A note from the CEO

Jane 2018_edited.jpg

CEO Jane Wrightson

It was bittersweet to attend my final Board meeting last week as CEO. I want to thank our Board members past and present for their support and wise counsel through the years. I have served under three chairs and many different board members over more than a decade at NZ On Air: we have always been fortunate in the quality of the governors sent to our very special coalface.

If there is a trend that I have acutely observed over my time at NZ On Air it has been the growing demand for funding for trusted NZ public media, and the continual rise in the quality and creativity we see in applications. This meeting was no exception.

I can tell you honestly that the team and I feel gutted when we have to turn away excellent applications purely and simply because there is not enough funding left. In this round we were blessed with outstanding applications for Factual content and would happily have funded more had funds been available.

In particular we can see the increasing need for investigative journalism, specialist current affairs and insightful documentaries, and we will be turning our attention to if and how we can do more next year.

I had the great joy of attending a number of evenings of celebration of New Zealand content and people in recent weeks. The NZ TV Awards, NZ Music Awards, the Sunpix Pacific Peoples Awards, and Attitude Awards, again showcased the outstanding achievements of so many talented people in our world. Congratulations to everyone recognised, and to all those not recognised officially, who help to make the magic happen.

My final day at NZ On Air will be January 31st. While the Board seeks a new CEO, our wonderful Head of Corporate Services Clare Helm will be sitting in the hot seat. Clare will be focused on keeping the momentum going as NZ On Air navigates through planning for 2020-21 and beyond. You can find out more about Clare in this newsletter's Meet the team section.

We also have a handing over of reins in the Funding team, as Funding Advisor Anna Currie steps up in January to the Acting Head of Funding role until Amie Mills' expected return mid-year. I want to thank Benedict Reid who has ably filled in as HOF for the past few months, and thank Anna in advance for her upcoming stint. We are very fortunate to have a depth of experience and skill in our team to be able to backfill both the CEO and HOF roles from within. This is important because it allows for both continuity for the sector and also professional development for our talented, tiny team.

Thanks also to my colleagues who have helped me in my role – fellow funding agencies, cultural sector entities, guilds and other sector organisations, and the fiendishly busy peeps at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

And finally, of course, I'd like to say to everyone creating and distributing great screen, music and radio content with our funding support, that I have thoroughly enjoyed serving you in this role. Your work is important, it matters, and I will always be an avid admirer and supporter.

Ehara taku toa, he takitahi, he toa takitini


Christmas - Staff

NZ Media Fund update

Frickin Dangerous Bro

Frickin' Dangerous Bro Trio: Jamaine Ross, James Roque and Pax Assadi

Our December round was focused on Scripted and Factual content intended for general audiences, with priority genres including Current Affairs, responses to our Climate Change RFP and projects that fitted the Newer Storytellers stream of our Scripted Roadmap.

As with every Funding round this year, heavy demand remains an issue and our team were very disappointed to have to turn down more high quality proposals than we were able to fund.

In total, we received 68 Factual and Scripted applications seeking over $28m, and we are thrilled to support 20 new projects (3 Scripted and 17 Factual) for up to $9.1m.

We are also pleased to announce that Flat3 Productions have secured an additional $12,000 in development funding for their project Princess Of Chaos, as part of the Asia Pacific Telefeature initiative, a collaboration between the NZ Film Commission, TVNZ and NZ On Air.

The full details of all funding decisions are at the end of this newsletter. You can also use our Funding decisions search on our website.

The below graph indicates the expenditure to date.

% expenditure to date

Current round

The March round 2020 is very restricted due to low funds. However, if you do intend to make an application to this round please ensure it has been submitted by 4pm, January 16th 2020.

With three funding rounds completed for the current financial year, nearly 88% of the combined Factual and Scripted budget has been committed and our funding priorities are limited to:


  • No production applications will be accepted with the exception of the shortlisted projects for the NZ On Air/Te Māngai Pāho (TMP) Factual Co-Fund. These applications are to be submitted via Te Pūahatanga.
  • For Development we will consider significant Factual projects with platform support.


