A note from the CE

Cameron Harland

Cameron Harland, Chief Executive

Kia pai tou tatou Matariki! Matariki is an important time in Aotearoa, as it signifies the start of the Māori New Year.

Historically, the rise of Matariki in the winter skies provided the opportunities for communities to come together to acknowledge the year gone by and make plans for the year ahead.

Here at NZ On Air we've been reflecting on what a tumultuous year it has been for our screen and music sectors. It's hard to believe that it's been just two months since we returned to our offices and adjusted to 'the new normal.' It's worth noting that although life seems to be hurtling forward at pace, the impact of Covid-19 will be felt in every corner of our work for a while to come. We want to thank all of our funded creators, platforms and stakeholders again for their resilience - we hope that Matariki offers you the time to also take pause and reflect on your achievements and goals for the future.

We've just concluded our July funding round, which saw a mammoth pile of exceptional applications cross our desks. As well as producing thrilling and memorable stories for local audiences that are unique to Aotearoa, this funding round was an opportunity to provide a kick start to the production sector after the Covid-19 shutdown. Our latest funding round will create roughly 900 jobs in the local production sector over the coming months.

Further opportunities for work will also arise from the additional $50m committed by the government this month to NZ Film Commission and NZ On Air, for high-end drama series and feature films with local and global audience appeal. We are working closely with the Film Commission and MCH to formulate the policy and to create the guidelines for this fund, which we hope to take to the industry in coming months.

We also recently announced a major funding boost of $7.18m to the NZ On Air Music schemes over the next two years, thanks to the Arts Recovery Package. Activity around the New Zealand Music scene seems to be building back up at the moment including the much welcome return of live music. We feel the recent funding boost couldn’t have come at a better time to capitalise on the growing momentum - watch this space!

July saw the release of two key pieces of research for NZ On Air. Our Children's Media Research revealed some fascinating shifts in the way New Zealand tamariki are accessing media, and our 2020 Diversity Report showed a heartening trend of women being consistently well-represented among writers and producers.

However it's clear there is still work to be done to see equal gender representation in directing, more Asian creatives across the board, and more applications from female recording artists. We're doing some serious thinking about what we need to do increase the diversity of talent behind-the-scenes of our funded content, in the meantime we'll continue to work with the screen and music industries to support initiatives that give more opportunities to under-represented groups.

Noho ora mai,


Welcome to the team

Heperi Mita

Heperi speaking at the 2020 Power Of Inclusion Summit

We're delighted to announce that we have a new member joining the NZ On Air team!

Heperi Mita will join our Funding team as an advisor, bringing to our agency his skills and insights as an independent filmmaker, a Māori Collections Archivist, a public speaker, an assessor for the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Māngai Pāho, a Board member of Ngā Aho Whakaari (and junior Board member for NZFC), and an ex-sports journalist.

Heperi is also a passionate advocate for the advancement of diversity and inclusion in Aotearoa’s media industry. We're thrilled to have someone of Heperi’s calibre join our wonderful whānau and look forward to him joining the office in August.

Covid-19 Additional Funding Round

Black Hands

Black Hands, Warner Bros. International Television Production NZ

In June we opened a special Covid-19 round to provide additional funding for projects that have incurred additional costs as a result Covid-19.

This funding will be allocated from the Screen Production Fund that the Government has created to assist planned productions that have been shut down, delayed or constrained by Covid-19 ($2m available in FY19/20 and $8m in FY20/21).


Mystic, Libertine Pictures

NZ On Air has approved funding for the follow 10 projects for up to $649,626.

  • NZ-VR Project South, up to $70,000
  • Inked, up to $60,000
  • Aitu, up to $38,500
  • The Check Up 2, up to $31,200
  • Mystic, up to $30,578
  • Protecting Paradise, up to $22,900
  • Project Six, up to $22,350
  • Black Hands, up to $16,870
  • Code Fun, up to $13,748
  • Wellington Paranormal 2, up to $4,800

Prior to this targeted round three productions affected by Covid-19 were approved additional funding via out of time decisions. These were: Black Hands for up to $360,580, Westside 6 for up to $256,881 (originally approved $444,640 but not all funding was required) and The Māori Economy for up to $32,165.

Platform Initiative Development Contributions

The Platform Initiative is part of the Government media sector support package announced on 23 April 2020 to help media severely impacted by COVID-19 and is intended to provide immediate and urgent support for the media sector.

We have provided some additional guidance for eligible applications to the COVID-19 platform contribution initiative for NZ On Air’s upcoming funding rounds.

This document clarifies how the 80% platform contribution relief will be calculated for projects that have previously received development funding.

Please read the Platform Initiative Development Guidance on our website here.

