A note from the CE


Nau mai haere mai.

Congratulations to everyone who achieved funding in this, our final round for 2020.

I want to reflect on and acknowledge the year we've had. I’d firstly like to acknowledge our Minister and the government for their incredible support to all our sectors during this extraordinary year. NZ On Air received new funds to support musicians, screen platforms hit by commercial revenue reduction, productions hit by additional COVID related costs, platforms delivering vital information to our citizens and most recently funds to support ambitious screen production creation.

I’d also like to acknowledge our Chair Dr Ruth Harley and our Board for their support during the year. Likewise the teams at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, NZ Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho and many other collaborators and friends.

And I acknowledge the whānau that I found myself working within this year. That includes the Funding team lead by Amie Mills, who was on Maternity leave but called me in the first days of lockdown and said, ‘I am ready to come and help’. And help she did. She jumped immediately into assistance for productions that were forced to shut down without notice due to COVID. The team also embraced the idea of a COVID round to get whatever money we had available out into the production community to create amazing stories, and jobs. The funding team worked tirelessly through the year. They care deeply about the mahi and genuinely hate turning down applications in an environment where we simply cannot fund everything.

The Music whānau was hit earliest and hardest, with touring revenue and opportunities gone in a flash. David Ridler and the music team immediately pulled together a proposal showing we could do something meaningful for the artists in an uncertain time. That delivered a doubling of our Music budget and some amazing opportunities ahead. I also acknowledge the Music Commission who were in the trenches with us over this time. And a shout out to the commercial music stations who have nailed the holy grail of 20% local music this year! It’s a feat radio and the music industry can be very proud of.

And of course the amazing platforms we fund. RNZ, who along with Access stations, ABLE and their services and the Student radio network did amazing work ensuring audiences had access to crucial information through COVID lockdown and beyond. And our funded content discovery sites NZ On Screen, AudioCulture, and HEIHEI – who kept us entertained.

Not to forget our other teams, Communications and Corporate Services, who not only take a very unique and important role in managing the logistical, legal, risk and public facing aspects of our mahi but also allowed us to work seamlessly, remotely through an extreme time. Their tireless work ensures we have proper contracts in place, invoices paid and newsletters like this.

Finally to the largest part of our whānau - all of you. My view has and always will be that we are in humble service to you. The artists, the creators, the channels that people seek out. You entertain, inform and challenge. You deliver messages and content that would otherwise not be delivered.

To you all, I am grateful to be in your service. Have a restful break, as we will also.

Ngā mihi o te wā,


Premium Production for International Audiences Fund

The purpose of the Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund is to support the Aotearoa / New Zealand production sector to recover from COVID-19 by supporting high-quality productions that tell New Zealand stories for global audiences.

To capitalise on New Zealand’s current production advantage and support the sector with employment opportunities, the Premium Fund will have up to $50million available to invest. This is a significant one-off opportunity to drive a step-change for the sector by allowing production at a scale and ambition not previously possible.

Read the full announcement from Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Hon Carmel Sepuloni about the Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund here.

There will be two rounds of production funding - the first available for submission in the 2020/2021 financial year with the second before the end of the 2021/2022 financial year.

The first round is intended to provide financial support to production-ready projects to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 for New Zealand production companies in the short term.

The second round will be for projects with longer production lead times. Additional guidelines for this, if necessary, will be published closer to the time.

The amount of funding available for any one round of production financing is flexible.

The NZFC will be responsible for administering the Premium Fund, and all applications must be made through the NZFC’s online portal. The portal will be accessed through the funding page on NZFC’s website once available.

The deadline for applications for the first round of production financing is 1pm, 17th February 2021.

Please read the Premium Production Fund Guidelines and Submission Checklist documents below.

March 2021 round information for applicants

The information below is for producers intending to make a funding application to the Scripted or Factual streams of the NZ Media Fund, or Industry Development Fund for the March 2021 round.

Given the high percentage of Factual and Scripted funding that has already been allocated in the current financial year, as previously advised, the March round is considering applications for a limited number of initiatives.

