Before you apply

Before you apply here's some essential information that will help you understand how we invest in Scripted and Non-Fiction content.

Our core functions are set out in the 1989 Broadcasting Act. In simple terms, we invest in quality, diverse and discoverable public media kaupapa.

Our strategy for investing is set out in the NZ On Air Investment Strategy and in our About- Our funding strategy section.

How to apply

To apply for funding you must first register as an applicant with our online applications system.

Once you're registered you can manage your tono through your personal dashboard, nominate supporting platforms, and update your business information.

Any applications not submitted online will not be considered. Please note: all material submitted to NZ On Air is covered by the Official Information Act.

Funding deadlines

These are the application deadline dates for Scripted, Non-Fiction and Platform applications. Please be familiar with the General Application Guidelines.

  • Applications for Māori Content, Content Development and Industry Development can be received at any round unless we specify otherwise.
  • Round Information will be issued at least one month before the deadline and will be available on our website and online application system. We’ll also advise by a shorts newsletter.
  • You must read the current Round Information before applying as we may change any of the rounds described below, depending on funding trends.
  • We may also issue specific project RFPs during the year: deadlines for these will be specified in the RFP.
  • If in any doubt, please contact a Funding Advisor.

Round Toru

Priority and General Audiences

Applications open: 18 January 2024

Deadline: 4:00 pm, 8 February 2024

Applicants informed: 12 April 2024

Round Tahi

Priority and General Audiences

Applications open: 4 April 2024

Deadline: 4:00 pm, 24 April 2024

Applicants informed: 5 July 2024

Round Rua

Targeted and General Audiences round

Applications open: 22 August 2024

Deadline: 4:00 pm, 12 September 2024

Applicants informed: 22 November 2024

Round Toru

Priority and General Audiences

Applications open: 17 January 2025

Deadline: 4:00 pm, 7 February 2025

Applicants informed: 9 April 2025

Current rounds

Please note: NZ On Air is working closely with the screen production industry to understand the impacts of Covid-19. It is vital that any application you make can be delivered safely, under the relevant alert level restrictions. Please ensure you read our Responding To Covid-19 page before you submit a funding application.

Read the full Information for funding applicants Round Toru 2024.

Funding round Priorities

We welcome projects intended for both priority and general audiences. Non-Fiction and Scripted applications will be considered (including children’s content, podcasts, games, as well as part financing of feature films) as will applications for supported Non-Fiction and Scripted content development. We will give priority to projects that have a practical distribution plan to ensure that the intended audience is reached.

Timeline

Thursday 18 January 2024 Funding round opens. All applications must be made through NZ On Air’s online application system. Applications not submitted through this system will not be accepted.

Thursday 8 February 2024, 4pm Application deadline. Round closes. Late applications will not be considered. In very exceptional circumstances, for time-sensitive projects agreed prior by the Head of Funding, we may consider an out-of-time application.

Friday 12 April 2024 Decisions confirmed, applicants notified. This date may be extended at NZ On Air’s sole discretion.

Application Limits

To address the rising demand for our funding, and the consequent increase in declined applications (with an average decline rate of approximately 70% year-on-year), we are maintaining application limits per round for both producers/production companies and platforms.

Producers/production companies are limited to a maximum of four applications, with a maximum of two applications per category (Scripted, Non-Fiction, Content Development, Industry Capability, Discoverability). Platforms, on the other hand, can submit up to 10 applications per round, without any restrictions per category within that total. It's important to note that the platform application cap does not apply to children's applications and returning series.

If you have a strong case for exceeding these limits, please contact the Head of Funding (amie@nzonair.govt.nz) for approval before submitting your applications.

Helping you to apply

NZ On Air hosted a Q and A webinar for applicants on 12 December 2023. This was an opportunity to talk applicants through the Round Toru Guidelines and answer any questions.

A recording of the webinar is here, for those who were unable to attend.

