A note from the CEO

Santa at beach

What a year! You've all earned a break, as have we. As we wind down following the final funding round of the year I want to thank all of our content creators, supporting platforms, guilds and colleagues at other agencies for everything you've contributed this year.

In 2018 we have seen a splendid array of diverse content created for audiences on many different platforms. Have a look at this showreel we created to celebrate your work. Whether your work is represented here or not, thank you for adding to the richness of media available to New Zealanders that reflects who we are and our place, Aotearoa.

Thank you also to those stakeholders who participated in our recent stakeholder survey conducted by Colmar Brunton. We really appreciate hearing your views on how we are doing. Early next year we will be looking at what we can do better/differently and will also publish the report of the survey findings.

Our final Board meeting of the year saw us farewell Ian Taylor. He is particularly busy with international business commitments and has regretfully declined to seek reappointment. We have been very fortunate to have Ian on the Board and thank him for his astute input.

We have a lot on the go already for 2019. In March we will be gathering Factual content producers and relevant platforms together to discuss forming a Factual roadmap to guide our investments, just as we did with the Scripted roadmap this year.

And we will be turning 30! In 1989 this small but perfectly formed agency was created, so next year we will take stock of what's been achieved in three decades, while we continue looking ahead.

In this newsletter you'll find all our latest news and some great tips from staff on content to enjoy over the break.

Meri Kirihimete. Ngā manaakitanga ki a koutou katoa.

Merry Christmas. Many blessings to you all!


NZ Media Fund update

This round was for general Factual and Scripted applications, with priority areas being specialist Current Affairs and Spoken Word series for 2019, as well as the first contestable strand for the RNZ/NZ On Air Innovation Fund. More than 40 projects were supported in total.

For this round we had to limit development applications due to the high number of projects currently in development.

We allocated slightly more than intended for Factual content due to high quality of applications received. And with a number of RFPs open currently that also commit funds from the Factual stream, this leaves very little in the pot for the remaining rounds of this financial year. (The below graph does not include the funds earmarked for RFPs in Factual; there is less than $1m left.)

The full list of funded content from this round is at the end of this newsletter. It includes incredibly fresh and diverse Factual content, and some fun new comedy shows coming to Three and TVNZ On Demand, plus a sixth season for the internationally successful The Brokenwood Mysteries.

% expenditure to date

Current RFPs and the remaining rounds

In the March & May rounds:

  • We have published detailed information on our call for interactive children's games for HEIHEI as part of the March round. We have set aside $1m to support the creation of new gaming content for HEIHEI.
  • We are not seeking Factual or Scripted production applications in the March round.
  • We will not have the funds to support any more premier drama production until July 2019
  • We will focus on returning series for any further development applications - we already have a large number of projects in development
  • The May round will focus on the annual Platforms submissions: we will advise in the round information published early in 2019 if we are seeking any other applications.


We have six RFPs open at the moment. They are:

Upcoming RFP

A seventh RFP will be published early in 2019 looking for ideas for international drama series. We have just published advance details on our website and are alerting you now so you can get your thinking caps on; we will be seeking well-realised concepts only for a series drama.

  • Raupapa Whakaari Funding: Dramas to the world
    • Recently NZ On Air and NZ Film Commission announced at SPADA a joint venture to co-fund the development of high-end adult drama series that will appeal to the international market as well as New Zealand audiences.
    • Applications will be opening on 18 February 2019 and closing at 9am on 18 March 2019. The Request for Proposals for the RWF will be published early 2019.

Music update

New Music focus round - Pasifika

This week we launch a one-off New Music Single funding round for Pasifika artists. This was made possible with the one-off allocation of additional government funding for NZ On Air in Budget 2018. In this round we are looking to support the recording, visual content and promotion of quality singles from Pasifika artists with the potential to connect with Pacific audiences and cross to wider mainstream audiences on radio and online music services.

The deadline for this focus round is Thursday 31 January 2019. Find out more about applying for this funding here.

Mitch James

Mitch James

Summer tunes

This summer we’re releasing some great NZ music playlists curated by some of NZ’s most popular artists of the year - starting with Mitch James who had a mammoth year which saw the release of his wildly popular debut album on Sony Music. He’s hand-picked 36 great tunes that match the summer vibe and you can enjoy them here.

To keep up with our summer music and playlist activity you can follow NZ On Air music on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify - @nzonairmusic

Access radio review

We carry out regular reviews of services we fund to ensure they still meet audience needs and are being appropriately funded. This year we commissioned Dr Matt Mollgaard from AUT to review the 12 funded Community Access radio stations.

The review report was accepted by the Board last week and is now available on our website. We will be working next year with the access stations to help them adopt ideas for improvement identified in the report.

NZ On Air's 12 Days Of Christmas

12 days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas the NZ On Air team gave to me...an awesome list of hand-picked local content to enjoy over the break!

Everyone at NZ On Air is passionate about what we fund, so we decided to pull together a few of our favourite pieces of content from 2018 to reflect on what a great year it's been.