March funding round priorities:

  • Applications to the Factual RFP for Pan-Asian Creatives (up to $2m) – details of the RFP can be seen here
  • The priority focus for Scripted applications this round is Newer Storytellers – see our Scripted Roadmap for further detail on this funding stream.
  • We have notionally allocated $1m with the intention of funding 2-3 projects. Given the limited funding available we recommend discussing potential applications with a Funding Advisor prior to submission.
  • Our Content Development funds have been fully expended for both Supported and Diverse development. Therefore, we will not be accepting any Content Development applications in this round.
  • Industry Development applications will be considered as well as new Cultural Sector Capability Funding applications.

Please note: The shortlisted applications to the Te Māngai Pāho Co-Fund will also be considered in this round. Only applications that have been advised they have been shortlisted can submit a full proposal in this round. All eligible applications should be submitted via Te Māngai Pāho’s online application portal Te Pūahatanga.

Important dates

15 December 2020, 4pm - Funding round opens.

14 January 2021, 4pm - Application deadline. Round closes.

3 March 2021 - Applicants notified. This date may be extended at NZ On Air's sole discretion.

NZ Media Fund Update

Our December round was for production applications intended to appeal to general audiences.

In total we received 97 applications across our Scripted, Factual, Platforms and Industry Development streams, seeking nearly $31.4m in NZ On Air funding. We are pleased to support the funding of 31 applications for up to $10.2m.

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


Mystic, Libertine Pictures


More unique New Zealand stories are on their way, including a new telefeature and three new projects for rangatahi audiences.

Telefeature Princess Of Chaos, which emerged from last year's Asian and Pacific People's feature-length development initiative, will see the Flat3 Productions team tell the story of a New Zealand political scandal from the perspective of the 'other woman,' Bevan Chuang.

Three projects aimed at youth audiences, Mystic, The Mountain, and Moe, will also engage a wide range of audiences in Aotearoa and internationally.

Read more in our December Scripted media release

NZ Hip Hop Stand Up BTS

NZ Hip Hop Stand Up, The Downlowconcept


The final Factual funding round of 2020 supported hours of important documentary content covering a broad range of topics - from disability to Martial Arts, saving at risk native species, and Pacific gospel soul music to name just a few.

Returning favourites include Toa Hunter Gatherer on Māori Television and The Side Eye on The Spinoff. Head Of Funding Amie Mills noted that it was particularly exciting to see " the changing forms of storytelling in this latest round, from podcasts, to animated comics, to interactive series."

Read more in our December Factual media release

Stuff Circuit BTS

Infinite Evil, Stuff Circuit


We have also confirmed support for a number of returning specialist current affairs shows and important investigative journalism initiatives for 2021.

The Hui, Newshub Nation, and Q + A will continue to hold political leaders to account weekly in 2021. Stuff Circuit, Newsroom Investigates, and The Detail will also return next year.

Read more in our December Journalism media release

% expenditure to date

Music update


2020 Aotearoa Music Awards

Aotearoa Music Awards

NZ On Air was proud to be a major supporter of the 2020 Aotearoa Music Awards held on Sunday 15 November at Spark Arena and broadcast live on The Edge TV and THREE.

Given the challenging year it's been, it was great to be able to gather and celebrate the wide array of incredible music released and enjoyed across the previous 12 months.

Big winners on the night included BENEE, The Beths, L.A.B., Mohau, Six60 and Jawsh 685. If you haven’t caught up with the event featuring 18 live performances across a number of stages it’s available to view in full on THREE NOW.

New Music Development

Additional funding activity

The Music budget was increased by $7.1 million over two years starting with our 2020/21 financial year in July this year.

So far we have already committed over $1.64 million in additional music and music content funding across our boosted New Music Single, New Music Project, New Music Kids, New Music Development and Music Feature rounds.

We’ll also be investing at least a further $100,000 next week with the announcement of our inaugural Waiata Takitahi round with Te Māngai Pāho focusing on bilingual tracks featuring a minimum of 25% te reo Māori.

Kicking straight back into things in January we’ll have more Music funding rounds for New Music Project, Development and Kids (14 January deadline) and New Music Pasifika (28 January deadline).



