From a hotly contested application pool of 55 projects, NZ On Air has selected 24 vastly varied factual public media projects for screens, amounting to more than 7,600 minutes of content.

“These funded projects really demonstrate the wealth and diversity of ideas, and the very wide range of audiences who can enjoy this content on many different platforms. This is a substantial investment in public media,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

“In particular we are very supportive of ideas that extend investigative journalism, open a window into different lifestyles and communities, educate and prompt discussion. We think these projects will do just that,” she continued.

Among the new funded content:

Funny factual

Funny As: The Story Of New Zealand Comedy is a new factual series that chronicles what has made New Zealand laugh through the years. The comprehensive project includes prime time slot on TVNZ 1, extended interviews On Demand and archival footage on NZ On Screen.

Meanwhile Anika Moa has proven she is “funny as” and in doing so has won a prime time slot. Anika Moa Unleashed will screen on TVNZ1 next year, as well as On Demand.

Examining issues

Circuit Breaker, from the award-winning team behind The Valley, is an interactive documentary series based on five in-depth investigations. It will be distributed on Stuff and will also screen on Māori Television.

Journalist Patrick Gower will explore the opportunities for NZ if marijuana was legalised in Patrick Gower: The High Road. The two-part documentary on Three will look at the overseas experience, exploring the pros and cons of legalising marijuana for recreational as well as medicinal use.

The potential re-entry to the Pike River Mine and hoped-for recovery of the 29 men who lost their lives there will be the subject of a new documentary. Recovery 29 is to screen on Prime.

Talune: Ship Of Death tells the story of a New Zealand ship that arrived in Samoa in 1918 carrying an influence strain that wiped out over a quarter of the Samoan population. Made for a younger Pacific audience on The the documentary will enlighten a generation largely unaware of the significance of this event.

Informing and entertaining

Host Pio Terei will take Māori Television viewers Off the Grid in a new factual series traversing New Zealand to find people who chose to live self-sufficiently. This Rautaki series will showcase alternative lifestyles, which for many people are an extension of their Māoritanga.

The Check Up is a new medical information series on TVNZ 1 where three doctors will answer medical questions from the public to debunk myths and reveal truths about our health.


Holding Court reveals the inspirational story of NZ NBA star Steven Adams and the basketball camps he holds to mentor rangatahi throughout New Zealand.

Crash Test Mummies introduces viewers to the lives of teenagers at a high school teen pregnancy unit who juggle the demands of motherhood and education.

Returning series

Returning in 2019 will be the incomparable Country Calendar on TVNZ 1, while Making New Zealand returns to Prime to look at the Tourism, Broadcasting, Farming and Manufacturing industries. Viewers will be able to celebrate the best in NZ Music with the broadcast of the NZ Music Awards, and inspiring New Zealanders living lives beyond disability in the Attitude Awards.

The full list of funded content is below.

Funding decisions

New content

Funny As: The Story Of New Zealand Comedy, 5 x 44 mins, Augusto for TVNZ 1, up to $1,450,720

David Lomas Investigates, 10 x 44 mins, Warner Bros Intl TV Productions NZ for Three, up to $985,434

The Checkup, 10 x 22 mins, Great Southern Television for TVNZ 1, up to $625,522

Circuit Breaker, 5 x 45 mins, Fairfax New Zealand for and Māori Television, up to $491,250

Holding Court, 6 x 26 mins, Imagination Television for Māori Television, up to $374,790

Off The Grid, 8 x 26 mins, Scottie Douglas Productions for Māori Television, up to $320,000

Patrick Gower: The High Road, 2 x 44 mins, Ruckus Media for Three, up to $286,986

Crash Test Mummies,2 x 45 mins, Rogues Productions for TVNZ 1, up to $231,577

Recovery 29, 1 x 44 mins, Screentime New Zealand for Prime, up to $199,998

Vapnierka, 1 x 52 mins, Te Amokura Productions for Māori Television, up to $194,861

Ocean Predators (additional), 1 x 44 mins, Film New Zealand for Prime, up to $177,092

The Second Wave of P, 1 x 30 mins + 3 x 5 mins, NZME for, up to $161,564

He Whaipaanga Hou,1 x 52 mins, Storybox for The Spinoff, up to $100,000

Talune – Ship Of Death, 1 x 30 mins, Tikilounge Productions for The, up to $56,989

The Wahine Disaster 50 Years On, 1 x 40 mins, AC Productions for Choice, up to $36,683

Mercy Ships, 1 x 20 mins, TVNZ for TVNZ 1, up to $30,340

The Side Eye, 12 x animated comics, Beard & Braid for The Spinoff, up to $24,000

Returning content

Design Junkies 2, 6 x 44 mins, Warner Bros Intl TV Productions NZ for TVNZ 1, up to $799,352

Making New Zealand 3, 4 x 44 mins, Top Shelf Productions for Prime, up to $736,017

Anika Moa Unleashed 2, 20 x 12 mins, Rogue Productions for TVNZ 1, up to $584,685

Country Calendar 2019, 40 x 22 mins, TVNZ for TVNZ 1, up to $566,720

Zealandia 2, 4 x 20 mins, White Paper Industries T/A Drunken Piano for, up to $182,750

Vodafone NZ Music Awards, 1 x 120 mins, MediaWorks TV for Three, up to $180,000

Attitude Awards 2018, 1 x 60 mins & 24 x 1.10 mins, Attitude Pictures for TVNZ 1, up to $162,100