  • No production applications will be accepted.
  • We will only be accepting Development applications for existing Scripted projects that have platform support that are applying for advanced development.
  • We are unable to consider any further Diverse Development projects for the remainder of this financial year.

Please read the full March 2020 round information for applicants here.

Music update

Arthur Baysting & Rick Bryant

Top: Arthur Baysting. Bottom: Rick Bryant

Recent passings

The music industry farewelled two greatly respected and admired men this week, with both Arthur Baysting and Rick Bryant sadly passing away.

NZ On Air wishes to convey our deepest condolences to family, friends and colleagues of both men.

NZ On Air worked most recently with Arthur Baysting who inspired the development of our Children’s music funding scheme – New Music Kids – which launched in 2018.

You can read more about the very full lives and careers of both Arthur and Rick via Audioculture here and here.


Music for your holiday

It’s been a bumper year for New Zealand music with loads of great new songs, EPs and albums and some superb achievements for countless NZ musicians at home and abroad.

NZ On Air has a bunch of playlists all lined up if you want to bask in some of the musical goodness over your summer break.

Check out our NZ On Air Music profile on Spotify here or search NZOnAir on Apple Music. If you want visuals with your tunes you can check our collection of some of the best music videos of 2019 on our YouTube playlist.


Summer reading – Audioculture

If you haven’t already discovered the “noisy library of New Zealand music” then perhaps it’s time to delve into Audioculture.

It’s a huge treasure trove of New Zealand stories, images and songs from our amazing music history, which is made possible with funding from NZ On Air.

You can browse through multitudes of articles and pics in what’s described as an online celebration of the people who have created the music, the scenes they shaped, and the audiences they played to.

We heartily suggest you spend some quality time there this summer – www.audioculture.co.nz

Payment dates

This is important if you need to be paid!

Our office is closed from 5pm Fri 20 Dec to 8am Mon 6 January 2020 while we all have a breather and find some sun.

Our last payments for 2019 will be made on 19 December. All paperwork must be received by 5pm 16 December. Our first payments for 2020 are on 16 January.

Research update

Last month we launched our latest research report, Identity, Culture and the Media/What's changed in 30 years?

The full report is available on our website New Zealand's Identity, Culture and the Media: What's changed in 30 years?

On that page you will also find Fact Sheets prepared by Research NZ that look specifically at Youth, Older people, Auckland vs rest of NZ, Māori and Pasifika, different Affinity groups.

And shortly we will have available a handy e-tool through which you can slice and dice the results looking at sub-groups for age, gender, location, language spoken etc. If you want access to this e-tool when it's launched please contact communications@nzonair.govt.nz and we will send you log in details.

Upcoming research

We will be undertaking a fresh look at Children's Media Use in the new year. This research was last done in 2014 so an update now will be very useful, given all the changes in the media environment in the intervening 5-6 years.

We will also be undertaking the next Where Are The Audiences research - with results released around the middle of the year.

And we are currently scoping a couple of follow up projects to A Profile of Creative Professionals looking further at the topics of the gender pay gap and sustainable careers.

NZ On Air 30th collection

Shortland Street

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on her favourite NZ show, Shortland Street.

NZ On Air is 30 years old!

Over three decades we've funded countless stories and songs that reflect New Zealand's unique culture and identity.

To celebrate this milestone, we asked a few well-known Kiwis to reflect on a programme or song from the past 30 years that has stuck with them — then went behind-the-scenes to get the inside scoop on how it all happened.

Check out NZ On Screen's collection celebrating 30 years of NZ On Air here.

If you're interested in other activities at NZ On Screen and Audioculture, check out the Digital Media Trust Annual Report here.

Meet the team


Clare Helm, Head of Corporate Services and soon-to-be Acting CEO

Meet Clare, our Head of Corporate Services and soon-to-be acting Chief Executive.

With more than 30 years accounting and auditing experience in both Aotearoa and England, Clare runs a tight ship and keeps us, and all our funded producers and platforms, in line.

Clare has been with NZ On Air for four years. When she's not at work, Clare can be found either practicing her Te Reo Māori or enjoying all the beautiful bush and hill trails Aotearoa has to offer.

Learn more about Clare and her role at NZ On Air on our Meet The Team page here.