2020 – a big year for local music

For the first time since 2004 we have had a New Zealand act topping both the full-year album and full-year single charts.

L.A.B.’s huge hit ‘In The Air’ took out the top spot as the number one single of 2020 and Six60 topped the album charts for the year with their self-titled album.

It’s also looking likely that a 20% year will be achieved for local music on contemporary commercial radio stations for the first time since 2005.

Aotearoa All Day

Streaming NZ music this summer is easy as - nzonairmusic

NZ On Air has plenty of sweet local music playlists to take care of your summer driving or BBQ relaxing this holiday break. We’ve got playlists across Spotify and Apple Music including artist-selected playlists from Montell2099, Yumi Zouma, Melodownz, JessB, Kings, Rei, Ladi6 and more.

Alongside that are our inhouse-curated Fresh Cuts, Aotearoa All Day, Te Reo Māori, Wahine O Aotearoa, Iconic NZ Album Tracks and more – just search our profile ‘nzonairmusic’ and turn it up.

Christmas office closure and payments

This is important if you need to be paid!

Our office will be closed from 5pm Wed 23 Dec until 8am Mon 11 January 2021 while we all have a breather and find some sun.

Our last payments for 2020 will be made on 17 December. All paperwork must be received by 5pm 14 December. Our first payments for 2021 will be on 14 January.

Also note: our Wellington office is now swipe-access only. If you are coming for a meeting or would like to pop in and talk to a member of our staff, please either contact the staff member or Reception on 04 382 9524 for entry to the building.

Meet the team


Music Contracts & Administration Assistant, Sylvia Betham

Meet Sylvia, our wonderful Music Contracts & Administration Assistant who had the unusual experience of starting her first day with us from the comfort of her home!

Sylvia's mahi is to support our funded artists through the contracting and compliance process - which means a lot time preparing contracts, checking budgets, reading proposals, and listening to phenomenal New Zealand music.

Even when she's off the clock Sylvia still lives and breathes music, often spending her weekends going to gigs. Her love for music transcends into other passions as well - she's one of the few NZ On Air team members who actually knows how to dance!

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

Awards season

Attitude Awards 2020

It's been a bumper season of awards and conferences - a big shout out to all the organisers of the NZ TV Awards, Aotearoa Music Awards, Attitude Awards, WIFT Awards, and also Big Screen Symposium for all their incredible work rescheduling and reconfiguring all these events.

We're incredibly proud of the resilience and adaptability of our industry this year and so thrilled that we could have the privilege to see so many of our funded creatives recognised for their mahi in person.

The results of the NZ TV Awards, and The WIFT Awards are now available. Make sure you tune in this Sunday at 4:00 pm on TVNZ 1 for the Attitude Awards television special, packed with entertainment, winners, and highlights from the night.

Funding decisions


Princess Of Chaos, 1 x 90 mins, Flat3 Productions for TVNZ 1, up to $2,549,000. Platform reduction up to $104,000. A telefeature adaption of Bevan Chuang’s life story centered around her role in a political scandal.

Mystic 2 & 3, 16 x 28 mins, Libertine Pictures for TVNZ 2, up to $1,000,000. Platform reduction up to $64,000. Six months have passed since the events of Season 1 and Kauri Point is thriving. However, Mystic reappears to Issie in strange and mysterious visions, pointing her and her friends to a mystery from the past.

Moe & Friends, 13 x 11 mins, Pop-Up Studios for Prime, up to $904,556. An animated preschool series featuring the beloved characters from The Moe Show. The series explores the concepts of sensory play, problem solving, imagination and social interaction.

The Mountain, 1 x 90 mins, Piki Films for Māori Television, up to $200,000. Three runaway children find adventure, friendship and confront their own personal demons in their quest to uncover magic on the peak of a mountain.


Down For Love, 3 x 44 mins, Attitude Pictures for TVNZ 2, up to $294,529. Plus, a platform reduction up to $132,000. Young people with Down syndrome learn about how to find love in an enlightening, charming and unfiltered series.