So whether you need to occupy the kids on a rainy day (please - NO MORE!), or to chill as you escape the sun for a while - there's something in our 12 Days Of Christmas collection for everyone.

Check our recommendations on our Watch + Listen page now.

Payment dates

This is important if you need to be paid!

Our office is closed from 5pm Fri 21 Dec to 8am Mon 7 January 2019 while we all have a breather and find some sun.

  • Our last payments for 2018 will be made on 20 December. All paperwork must be received by 5pm 17 December. Our first payments for 2019 are on 17 January.

Meet the team


Hayley Dingwall - Funding Advisor

Our newest staff member is the latest addition to the Meet the team section. Meet Hayley Dingwall, one of our Funding Advisors. Hayley's specialty area is Music funding. Find out more about Hayley here.

Funding decisions


Golden Boy, 8 x 22 mins, MediaWorks TV for Three, up to $841,532. Small-town girl Mitch moves back home to run the family dairy in the shadow of her All-Black brother, Tama.

I DATE Rejects, 10 x 12 mins, Whitiora Productions for TVNZ OnDemand, up to $416,500. After being rejected from an exclusive dating agency, Pania and her friends form their own dating site.

Mean Mums, 8 x 24 mins, South Pacific Pictures for Three, up to $840,000. Single mum Jess navigates a competitive, passive-aggressive group of mothers at an upper-class primary school.

New Zealand Today, 8 x 22 mins, MediaWorks TV for Three, up to $524,195. Comedian Guy Williams travels across New Zealand presenting faux news shows for and about the locals.

That’s The Story 2019, 52 x 60 mins, Loudmouth Productions for HEIHEI, up to $70,200. A collection of original New Zealand children stories for 5 – 12 year olds.

The Basement, 10 x 10 mins, Great Southern Television for TVNZ OnDemand, up to $407,050. Sam and her best friend Will travel to Sam’s childhood home to uncover the dark truth behind her mother’s death.

The Brokenwood Mysteries 6, 4 x 90 mins, South Pacific Pictures for Prime, up to $2,998,000. The Brokenwood crew are back for a sixth season, solving more murder-mysteries in their seemingly quiet country town.

Suzy & Friends 2019, 53 x 45 mins, Treehut for Rhema Broadcasting Group and others, up to $136,000. Kiwi kids share and hear their own stories and songs made for them by other Kiwis.


Aotearoa’s Lost Sporting Legends, 8 x 8 mins, Hex Work T/A The Spinoff for The Spinoff, up to $149,717. Celebrating the lives and achievements of NZ sportspeople whose names you never normally hear.

By The Balls, 1 x 90 mins, Rogue Productions for TVNZ 1, up to $971,485. A docu-drama telling the story of the 1987 All Blacks win at the inaugural Rugby World Cup.

Christmas 2018, 2 x 732 mins, Christian Broadcasting Association for Newstalk ZB, up to $35,988. 29 hours of feature programmes, interviews, pre-produced vignettes, music, and celebrity guests.

Grand Designs NZ 5, 6 x 44 mins, Imagination Television for Three, up to $240,000. Creative Kiwis take on the challenge of building their own unique and inspirational homes.

Honey Wars, 8 x 22 mins, Greenstone TV for Prime, up to $399,991. Follow a Māori whānau in Kaitaia, who are leading the charge on producing high-quality Manuka honey with their all-Māori business.

I Am…2, 6 x 44 mins, Screentime NZ for TVNZ 1, up to $800,245. Six New Zealanders share their emotional accounts of their unique experiences, recounting what it means to them to be different.

Litany of Lies, 10 x 45 mins, Media Construction Group for Watch Me, up to $179,995. 40 years on from the Mt Erebus disaster, broadcaster Garry McAlpine explores the things we still don’t know about NZ’s worst disaster.

Living With The Boss, 8 x 44 mins, ASC Media for TVNZ 1, up to $319,353. Employees invite their boss to live under their roof in a bid to improve conditions for the whole workforce.

Loading Docs: Power, 8 x 5 mins, Notable Pictures for Loading Docs.net, up to $168,767. Loading Docs provides a springboard for the creation of short documentary stories as well fostering new creative talent.

Namaste NZ 2 , 10 x 26 mins, Top Shelf Productions for APNA TV, up to $310,000. A weekly show covering the lives, stories and events of importance to the Indian community in NZ.

On The Rag, 8 x 20 mins, Hex Work T/A The Spinoff for The Spinoff, up to $ 190,001. An online variety shows that tackles life, media and current affairs from the New Zealand woman’s perspective.

Origins, 3 x 44 mins, Greenstone TV & Scottie Douglas Productions for TVNZ 1, up to $1,336,267. A documentary series unearthing the definitive story of the origins of Māori hosted by Professor Scotty Morrison.

The Cannabis Coast, 8 x 23 mins, Te Amokura Productions for Prime, up to $194,935. Exploring how Hikurangi Enterprises have entered the emerging billion dollar hemp industry as a means to create jobs for their community.

The Nutters Club, 49 x 90 mins, The Key To Life Charitable Trust for Newstalk ZB, up to $80,830. A mental health awareness show that works to demystify stigma.