NZ On Air also hosted a further Q and A webinar for applicants on 1 February 2024. This was an opportunity to discuss the priorities for this round and answer any questions.

A recording of that webinar is here, for those unable to attend.

RFPs

From time to time we issue a request for proposals separate to a funding round.

For information on the funding details of our recently closed RFPs please check the media release page here.

In line with our new Youth funding strategy we are seeking two-page pitches for digital first, social media native Scripted (fiction) and Non-Fiction (factual) video content for 15 - 24-year-olds.

Projects shortlisted through the two-page pitch process will be invited to submit full proposals to apply for production financing in Round Toru (Jan/April 2024).

Please read the Funding Round Information for Applicants: Youth RFP 2023-24 Two Page Pitch

Timeline

5 October, 2023 Two-page pitch round opens

All applications must be made through NZ On Air’s online application system. Applications not submitted through this system will not be accepted. You must submit a request to register with our online system well in advance of the application deadline day.

1pm 12 October, 2023 Webinar for intending applicants

See details and register below

4pm, 26 October, 2023 Two-page pitch application deadline

30 November, 2023 Shortlisted Applicants Notified

This date may be extended at NZ On Air’s sole discretion.

4th of December - 22nd of December

NZ On Air to hold feedback sessions with shortlisted applicants, and where necessary partner with EPs/senior producers to support the development of their full proposals.

18th of January, 2024 NZ On Air Round Toru Opens

4pm, 8th of February, 2024 Submission deadline for Round Toru

12th of April, 2024 Decisions for Round Toru

Applicants notified following day. This date may be extended at NZ On Air’s sole discretion.

Helping you to apply

Amie Mills, NZ On Air Head of Funding and producer Thomas Coppell hosted a Q and A webinar for applicants on Thursday 12 October. This was an opportunity to talk applicants through the RFP and answer any questions related to preparing a pitch.

A recording of the webinar is here, for those who were unable to attend. You can also read FAQs below.

The $1.9m Aotearoa NZ/Pacific Regional Media Fund is a creative collaboration for the discovery and support of stories and storytelling that crosses national boundaries and strengthens ties with our closest Pacific neighbours.

The content created by successful applicants will be broadcast on Pasifika TV as well as Pacific broadcasters in the region. Additional distribution channels are welcome where these can be agreed for the selected projects. The 10 producers/teams selected will be invited to apply for funding to Round Tahi in 2024.

For more details, please read Expressions of Interest: Aotearoa NZ/Pacific Regional Media Fund.

Timeline

15 November 2023 - Expressions of Interest open for the Aotearoa New Zealand Pacific Regional Media Fund

(All applications must be made through NZ On Air’s online application portal. Applications not submitted through this system will not be accepted. You must submit a request to register with our online system well in advance of the application deadline day).

29 November 2023 - Deadline for Expressions of Interest

19 December 2023 – All submitters notified if successful and able to progress to next stage.

(This date may be extended at NZ On Air’s sole discretion)

5 February 2024 – Zoom/Teams fono with Pacific based producers/broadcasters

11 – 18 February 2024 – Online webinars held

29 February & 1 March – In-person workshop in Tāmaki Makaurau

3 April 2024 – Round Tahi opens

24 April 2024 – Round Tahi deadline for applications

Helping you to apply

If you have any questions or need more details on the Aotearoa NZ/Pacific Regional Media Fund, you are welcome to contact Nicole Rex at nicole@nzonair.govt.nz.

You can also read more on the fund in this media release.

Te Māngai Pāho and Irirangi Te Motu | NZ On Air have joined forces to support the Māori media sector and work collectively to improve the outcomes of the Maihi Karauna, the Crown’s strategy for Māori language revitalisation.

We are now calling for proposals for a Reo Māori Content Co-Fund and invite applicants creating high-end, te reo Māori Scripted content to apply for funding.

Applications for the Reo Māori Content Co-Fund will be managed and processed by Te Māngai Pāho. You can find the RFP with general eligibility guidelines below.

