Public Interest Journalism Fund


The Public Interest Journalism Fund is a ring-fenced stream within the NZ Media Fund designed to provide targeted, short to medium-term support for public interest journalism.

The three pillars of the Public Interest Journalism Fund are:

  • Project funding – for tightly defined projects delivered to a deadline, similar to those funded via the NZ Media Fund Factual stream
  • Role-based funding – supporting newsrooms for the employment of reporters, clearly tied to content outcomes
  • Industry development funding – including cross-industry cadetships, and targeted upskilling initiatives

NZ On Air’s Public Interest Journalism Overview sets out decisions made to date on the design of the funding programme.

The Stakeholder Consultation Report: Public Interest Journalism Fund is a summary of the stakeholder interviews and recommendations produced by consultant Hal Crawford.

NZ On Air has been designated to manage the PIJF and has invited Te Māngai Pāho to collaborate in the development and delivery of the fund. This Memorandum Of Understanding sets out how the two agencies will work together in connection with the PIJF.

Want to be kept informed?

If you’d like to be kept informed about the Public Interest Journalism Fund you sign up to receive updates here.

You can read more about the background to this funding initiative on the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website.

The fund will be open to all NZ media entities: from large organisations through to small, local entities, and Māori, Pacific and ethnic media. Organisations must show their projects fill a public interest service and would otherwise be at risk or not produced without this fund’s support. This may include (and is not limited to) investigative journalism, data journalism and photo journalism.

The Public Interest Journalism initiative will provide transitional support to media organisations as the sector evolves in a way that ensures the longer-term sustainability of New Zealand’s media.

The $55m fund is split across three years: $10m* for the remainder of 2020/21, $25m* in 2021/22 and $20m* in 2022/23. (*minus administrative costs)

This initiative is designed to build a critical bridge between the short term Covid relief provided to the media sector and the longer-term initiatives we have underway. The funding will support the vital public interest journalism function within the sector while the sector adapts and evolves.

By phasing the funding over three years, we strike a balance of providing support without creating dependency and ultimately deliver the most long-term sustainable solution for the sector

NZ On Air has 30-plus years experience in funding applications assessment and distribution of funds to a broad array of NZ media and content makers. We have the systems, processes and people to swiftly implement a robust, accountable system for allocating funding for journalism.

NZ On Air already funds a number of journalism initiatives from within the Factual funding stream. These include the Stuff Circuit and Newsroom Investigates investigative reporting strands, the daily news podcast The Detail, the kids news strand Kea Kids News, and a number of specialist current affairs, news generating programmes such as Q & A, The Nation and The Hui. NZ On Air also partners with RNZ and the NPA on the Local Democracy Reporting scheme, and funds some regional journalism.

But we are also adding specialised expertise to the team for this funding initiative.

Consultation with the sector (underway) is being run for us by Hal Crawford, a media executive with 25 years' experience in digital and broadcast, having worked as Chief News Officer at Mediaworks in Auckland and Editor-in-Chief at ninemsn in Sydney. Hal’s consultancy on this journalism initiative comes off the back of a recent comprehensive review he undertook to assess the impact of the NZ Media Fund since its launch in 2017.

We have employed a Head of Journalism, Raewyn Rasch, and will employ a Manager - Journalism and a Funding Advisor – Journalism. These roles will be filled shortly.

2022 Deadlines


Apps open: Thursday 31st March

Deadline: 4pm Thursday 28th April

≤ 1m decisions: Applicants informed Wednesday 15th June

> 1m decisions: All decisions made public Monday 11th July.


Apps open: Thursday 23rd June

Deadline: 4pm Thursday 21st July

≤ 1m decisions: Applicants informed Wednesday 7th September

> 1m decisions: All decisions made public Monday 26th September


Apps open: Thursday 1st September

Deadline: 4pm Thursday 29th September

≤ 1m decisions: Applicants informed Wednesday 9th November

> 1m decisions: All decisions made public Monday 5th December

Resources to apply

The following guidance documents are intended to help applicants understand how the fund will work, what they can apply for, and whether they may be eligible.

  • The General Guidelines is the foundation document which you should read to understand the fund’s objectives, eligibility and assessment criteria.
  • The Round guidelines set out what we are accepting applications for in the first round. New guidelines are issued for each round.
  • The Funding flowchart is a step-by-step guide to the funding application and assessment process from start to finish, and will be especially useful for first-time applicants.
  • The Q and A attempts to anticipate common questions and provide answers. Please look here first, before making contact.
  • The Funding Deadlines document has the opening and closing round details until the end of the year.

NZ On Air hosted a Public Interest Journalism summit in Auckland and via Zoom, to provide feedback to the sector on what we'd seen in the first round of applications, provide some pointers on what we would like to see in future rounds, and to answer questions.

The afternoon session of the summit was dedicated to addressing Māori and iwi journalism needs.

Below is a summary of the discussion points, along with a number of both presentations and reports referenced during the day.

We have also published today the list of external assessors used in this first round. Our practice is to draw from a roster of external assessors who bring specialist expertise to our application assessment process. (We do this in all areas of funding.) You will find this information under PIJF Assessment and Decision-making process.

