content.

This funding stream includes audio/visual drama, comedy, animation and other entertaining content requiring a planned creative approach.

Projects range from relatively large budget television series and tele-features to smaller-scale quality webseries.

Our approach to investing in Scripted content is set out in the Scripted Roadmap.

We also have a Development Roadmap, because good drama takes time and patience to get right so a development process is necessary.

We consulted the industry before we decided on these approaches. The below is a summary of a summit held in September 2017. 130 drama production professionals came together to discuss a wide range of issues in drama.

Colonial Combat

Colonial Combat, Awa Films for TVNZ OnDemand

Drama and Comedy

We fund high-quality local drama for adults and children, innovative webseries, quirky animation, and many types of comedy.

Scripted content for Children and Youth

tamariki and rangatahi are key audiences for NZ On Air under the Broadcasting Act.

We fund content from drama and animation to webseries and games for young people of all ages.

We launched a new Children's content strategy in 2022, and we're developing a new Youth content strategy in 2023.

You can read more about the Children's content strategy here.

And you can discover the huge range of funded Children's content here.

Māori Scripted content

We make special provision for Māori content, as described in our Rautaki Māori.

Māori content plays a crucial part in our vision of connecting and reflecting Aotearoa.

Content development

Development pūtea tautoko helps content makers structure a concept; for example to develop treatments and scripts.

It is primarily for drama and animation projects, because these are high cost, high risk genres where more certainty is required before production funding can be considered.

Non-Fiction strategy

Who Cares Stare

Who Cares Stare, Attitude Pictures for HEIHEI

We aim to invest around half our contestable funds each year in Non-Fiction* content.

This funding stream invests in audio/visual documentary and Non-Fiction projects for diverse audiences.

Projects may involve different New Zealand regions and cultures, investigate significant local topics, cover events or issues important to our culture and identity, or reveal an aspect of te ao Māori.

Our Non-Fiction investments are guided by the Factual Roadmap.

*Previously called Factual.

We consulted the industry in devising the Factual Roadmap. The summary of a summit held in March 2019 is below.

Patrick Gower On Weed

Patrick Gower: On Weed, Ruckus Media for Three

Documentary and Information

New Zealanders have a strong appetite for local documentary and information content.

We fund quality, appealing documentaries and series, for different tastes and platforms, that use a mix of styles and story-telling techniques.

Specialist Current Affairs

Specialist current affairs is an area commercial platforms increasingly find difficult to support in a highly competitive market.

We only fund audio visual content, not text-based journalism, because we are the Broadcasting Commission and our mission under the Broadcasting Act is broadcast content. (Under the Act 'broadcast' includes content online.)

(Note that the time-limited Public Interest Journalism Fund did fund text-based journalism as it had a broader remit, but that fund ceased as at 30 June 2023.)

Non-Fiction content for Kids and Youth

Children and young people are priority audiences for NZ On Air. Public media funding ensures there is a range of content available for young New Zealanders that reflects and connects them.

Read more about the kinds of content we fund for young New Zealanders.

  • Non-Fiction was formerly called Factual content

Māori Non-Fiction content

We make special provision for Māori content, as described in our Rautaki Māori.

Māori content plays a crucial part in our vision of connecting and reflecting our nation.

Spoken content (audio)

We provide funding support for priority genres to add diversity to the airwaves.

Our priority is spoken programmes on nationwide platforms to reach the largest number of listeners.

Music strategy


Songhubs 2020

Our puoro mission is to get more New Zealand music on radio, online, on any platform where the audience is.

The Music funding stream delivers music to radio and streaming services, and provides break-through opportunities to selected artists.

We actively promote New Zealand music to increase its discovery in a crowded market.

Platforms and services

Able captioner

Able, providing captions on screen content

We support a number of specially chosen platforms and services to create and deliver public media content of particular cultural and social value.

These include access and specialist radio stations, disability access services and online content discovery hubs.

This is a closed fund – we do not accept unsolicited applications.