Up to $8m has been allocated for the co-fund to support and promote high-quality Scripted Māori content with a strong Māori world view and 30% or more te reo. We are also looking to fund Scripted Development, to ensure there are strong projects coming through in future funding rounds. Premium Non-Fiction projects are also eligible for this round but will need to provide a strong case for funding.

  • Scripted applications need to contain 30% or more te reo Māori, have an eligible, established local platform attached and include evidence that the project is ready for production.
  • Non-Fiction applications need to contain 30% or more te reo Māori, require significant research and tell a compelling story.
  • Scripted Content Development applications do not need to have a complete plot script or season outline but applicants must demonstrate a good understanding of how additional development mahi will get their project ready for production in the future.

Applications for interactive content; radio and audio, including podcasts; platforms, games and apps will not be considered for funding in this round.

To apply, you must first register in Te Pūahatanga, the online application system operated by Te Māngai Pāho.

Timeline
Applications open – Monday 11 December 2023
Applications close – Thursday 15 February 2024
Decisions announced – Friday 19 April 2024

If you are interested in submitting an application or have any questions about eligibility, you can reach out to Juneea Silbery at juneea@tmp.govt.nz or the NZ On Air Funding Team at funding@nzonair.govt.nz.

Helping you to apply

Te Māngai Pāho and NZ On Air Head hosted a Q and A webinar for potential applicants on Wednesday 13 December 2023. This was an opportunity to talk through the RFP and answer any questions.

A recording of the webinar is here.

Youth content

NZ On Air is piloting a new approach to funding content for young people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Based on extensive research and a profound understanding of the rapidly changing media landscape that individuals aged 15 to 24 are engaged with, the strategy is titled Within My Reach. We recognise the need to provide a more adaptable and accessible approach to funding youth content – making it within reach of younger creators, and of greater resonance to younger audiences.

Two-page pitch applications are now invited for bold, innovative local projects that will reach and resonate with 15 - 24-year-old audiences on the platforms they find their content.

We are looking for digital-first, social media-native Scripted (fiction) and Non-Fiction (factual) video content for this audience.

Please read the Funding Round Information for Applicants: Youth RFP 2023-24 Two Page Pitch

Projects shortlisted through the two-page pitch process will be invited to submit full proposals to apply for production financing in Round Toru (Jan/April 2024).

Timeline

5 October, 2023 Two-page pitch round opens

All applications must be made through NZ On Air’s online application system. Applications not submitted through this system will not be accepted. You must submit a request to register with our online system well in advance of the application deadline day.

1pm 12 October, 2023 Webinar for intending applicants

See details and register below

4pm, 26 October, 2023 Two-page pitch application deadline

30 November, 2023 Shortlisted Applicants Notified

This date may be extended at NZ On Air’s sole discretion.

4th of December - 22nd of December

NZ On Air to hold feedback sessions with shortlisted applicants, and where necessary partner with EPs/senior producers to support the development of their full proposals.

18th of January, 2024 NZ On Air Round Toru Opens

4pm, 8th of February, 2024 Submission deadline for Round Toru

12th of April, 2024 Decisions for Round Toru

Applicants notified following day. This date may be extended at NZ On Air’s sole discretion.

Helping you to apply

Amie Mills, NZ On Air Head of Funding and producer Thomas Coppell hosted a Q and A webinar for applicants on Thursday 12 October. This was an opportunity to talk applicants through the RFP and answer any questions related to preparing a pitch.

A recording of the webinar is here, for those who were unable to attend.

Our Youth Funding strategy centres on fostering mentorships, expanding career pathways, evolving funding processes, piloting a social media-first approach, and creating impactful storytelling. Please read the strategy below, and the infographic summarising important considerations in creating content for youth, and reaching them.

