New drama and comedy commissions from the latest NZ On Air funding round will see a wide variety of communities and their stories reflected on screens.

The team behind the 2006 comedy classic film Sione’s Wedding are back with a scripted comedy series for TVNZ 2, Duckrockers. The coming of age story of five young Pasifika ‘boppers’ is pitched as the teen prequel to Sione’s Wedding.

Queenstown’s stunning vistas will once again provide the setting for a third season of the popular TVNZ 1 drama series One Lane Bridge. Through its first two seasons One Lane Bridge has engaged prime time and on demand audiences with its Kiwi blend of homicide and the supernatural.

The third season builds on the previous season's talent development opportunities across directing, production, and script writing for local and emerging practitioners.

Continuing in the mold of the portmanteau films Waru and Vai, the camera is turned on Pan-Asian immigrant women in Kāinga. Kāinga celebrates the experiences of eight different Pan-Asian women as they navigate what it means to become ‘at home’ in Aotearoa. This third film in the trilogy is an important opportunity for Pan-Asian female directors, following on from the development of 17 female directors of Māori and Pacific descent in the earlier films.

The gritty and urban rangatahi drama Ahikāroa returns for a fifth season, and is joined on Māori Television by Inky Pinky Ponky, an affirmative story of gender and sexual identity which has already won the hearts of Pasifika high school students as a stage show.

The likeable Billy-John returns for a third season of Kura, which sees him discover life ‘on the other side of the tracks’ when he falls for a wealthy local girl. Starting out on TVNZ OnDemand Kura will now also have a timeslot on TVNZ 2.

Also returning is The Citizen’s Handbook with strategies for youth to make our country a better place. The sixth season of Someday Stories will see more short sustainability films made by emerging New Zealand filmmakers.

NZ On Air Head of Funding Amie Mills says the funding will bring to life stories that will surprise and delight us.

“Scripted stories are a way for us to observe and reflect who we are as New Zealanders and we’re excited to see these special projects reach an array of audiences on the platforms they use.”

Funding details

One Lane Bridge 3, 5 x 44 mins, Great Southern Television for TVNZ 1, up to $5,945,400

Duckrockers, 8 x 22 mins, South Pacific Pictures for TVNZ 2, up to $4,318,250

Kura 3, 6 x 22 mins, Plus6Four Entertainment for TVNZ OnDemand, up to $990,000

Inky Pinky Ponky, 5 x 12 mins, Tikilounge Productions for Māori Television, up to $605,000

Kāinga, 1 x 80 mins, Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for, up to $550,000

Ahikāroa 5, 20 x 26 mins, Kura Productions for Māori Television On Demand, up to $476,506

The Citizen’s Handbook 2, 6 x 10 mins, Kevin & Content for, up to $257,039

Someday Stories 2022, 6 x 10 mins, Connected Media Trust for, up to $250,000