29 June 2023

Fifteen artists have just been announced as the very first recipients of funding via a NZ On Air New Music Pan-Asian focus round, the first funding initiative of its kind to support the Pan-Asian music community in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The new focus funding round was designed to support artists to connect with Pan-Asian and mainstream audiences and increase the amount of quality Pan-Asian content across Aotearoa. It was created due to the lack of equitable representation of Pan-Asian artists in the music sector identified in the NZ On Air Music Diversity Report, a report produced by NZ On Air since 2020.

“Our Music Diversity Report had clearly shown that Pan-Asian New Zealand musicians were under-represented in the music sector in Aotearoa,” says Teresa Patterson, NZ On Air Head of Music. “And I think that is reflected in the number of applications we received for funding in this focus round.”

“We received 107 applications for 15 grants, which is outstanding, and it was a really wonderful range of genre, gender and ethnicity,” says Patterson. “We received applications from artists who identify as Chinese, Indian and Filipino, as well as South Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Thai and Iraqi. And in terms of genre, the applicants varied from alternative/indie and pop, to hip hop/RnB, dance/electro and folk/country.”

“What is exciting too is that when it came to the gender split of applicants, it was quite even, with 49 male and 41 female identifying applicants, and the rest being gender diverse and group applicants.”

Of the 15 funded songs, seven are from first time-funded recipients and six are for bilingual songs featuring Pan-Asian languages, including Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Malay and Punjabi.

“This range will really help to reflect the many voices of Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Patterson. “And add to the vibrant cultural music mix that local audiences will be able to experience.”

To design the New Music Pan-Asian focus funding round, NZ On Air consulted with Pan-Asian representatives of the Aotearoa music community – to ensure, from the outset, that there was a clear understanding of the specific challenges for the Pan-Asian community.

The recipients were then selected by an external panel of music experts also from the Pan-Asian music community and a representative of NZ On Air. One panel member was Swap Gomez, a Bangladeshi drummer, visual director and academic lecturer with years of experience in the Aotearoa music scene.

“What was awesome to see was so many Pan-Asian artists applying, artists we had never heard of coming out of the woodwork now that a space has been created to celebrate their work,” says Gomez.

“This is the time we can celebrate those Pan-Asian artists who have previously felt over-looked by the wider industry,” continues Gomez. “Now there is an environment and sector where they can feel appreciated for their success in music – as a multicultural industry, developing initiatives such as this one is more crucial than ever.”

The NZ On Air New Music Pan-Asian funding round is a single-track funding scheme which provided up to $10,000 funding towards the costs of recording, mixing and mastering on a single song, as well as promotion and creation of visual content to release and promote the single.

“The response we have had to this inaugural NZ On Air New Music Pan-Asian focus funding round has been phenomenal,” says Patterson. “It tells us that there is a real need so NZ On Air is excited to confirm that it will return in the new financial year.”


Funding Decisions

, cool asf

Charlotte Avery, just before you go

Crystal Chen, love letter

hanbee, deeper

Hans., Porcelain,

Hugo Chan, bite

Julius Black, After You

LA FELIX, Waiting

Lauren Gin, Don’t Stop

Memory Foam, Moon Power

Phoebe Rings, 아스라이

RESHMA, Kuih Lapis (Layer Cake)

tei., sabre

Terrible Sons, Thank You, Thank You

Valere, Lily’s March

For more information on the NZ On Air New Music Pan-Asian fund, go to https://www.nzonair.govt.nz/funding/apply-music-funding/#new-music-pan-asian