On Wednesday 5 May NZ On Air held a webinar to answer questions about the recently released Public Interest Journalism guidelines.

This webinar was aimed at first-time applicants to NZ On Air and designed to make the process as easy and understandable as possible.

Q+A on the Public Interest Journalism Fund Advisory Panel

Irirangi Te Motu NZ On Air has established the Te Puna Whakatongarewa Public Interest Journalism Advisory Panel as a stakeholder reference group of industry representatives to contribute to the successful implementation of the Public Interest Journalism Fund (PIJF). The 14 members will meet at regular intervals throughout the remainder of the PIJF to provide industry feedback and support for PIJF development.

What is the purpose of the Advisory Panel?

The primary purpose of the Advisory Panel is to ensure industry and stakeholders are feeding back into the operation and ongoing design of the PIJF. A secondary purpose is to ensure members are fully apprised of PIJF operations and processes.

Who sits on the Advisory Panel and why?

The panel comprises 13 industry and stakeholder members, the independent chair, and three representatives of NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho. It is a large group, and sub-committees may be formed to consider specific questions. The invited members represent the major news publishing groups (including commercial and public broadcasters) along with magazine, community newspaper, mid-level digital-only, Māori journalism and journalism education representatives. The aim of such a broad group is to encompass as far as possible the range of interests within the sector. Because perfectly proportional representation is not possible, panel members are expected to not only operate as representatives, but also to bring informed consideration to all questions as individuals.

What will the Advisory Panel do?

The panel will meet at least four times a year to consider its advice to NZ On Air regarding the operation of the PIJF. Members will have received the agenda, operational reports and other information prior to the meetings: major changes or additions to agenda should be suggested to the Chair ahead of time. There will also be time allocated during meetings for impromptu suggestions and feedback.

What is the status of the panel’s advice to NZ On Air?

NZ On Air is not bound by the advice or recommendations of the panel. It will take the panel’s input into consideration.

What if the panel is divided or cannot come to a majority decision?

Consensus is not required or even expected of the panel. The function of the panel is to provide an ongoing industry perspective on the operation of the PIJF, just as consultation with the industry formed the basis for the creation of the fund. Because the needs of publishers, broadcasters and other stakeholders are so varied, and many of the perspectives are contradictory, there is no possibility the fund will perfectly satisfy any single group.

Will the panel be considering funding allocation?

The panel has no role in application assessment. It is acknowledged that funding is the main business of the PIJF, and therefore has to be a central concern of the panel. However, it is not the intention or purpose of the panel to discuss individual application decisions.

How does the panel reflect NZ On Air’s Te Tiriti commitment?

Care has been taken to ensure tangata whenua are well represented on the panel, and they will have the opportunity to ensure the views of Māori media are well expressed.

The panelists are:

Hal Crawford - Independent Co-Chair

Erana Keelan Reedy - Independent Co-Chair

Barry Stewart - Allied Press Group

David MacKenzie - New Zealand Community Newspapers Association

James Frankham - Magazine Publishers Association NZ

James Hollings - Journalism Education Association of New Zealand (JEANZ)

John Utanga - Moana Media sector representative

Maramena Roderick/Wena Harawira - Whakaata Māori (Māori)Television

Mark Jennings - Mid-scale digital only media representative

Mark Stevens - Stuff

Nevak Rogers - Te Reo Tātaki (TVNZ)

Sarah Bristow - Discovery (Newshub)

Shannon Haunui-Thompson - RNZ

Shayne Currie - NZME

Tamaiti Tiananga - Kawea te Rongo (Māori Journalism Association)

Raewyn Rasch - Irirangi Te Motu (NZ On Air)

Amie Mills - Irirangi Te Motu (NZ On Air)

Blake Ihimaera - Te Māngai Pāho

PIJF Assessment and decision-making process

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

We will assess proposals using the eligibility criteria (Page 4) and assessment criteria (Page 6) set out in the PIJF General Guidelines. PIJF criteria were developed in partnership with Te Māngai Pāho and shared with the sector for feedback prior to publishing. All considerations under the PIJF are iterative and allowance will be made for amendment prior to each funding round.

The assessment flowchart is here and further outlined on Section 10, Page 9 of the General Guidelines.

All assessment panels will consist of industry representatives (including those from within or adjacent to the Māori Journalism sector) alongside Crown/Māori (Te Māngai Pāho) and NZ On Air representation. The panel will:

  • make recommendations for funding by coming to a consensus at the meeting
  • take into account additional information provided by NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho staff.

Depending on the size of the funding round, not all applications will be discussed by the panel due to time constraints, with the conversation generally focussed on applications with the most likelihood of success. We ask external assessors to provide us with constructive commentary that substantiates their recommendations.

Round 1

The following assessors were used during Round 1. At least two external assessors reviewed every application submitted alongside NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho staff, although not all external assessors looked at every application. (Assessors are assigned to applications based on their specialist expertise and after considering any potential conflict of interest.)