Fighting Chance, 8 x 26 mins, Fire Fire for Māori Television, up to $344,236. Set in of one of the best Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) gyms in the world, City Kickboxing, this series follows 15 everyday people as they change their lives and train to be fighters.

Whānau 2021 (Part 4), 5 x 52 mins, Tumanako Productions for Māori Television, up to $188,943. The fourth instalment in a longitudinal documentary series following the lives of four Māori born in 2000. Every seven years we check in on the four participants and their whānau.

Faces Of Extinction, 7 x 5 mins, Stuff for Stuff, up to $58,285. Plus, a platform reduction up to $86,165. An interactive series delving into the momentous change in our indigenous biodiversity. NZ now has 4,000 native species at risk, so understanding why and what can be done, is pressing.

Terror At Lake Alice, 6 x 40 mins, Hihi Media for Stuff, up to $105,610. Plus, a platform reduction up to $36,800. A podcast series about the Lake Alice Psychiatric Facility where hundreds of children were subjected to physical, mental and sexual abuse in the 1970s.

Soul Sessions, 8 x 23 mins, ECG for TP+, up to $99,948. Uncovering the best of Aotearoa's Pacific gospel music, this series go behind the lyrics that capture the stories and identity of Pasifika in New Zealand.

Women Of The Dump, 1 x 25 mins, Hexwork Productions for The Spinoff, up to $88,440. In Wellington, a group of young women from troubled backgrounds have found family, belonging and self-worth at an unlikely place – the dump, but now face an uncertain future.

What’s Wrong With You? 7 x 30 mins, Stuff for Stuff, up to $39,300. Plus, platform reduction up to $32,440. One in four New Zealanders live with a disability. But how do they thrive in a world that is not designed for them?

Make It 16, 1 x 20 mins, Storybox for The Spinoff, up to $30,000. A documentary following a group of rangatahi activists who are taking their campaign to lower the NZ voting age to the courts.

NZ Hip Hop Stand Up 2, 7 x 7 mins, The Downlowconcept for RNZ, up to $315,417. A documentary in which artists share their stories behind the songs that make up some of the more than 30-year history of Hip Hop in Aotearoa.

Toa Hunter Gatherer 4, 8 x 26 mins, Hi Mama for Māori Television, up to $306,510. A ground-breaking, trend-setting series hosted by Owen Boynton that takes a holistic view on gathering kai and the environment we live in.

ANZAC Day Dawn Service & The National Wreathlaying Service 2021, 2 x 60 mins, Screentime New Zealand for TVNZ 1, up to $137,191.

The Side Eye 3, 10 x 6 mins, Hexwork Productions for The Spinoff, up to $62,031. An online animated non-fiction comic series exploring some of New Zealand's trickiest conversations in an accessible, easy-to-follow and easy-to-share way, by award-winning artist, Toby Morris.

Current Affairs

Newshub Nation 2021, 41 x 56 mins, Mediaworks TV for Three, up to $929,092. Platform reduction up to $277,876. A weekly political and current affairs programme.

Newsroom Investigates 2021, 6 x 15 mins, Newsroom NZ for Newsroom, up to $328,217. Current affairs marrying detail and substance and uncovering stories that New Zealanders need to know.

Q + A 2021, 40 x 58 mins, TVNZ for TVNZ 1, up to $842,775. Platform reduction up to $80,000. A political current affairs programme comprising a weekly hour of interviews, debates and discussions that inform and educate the country on pressing issues.

Stuff Circuit 2021, 3 x 30 mins, Stuff for Stuff, up to $324,200. Platform reduction up to $376,918. A third season of in-depth investigations as the team continue to delve, probe and analyse issues of vital importance to NZ society.

The Detail 2021, 124 x 20 mins, Newsroom NZ for Newsroom, up to $311,269. A daily podcast designed to explain the stories behind the headlines and give deeper understanding of important events.

The Hui 2021, 40 x 28 mins, Great Southern Television for Three, up to $624,375. Platform reduction up to $200,000. A Māori current affairs programme for all New Zealanders.