Youth Funding Round Infographic_FINAL

The above infographic captures key points about 15-24 year olds' media consumption in 2023, from Where Are The Audiences

Children's content

In April 2023 NZ On Air updated our Children’s Content Strategy – with some key changes to how we plan to reach and strengthen onscreen representation of tamariki and rangatahi aged 0 – 14 years in Aotearoa.

This strategy is led by audience research and is actively seeking ways to be present in more places where children spend time consuming media. This includes local platforms like HEIHEI Games and TVNZ On demand as well as YouTube Kids and other digital-first platforms.

It is important New Zealanders know what their taxpayer dollars have funded. Consistent accreditation also helps reinforce the cultural value of this funding to Aotearoa.

There are specific requirements for the accreditation of funded children's content when it is broadcast or uploaded/published, and in publicity and promotional material. These accreditation requirements form part of the contract for pūtea tautoko.

Should you have further queries relating to these requirements or the NZ On Air tamariki logo assets, please contact: communications@nzonair.govt.nz

Our new content strategy for children's content (and soon for youth content) recognises the fundamental shift in the way these audiences find and consume content. They are online-centric and they're spoilt for choice. We're now encouraging content that is on multiple platforms at once - available where the viewers are. But this requires really good marketing and promotion.

We held a workshop in August 2023 with our partners at Contagion and Totally Awesome which focuses on what NZ On Air is doing to help increase discoverability, and provide great information to producers about creating promotional content themselves that will help drive audience discovery.

The workshop was livestreamed and recorded and the link is below. The presentation slide deck is also below.

****Please note the livestream audio drops out at about 14 minutes in and comes back at 16.40 - so hang in there- its worth coming back!

In the missing audio we emphasised the importance of thinking ahead and building a collection of owned media (your content, downloadables, behind the scenes footage, audio etc) to help feed the audiences' desire to engage with the content. You need to be doing this while you are making your funded content. While NZ On Air is funding some discoverability campaigns via Contagion, we can't afford to do this for all content. However if you've created the assets we can still help you to spread the word - our Comms team will work with you to promote your content on social media, via e-newsletters and media reviews.

If you have questions please contact Sarah Donaldson, Audience and Media Strategist at NZ On Air. sarahd@nzonair.govt.nz

Or our comms team communications@nzonair.govt.nz

Video of the workshop can be watched here.

On March 26 2018, NZ On Air and TVNZ launched HEIHEI as a free website, iOS app and Android app. The website featured newly-funded local content and a range of hand-picked international titles for primary-aged children.

On May 12 2020, it was announced that the underlying software platform supporting HEIHEI would no longer be available, and so HEIHEI video content was moved to its new home on TVNZ + and HEIHEI Games moved to a new digital platform.

More information about the history of HEIHEI, children's research, and HEIHEI brand assets for children's content funded prior to September 2022 is available here.

Resources to apply

Overview

In an environment where there are more applications than available funding, we want to show you how to submit an tono and how it will be assessed. More specific information is published prior to each round about the applications we are seeking. NZ On Air’s funding strategy is founded on core public media principles. These include enriching the New Zealand cultural experience, improving diversity of media content in many forms, ensuring kaupapa is accessible, strengthening community life, and promoting informed debate.

The resource below walks you through:

  • Applying online
  • General expectations of production applications
  • Qualifying platforms
  • Business case expectations such as co-investment
  • The different levels of application requirements depending on the level of funding requested
  • Applying for development funding
  • How we assess proposals
  • The fine print.

Scripted roadmap

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 pouaka whakaata series and tele-features to smaller-scale quality webseries.

Scripted Roadmap 2018

Non-Fiction roadmap

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.

NZ On Air's Factual Roadmap FINAL.pdf

Development roadmap

Development pūtea tautoko is for researching or writing scripts or treatments.

We mostly contribute to drama; and occasionally to documentary development.

To extend the range of scripted drama and comedy development projects we now offer a pathway for a limited number of eligible projects to access first-stage development funding without the support of a platform.

Development roadmap 2022 PDF 258.3 KB

Podcast Policy

This guidance sets out NZ On Air’s approach to funding the production of podcasts.