Welcome Rebecca

We also welcome our newest team member, Rebecca Morgan, who is the new cheerful face greeting visitors and answering your calls on Reception. We will introduce her properly in a future newsletter.

Funding decisions



Aitu, 1 x 60 mins, Tikilounge Productions for Prime, up to $660,000. A contemporary horror series based on supernatural legends from the Pacific islands.

Frickin Dangerous Bro On The Road, 8 x 22 mins, Kevin & Co for TVNZ OnDemand, up to $434,612. A comedy series that sees Jamaine Ross, James Roque and Pax Assadi visit provincial towns and explore what makes each one unique.

Good Grief, 6 x 10 mins, Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for TVNZ OnDemand, up to $500,000. Two millennial sisters inherit a funeral home from their koro, forcing them to confront the realities of their own life and what they want to make of it.



Centrepoint, 1 x 88 mins, Warner Bros NZ for TVNZ 1, up to $1,119,682. A docudrama with new information and interviews about what took place at the infamous Centrepoint cult in Albany over 22 years.

Forgotten Pacific, 2 x 44 mins, Tikilounge Productions for Prime, up to $700,000. Pacific people look to their ancestors for localised solutions to save their islands from climate change.

Voyage Back To The Future, 3 x 45 mins, Frame Up Films for Prime, up to $666,667. A documentary series charting the journey of Māori, Pacific and Aboriginal art from ‘down under’ to the international art world.

The Naki Hard, 4 x 44 mins, Workparty for Three, up to $556,985. Based in Taranaki, the series chronicles the triumphs, challenges and tragedies of growing up in heartland Aotearoa in 2020.

Aotearoa Without Action, 7 x 5 mins + additional content, Hex Work T/A The Spinoff for The Spinoff, up to $366,013. An interactive documentary series outlining two possible climate change scenarios for NZ’s future.

Cowland, 6 x 22 mins, TVNZ for Re:, up to $345,650. A comprehensive overview of the local dairy industry, its impact on climate, and the moves towards sustainability.

The Brains Trust, NZME for NZ Herald 6 x 8 mins, up to $150,968. A personal look into the issues surrounding dementia in New Zealand.

Collapse, 6 x 40 mins, Fairfax NZ for Stuff, up to $55,220. A podcast series that will re-examine the Christchurch CTV building collapse through the eyes of those directly affected.


Newshub Nation 2020, 42 x 56 mins, MediaWorks TV for Three, up to $916,905. A current affairs programme offering long-form interviews and in-depth investigative stories into issues that affect all New Zealanders.

Q + A With Jack Tame 2020, 40 x 44 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.

The Hui 2020, 40 x 28 mins + 7 x 60 mins, Great Southern Television for Three, up to $623,375. A Māori current affairs series for all New Zealanders, which in 2020 will include streamed election debates from the seven Māori seats.

The Check Up 2, 10 x 22 mins, Great Southern Television for TVNZ 1, up to $590,102. The doctors return with another series delivering educational and informative public health stories.

The Detail 2020, 230 x 20 mins, Newsroom NZ for newsroom.co.nz, up to $549,777. A daily news podcast focused on explaining current news stories.

Patrick Gower On... 2, 2 x 44 mins, Ruckus Media for Three, up to $435,000. Patrick Gower will be back with two more in-depth documentaries on important issues facing New Zealand.

The NZ-VR Project – South, 8 x 15 mins, Kowhai Media for NZ Geographic, up to $378,861. NZ-VR will complete its interactive virtual reality tour of the country, exploring eight locations across the South Island and Stewart Island.

The Negotiators 2, 7 x 26 mins, Tawera Productions for Māori Television, up to $329,980. The dramatic story behind the Treaty settlements and the Lead negotiators who are taking on the Crown.

Newsroom Investigates 2, 6 x 15 mins, Newsroom NZ for newsroom.co.nz, up to $311,396. The Newsroom investigations team continue to unearth stories that become part of the national discourse.

On The Rag 2, 8 x 20 mins, Hex Work T/A The Spinoff for The Spinoff, up to $238,529. An online variety show tackling life, media and current affairs from the New Zealand woman's perspective.