New Music Feature

On The Road, Rockquest Promotions, up to $100,000

Coup De Main Digital Magazine NZ Music, Coup De Main, up to $15,000

First - The Spinoff, Hex Work, up to $99,870

Mai FM Backyard Beats 2021, Mediaworks Radio, up to $50,000

More FM Wired 2021, Mediaworks Radio, up to $50,000

NZME Locals Only 2021, NZME Radio, up to $300,000

Pulzar Features 2021, Pulzar FM, up to $60,000

Resound 2021 - SOUNZ, Centre For New Zealand Music Trust, up to $130,000

RNZ Music Live Sessions, Radio New Zealand, up to $59,280

The Edge & The Edge TV Uncover Discover 2021, Mediaworks Radio, up to $100,000

The Most FM Features 2021, Taranaki FM Trust, up to $60,000

The Rock Kiwi Rock Soundcheck 2021, Mediaworks Radio, up to $50,000

Under Cover Series Two, Banished Music, up to $106,730

UTR Spotlight - Video Series, UnderTheRadar, up to $31,740

New Music Projects

Aaradhna, Lorraine Barry Music Management, up to $40,000

Alisa Xayalith, Universal Music New Zealand, up to $40,000

Bic Runga, Susie Says/Bric Music, up to $40,000

Daffodils, White Paper Industries, up to $31,960

Dawn Raid Movie Soundtrack, 1979 Management, up to $40,000

Dead Favours, Trigger Marketing and Publicity, up to $40,000

Dick Johnson AKA Magik J, Nicnak Media, up to $40,000

Finn Andrews/The Veils, Native Tongue, up to $40,000

Jason Kerrison, Blackout Music Management, up to $40,000

Montell2099, Higher-Ground Management, up to $40,000

Purple Pilgrims, Flying Nun Records, up to $39,720

Salmonella Dub, Rhythm Method/DRM, up to $40,000

Tami Neilson, Southbound Distribution, up to $40,000

Terrible Sons, The Label/Play Nicely, up to $40,000

The Black Seeds, Triple M Management, up to $39,824

Vayne, Sony Music Entertainment, up to $30,000

New Music Single – up to $10,000 each project

Bailey Wiley, Put D'Angelo On

Dallas Tamaira, Spider

Dartz, Pray For Prey

Dateline, Dumb For My Age

Die! Die! Die!, Feed

Dual, Honey

Earth Tongue, The Corridor

Edy, Oo La La

Emily C. Browning, I Wasn't Into You Anyway

Fred, Higher

Gino October, New Day

Hamo Dell, Nobody's D.A.T

Hans Pucket, Misery Loves Company

Jonathan Bree, Pre-Code Hollywood

Juno Is, Floating

Kaylee Bell, Before I Met You

Kylie Price, Perfect

La Felix, Take Care Of You

Luke Buda, Here Comes The Wind

Phodiso, Usain

Sally, High School

Sea Mouse, Side B, Track 1

Theia, Freak

Vayne, Basic ft. JessB

Victoria Girling, Butcher - The Giver And The Gift

Vince Harder & Abby Lee, Closer

Weta, So Far, So Close

Denel, Let It Happen

Deva Mahal, Sister ft. Zoe Moon

Ekko Park, Bassano Sky

Eleven7Four, What's Hannin

Flowidus, Shelter

Harper Finn, Date Line

Lost Tribe Aotearoa, Lost Generation

Mo Muse, Lighters ft. David Dallas

Na Noise, Waiting For You

Plastic, On Hold To Instinct

Swiss, IWantYou

The Datsuns, Dehumanise

Red Wav, Mother Lovers

Ben & Brody, Open Up

Jam & Jelly, Jam & Jelly

Industry Development Fund

Screensafe - Working With Children Guidelines, Screen Industry Guild Of Aotearoa NZ, up to $4,000

Going Local 2021, Independent Music NZ, up to $4,500

Ha Ki Roto, Nga Aho Whakaari, up to $4,500

Parachute Music Producer Development Programme, Parachute Arts Trust, up to $30,000

Applicant Workshop For Pan-Asian Creatives RFP, Pan-Asian Screen Collective, up to $1,800