With increasing interest in this content format, this policy is intended to help podcast producers determine whether to apply for production funding.

NZ On Air's Podcast Funding Policy.pdf

Rautaki Māori

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

Our Rautaki Māori ensures we:

  • support the production of quality Māori content made for a general audience
  • have good relationships with Māori content creators and
  • uphold the mana tangata and mana iwi of funded content.

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.

Rautaki Māori 2018

Overview

Your content proposal is your pitch where you describe and define the content you want to make, how and who will make it, and how you plan to reach your intended audience.

You do not need to follow this structure directly but you should address the aspects relevant to your tono.

As a general rule, the higher the level of funding requested the more developed and detailed we will require your application to be.

That said, less is often best. Be clear and succinct - there are no prizes for applications with the most pages.

Make sure you refer to the round information that we will issue for each funding round.

The pārongo below walks you through what you will need to consider such as:

  • The quality of the idea
  • The platform your content will be on
  • How the content will be promoted
  • Budget
  • Measuring success
  • How the proposal meets NZ On Air's goals.

Overview

This document clarifies NZ On Air’s expectations around acceptable pūtea/line-items for funded projects. It should be read in conjunction with the advice given on our resources for producers page, particularly the contract initiation form and the producers and cost reporting documents.

This document will be reviewed and updated regularly, so please do refer to it when preparing your tono budgets.

NZ On Air tries to limit the number of rules we have around acceptable budget/line-items, as we accept that every project has its own unique situation. However there are some line items we will not accept within any funded budget. There are also some specific expectations around how certain line items should be treated.

NZ On Air’s role is to provide a production subsidy for content creation, not provide a means for commissioning platforms to defray content acquisition expenses.

Overview

As there will be more applications than available funding, aromatawai stages are tiered so that ultimately the most work and resources are spent on the applications with the most likelihood of success.

We will assess proposals using the nine investment principles set out on page 15 of the NZ On Air Investment Strategy.

These investment principles allow us to assess the business case for each application alongside the application’s cultural case and how it contributes to NZ On Air’s three funding goals:

  • Quality content: New Zealand audiences enjoy well-made local content that matters.
  • Diverse content: New Zealand audiences value local content made for a range of communities.
  • Discoverable content: New Zealand audiences can find and appreciate local content.

The pārongo below walks you through each step of the process. It covers:

  • Preliminary step - confirm eligibility
  • Stage 1 Assessment- groups of individual assessors assess applications while considering the nine investment principles
  • Stage 2 Assessment - funding recommendations are prepared
  • Stage 3 - Decisions by the Staff Investment Committee or the Board.

Overview

This funding assessment exemplar sets out the paearu we use to assess individual applications.

Download the exemplar to see the criteria we will use to assess your application.

Info for commissioning platforms

Overview

All applications must be able to confirm the platform where the content will appear.

This maximises the likelihood of funded content being completed and found by an audience.

NZ On Air’s funding strategy is founded on core public media principles.

These include enriching the New Zealand cultural experience, improving diversity of media content in many forms, ensuring kaupapa is accessible, strengthening community life, and promoting informed debate.

For more detail on the strategy which underpins the NZ Media Fund please read the Funding Strategy.

We also issue specific paearu for each round and guidelines to assist funding applicants.

The resource below walks you through what you will need to consider such as:

  • Your financial contribution to the budget
  • Free availability of the content
  • Confirming support for a project
  • Providing audience data
  • Fine print

Funding decisions

We notify the producer and platform and/or ngā kaipāho of funding decisions within 48 hours of the Board meeting.

A full list of decisions is included in our newsletter. We may also issue a media release.

Funding is confidential until we have announced it.

All funding decisions are also available through our funding decisions search.

Resources for funded projects

If your application is successful there are a number of steps you will need to take to receive your pūtea tautoko.

Check out the resources for producers page below to find all the information you'll need for the next step in the post-funding process.