NZ International Comedy Gala 2020, 2 x 66 mins, Augusto for TVNZ 2, up to $121,662. Showcasing the best of local and international comedy talent featured in the annual Comedy Festival Gala.

ANZAC Day 2020 – National Commemorative Service, 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.

Paakiwaha 2020, 48 x 120 mins, UMA Broadcasting for Radio Waatea 603am, up to $75,000. A current affairs programme providing a Māori worldview that gives voice to all issues affecting Māori.


New Music - Projects

Anna Coddington, Loop Media, up to $30,000

Avantdale Bowling Club, Lorraine Barry Management/Years Gone By, up to $25,500

Don McGlashan, Royale Dalton, up to $30,000

Mikey Dam, Richmond Music, up to $19,000

Mitch James, Sony Music Entertainment, up to $22,000

Paige, Sony Music Entertainment, up to $22,000

Rei, Kog Mastering, up to $30,000

Soaked Oats, The Label NZ Ltd, up to $30,000

Wax Chattels, Flying Nun Records, up to $21,070

New Music - Singles

Ashley Alexander, Lunar Phase, up to $8,000

Being, I Don't Believe In Love, up to $8,000

Bexy, Cheap Hallucinations, up to $8,000

Bleedrs, Darkness Falls, up to $8,000

David Dallas, Type Of, up to $8,000

Dual, Running Around My Head, up to $8,000

Iva Lamkum, Don't Mind If I Do, up to $8,000

Kaylee Bell, Trying Not To Love You, up to $8,000

Lepani, Breathe, up to $8,000

Milly Tabak & The Miltones, Liven Up The Night, up to $8,000

Nomad, She's Getting Away, up to $8,000

Sam V ft. Lion Rezz & Juwan, Ain't Slowin' Down, up to $8,000

Sheperd's Reign, Le Manu, up to $8,000

The Beths, Jump Rope Gazers, up to $8,000

Thomston, Los Angeles, up to $8,000

Valle, Trip Advisor, up to $8,000

Wax Chattels, Efficiency, up to $8,000

Coridian, Rite Of Passage, up to $8,000

Fred, Polyamorous, up to $8,000

Hiiata, Soul, up to $8,000

Jamie McDell ft. Robert Ellis, Worst Crime, up to $8,000

Jordan Gavet, Hesitation, up to $8,000

Joseph & Maia, Amsterdam, up to $8,000

Lou'ana Whitney, Feel This, up to $8,000

Raze, Jump, up to $8,000

Deena, A Normal Day, up to $8,000

There's A Tuesday, Pinata Head, up to $8,000

Arlo Mac, Ease My Mind, up to $8,000

78 District, Vieni E Balla, up to $8,000

New Music - Features

Smokefree Rockquest & Smokefree Tangata Beats 2020, Rockquest Promotions, up to $50,000

Base FM 2020, Army Of You T/A Base FM, up to $120,000

The Profile 2020, Mediaworks Radio, up to $30,000

Backyards Beats 2020, Mediaworks Radio, up to $60,000

Wired 2020, Mediaworks Radio, up to $50,000

Most FM 2020, Taranaki FM Trust (The Most FM), up to $60,000

Locals Only 2020, NZME Radio, up to $300,000

Pulzar 2020, Pulzar Broadcasting Company, up to $60,000

Sounz 2020, Centre For New Zealand Music Trust, up to $130,000

Uncover Discover 2020, Mediaworks Radio, up to $60,000

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

The Audience, Amplifier Holdings, up to $28,462

Industry Development Fund

Doc Edge Awards 2020, The Documentary New Zealand Trust, up to $10,000

Taite Music Prize 2020, Independent Music NZ, up to $10,000

Voyager Media Awards 2020, Newspaper Publishers Association, up to $10,000

Big Screen Symposium 2019, J & A Productions, up to $30,000

Doc Edge Forum 2020, The Documentary New Zealand Trust, up to $15,000

Doc Edge Clinics 2020, The Documentary New Zealand Trust, up to $15,000

Preventing Sexual Harassment In NZ's Screen Industry, Screen Women's Action Group, up to $100,000

Producer Training Initiative, Pan-Asian Screen Collective Inc, up to $12,940