  1. Verica Rupar - AUT Professor of Journalism. Former journalist, political correspondent, political editor, commentator, foreign correspondent and deputy editor-in-chief of Politika, one of the oldest daily newspapers in Central Europe.
  2. Jason Ake (Ngāti Ranginui, Pirirākau, Ngāti Māhanga) - General Manager Communications and Engagement at Waikato Tainui. Former journalist, producer and press secretary.
  3. James Ihaka (Ngāti Porou) - Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Communications Manager. Former senior reporter for the New Zealand Herald.
  4. Jim Tucker – Writer and former journalist. Served as picture editor, editorial manager, deputy editor, associate editor and editor. He set up the Sunday Star (now the Sunday Star-Times). Former head of the NZ Journalists Training Organisation and lecturer in Journalism.
  5. Gavin Ellis - Lecturer, Media consultant and researcher. A former editor-in-chief of the New Zealand Herald and senior lecturer at the University of Auckland. He chaired the New Zealand Media Freedom Committee and was recipient of the Commonwealth Astor Award for Press Freedom..
  6. Raewyn Rasch (Ngāi Tahu) - NZ On Air Head of Journalism. Former General Manager Māori and Pacific programmes at TVNZ, executive producer of Seven Sharp, producer of Fair Go and Marae Investigates, TV and radio journalist.
  7. Blake Ihimaera (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tahu) - Te Māngai Pāho Head of Content. Former producer at Pango Productions and Marae TV.
  8. Anna Currie - NZ On Air Funding Advisor.

Round 2

The following assessors were used during Round 2.

  1. Jim Tucker – Writer and former journalist. Served as picture editor, editorial manager, deputy editor, associate editor and editor. He set up the Sunday Star (now the Sunday Star-Times). Former head of the Journalism Training Organisation and lecturer in Journalism
  2. Dr Gavin Ellis – Media consultant and researcher. Former editor-in-chief of the NZ Herald and senior lecturer at the University of Auckland.
  3. Rick Neville – Former newspaper editor, managing director (publishing) INL, chief operating officer APN News & Media, and former editorial director of the NZ Newspaper Publishers’ Association.
  4. Richard Pamatatau - Journalism academic at AUT University. He teaches public affairs reporting, journalism law and ethics and writing and is a former Pacific affairs and business reporter.
  5. Hinerangi Barr – a former Māori broadcast journalist Hinerangi has run her own communications consultancy and is Principal Comms advisor at Te Puni Kōkiri.
  6. Blake Ihimaera (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tahu) - Te Māngai Pāho Head of Content. Former producer at Pango Productions and Marae TV.
  7. Raewyn Rasch (Ngāi Tahu) - NZ On Air Head of Journalism. Former General Manager Māori and Pacific programmes at TVNZ, executive producer of Seven Sharp, producer of Fair Go and Marae Investigates, TV and radio journalist.

Round 3

The following assessors were used during Round 3

  1. Venetia Sherson - Partner, JAG Media Relations, former Editor of the Waikato Times.
  2. Peter-Lucas Jones – (Ngāti Kahu, Te Rārawa, Ngāi Takoto and Te Aupōuri (Te Mātāwai Appointment), Deputy Chair of Māori Television, CEO of Te Hiku Media, Chair of Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori (The National Iwi Radio Network).
  3. Blake Ihimaera (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tahu) - Te Māngai Pāho Head of Content. Former producer at Pango Productions and Marae TV.
  4. Raewyn Rasch (Ngāi Tahu) - NZ On Air Head of Journalism. Former General Manager Māori and Pacific programmes at TVNZ, executive producer of Seven Sharp, producer of Fair Go and Marae Investigates, TV and radio journalist.
  5. Glenn Usmar - NZ On Air Associate Head of Funding (Systems)
  6. Gabriel Thomas - NZ On Air Journalism Manager
  7. Fairooz Samy - NZ On Air Journalism Funding Advisor

Resources for funded applicants

Contract Initiation

If you have had Public Interest Journalism funding approved, please complete the relevant Funding Contract Initiation Form below and send it, along with attachments listed on the last page of the form, to

Contracting will begin once you have completed any pre-contracting requirements specified in your Letter of Offer and once NZ On Air has received all the requested information from you and your supporting platform/s. Contracting will take not more than 20 working days from receipt of all necessary information.

Funding agreement templates

These are the standard terms and conditions for Public Interest Journalism funding. NZ On Air does not generally engage in bespoke contract negotiation. Depending on the strand of Public Interest Journalism funding you are receiving, your completed contract will be based on one of the below templates.


We release funding in stages, or drawdowns, which are agreed during the contract negotiations. After the first payment, producers must meet agreed milestones and provide reports on progress to receive further drawdowns.

See below for further information on what to include in your reports to NZ On Air.

All invoices and reports should be sent to and must be received by 5pm Monday in order to be paid by the Thursday of the same working week.

Requirements for PIJF non-incremental role applications

This document expands on the submission requirements for a full proposal application for non-incremental roles under the Public Interest Journalism Fund (PIJF).

Accreditation and logos

It is important New Zealanders know what their taxpayer dollars have funded – especially in the fourth estate.

Consistent and correct accreditation helps reinforce the cultural value of Public Interest Journalism funding to Aotearoa. These guidelines form part of the contract for funding.