Toa Hunter Gatherer 3, 8 x 26 mins, Hi Mama for Māori Television, up to $316,288. A hunting series that utilises Māori techniques as a cultural and sustainable way to source kai.

Two Sketches, 8 x 25 mins, Hex Work T/A The Spinoff for The Spinoff, up to $105,816. Cartoonist Toby Morris presents a unique conversation in which he and an interviewee both draw a picture and talk.

Wildlife Rescue, 5 x 45 mins, NHNZ for Choice TV, up to $495,000. A Natural History NZ series about Aotearoa’s wildlife and the people who safeguard our native species through rescue, rehabilitation and research.

Current Affairs

Q + A 2019, 40 x 45 mins, TVNZ for TVNZ 1, up to $846,000. A current affairs programme focusing on the stories of the day with an emphasis on the economy and people.

Newsroom Investigates, 6 x 10 mins, Newsroom NZ for Newsroom NZ, up to $198,051. An investigative series led by ground-breaking journalist Melanie Reid.

Newshub Nation 2019, 41 x 56 mins, MediaWorks TV for Three, up to $916,905. A political current affairs programme that offers long-form interviews and in-depth investigative stories into issues that affect all New Zealanders.

The Hui 2019 – Kaupeka Whā, 40 x 28 mins, Great Southern Television for Three, up to $543,988. A Māori current affairs series for all New Zealanders.

Paakiwaha 2019, 48 x 120 mins, UMA Broadcasting for Radio Waatea, up to $75,000. A current affairs programme that provides a Māori worldview that gives voice to all issues affecting Māori.


ANZAC Day Wreath Laying Ceremony 2019, 1 x 60 mins, Screentime NZ for TVNZ 1, up to $98,000. Live, multi-camera coverage of the ANZAC Day Commemorative Service at the National War Memorial Park.

The New Gala, 3 x 44 mins, Augusto for TVNZ 2, up to $119,366. Showcasing the best of local and international comedy talent featured in the annual Comedy Festival Gala.

Diverse Journalism: RNZ

***Budgets are yet to be finalised and will be published on the NZ On Air website in due course.

Daily Podcast, 200 x 15-20 mins podcasts, Newsroom NZ for RNZ. A daily podcast series that will analyse and interpret News and Current Affairs stories of national significance.

Te Ao Māori: I Am Māori I Am Modern, podcasts, photo essay & video, Vice NZ for RNZ. A podcast exploring the experiences of young urban Māori today.

Crunch, 3 x interactive segments, Vanishing Point Studio for RNZ. An interactive series that allows users to explore issues in the gaming sector.

Conversations With My Immigrant Parents, 12 x 30-40 mins podcasts & video, Julie Zhu for RNZ. First generation New Zealanders share stories with their immigrant parents.

Fast Start projects: RNZ

Animated History Of NZ, 14 x 15 mins, RNZ for RNZ, up to $114,000. A semi-animated series telling the nation’s story from pre-historic times to modern day.

Eating Fried Chicken In The Shower, 8 x 20 – 30 mins, RNZ for RNZ, up to $27,280. A comedy interview podcast on mental health and related issues.

Kids Science Podcast, 8 x 25 - 30 mins, RNZ for RNZ, up to $57,240. A multi-platform, interactive podcast answering kids' deep questions with science.

Māori Disparity Project, 4 x 3 – 5 mins, RNZ for RNZ, up to $46,650. A multi-media investigation into the disparity between Māori and non-Māori in health, crime, justice and wealth.

Pasifika Mental Health, 2 x 3- 6 mins, RNZ for RNZ, up to $9,275. A multi-media investigation into issues around the high Pasifika peoples’ suicide rate.


New Music Project

Baynk, Baynk, up to $30,000

Bene, CRS Music Management, up to $30,000

Jakob, Kog Mastering, up to $30,000

Kimbra, Mind Your Music NZ, up to $30,000

The Bats, Flying Nun Records, up to $18,000

Music Features 2019

Backyard Beats, Mediaworks Radio, up to $50,000

Base FM, Army Of You T/A Base FM, up to $100,000

Kiwi Rock Soundcheck, Mediaworks Radio, up to $50,000

NZME Locals Only, NZME Radio, up to $300,000

Pulzar FM, Pulzar Broadcasting Company T/A Pulzar FM, up to $40,000

Resound, Centre For New Zealand Music Trust (SOUNZ), up to $130,000

The Most FM 2019, Taranaki FM Trust (The Most FM), up to $40,000

The Profile, Mediaworks Radio, up to $30,000

Uncover Discover, Mediaworks Radio, up to $200,000

Wired, Mediaworks Radio, up to $50,000

Industry Development Fund 2019

Doc Edge Workshops, Documentary NZ Trust, up to $15,000

Screen Edge Forum, Documentary NZ Trust, up to $15,000

Doc Edge Film Awards, Documentary NZ Trust, up to $10,000

Voyager Media Awards, Newspaper Publishers Association, up to $10,000