Digital signatures policy

As part of NZ On Air’s move towards becoming a paperless administration, we are now digitally signing NZ On Air Scripted, Factual & Platform Funding agreements.

Full guidance around this process can be found on our website here.

NZ Media Fund update

Our July round was the first for the 2020/2021 financial year and was focused on Premier Scripted Dramas, Factual productions, Content Development, and annual applications from our Regional Media providers.

More funding was allocated to our July round to support a higher number of productions and alleviate the impacts of Covid-19 on the sector.

In total we received 122 applications across our Scripted, Factual, Platforms and Industry Development streams, seeking just over $73.8m in NZ On Air funding. We are please to support the funding of 56 applications for up to $29.6m.

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.

One Lane Bridge

One Lane Bridge, Great Southern Television


Our July Scripted round saw $16m invested in two new drama series and one successful returning favourite.

The Panthers, Vegas, and One Lane Bridge 2 will all bring powerful local stories to our screens, as well as fire up the local production sector by creating up to 350 jobs.

Read more in the July Scripted media release here.

David Lomas

David Lomas Investigates, Warner Bros. NZ


Contemporary history, music, culture, architecture, and cancer are just some of the many subjects to be explored in 18 new and eight returning informative documentaries green lit in NZ On Air’s funding round this week.

The projects supported in this round will account for the creation of up to 550 jobs over the coming months, contributing to the revitalisation of the local screen sector following the Covid-19 lockdown.

Read more in the July Factual media release here.


Able captioning


NZ On Air is almost doubling the funding to Able - lifting its annual funding from $2.9m to $4.9m next year, thanks to a Budget 2020 funding boost to NZ On Air, for supporting vital public media platforms and services.

Also benefiting from the Budget 2020 funding boost are the National Pacific Radio Trust which will expand its digital content for younger Pacific audiences, the 12 community access radio stations and their online hub, the five funded Student radio stations, which have taken a revenue hit due to Covid-19, and the Digital Media Trust which runs the NZ On Screen and AudioCulture sites.

Read more in the July Platforms media release here.

NZ Media Fund

The below graph indicates the expenditure to date.

% expenditure to date

Current round

Our September funding round is primarily for production applications intended to reflect and/or appeal to targeted audiences* or for HEIHEI Games applications.

Please read the full September 2020 Information for Scripted, Factual and IDF funding applicants here.

Please read the full September 2020 Information for HEIHEI Games applicants here.

September funding round priorities:


  • Genres prioritised include Children's, Documentary, Information, and Events.
  • Projects must be intended for targeted audiences.


  • Genres prioritised include Children's, Drama, and Comedy intended for targeted audiences.
  • Applications for Scripted projects aimed at general audiences will also be considered for sustainable productions and newer storyteller projects - please read our Scripted roadmap for definitions of these categories.

Industry Development Fund

  • To this round we are accepting applications to all three strands of our Industry Development Fund: Professional Development, National Conferences and National Awards.
  • Please see our Development Roadmap for more information.


  • NZ On Air has approximately $300k in this financial year to support the creation of 4 - 6 new games for the HEIHEI Games platform.
  • Given the small number of games able to be funded in this round, applications are strictly limited to two game proposals per production company.

Important dates

3 July 2020, 4pm - Funding round opens.

6 August 2020, 4pm - Application deadline. Round closes.

30 September 2020 - Applicants notified. This date may be extended at NZ On Air's sole discretion.

*For further detail regarding targeted audiences please refer to page 14 of our Funding Strategy.

Music update

New Music Single Panel

Marc Royal, Chris Cudby, Reagan White, Jeff Newton , Yadana Saw, Teresa Patterson and Poppy Tohill

First New Music Single round for the new year

We have just completed the first New Music Single round for the funding year with extra budget to invest in new music thanks to the Arts Recovery Package announced by the Government in late-May.

39 brand new songs were selected by our panel of seven judges – six independent and one NZ On Air representative. New Music Single recipients will now receive a $10,000 grant towards the costs of recording, video content and promotion for their single release, including a newly-introduced 10% artist creation fee.

In another new initiative we are also offering Single funding recipients a $500 added allowance for external professional services to assist with their music work and mentoring with the aim of upskilling and improving artist capability in the music industry.

New Music Kids
New Music Kids funding

The latest New Music Kids funding round is now open with a closing date of 6 August. This year we are planning to invest at least $250,000 on Kids music projects which will be our highest annual investment in children’s music since this scheme began in 2017.

We’d like to acknowledge the assistance of the Kiwi Kids Music collective who have been so supportive of our work in this area to date and also for helping us spread the word!

We’re all very passionate about our tamariki hearing kiwi songs in kiwi accents and lots of te reo Māori in those all-important years of development from pre-school onwards.

We will run two Kids music rounds in 2020/21 – this one closing on 6 August and another round closing in mid-January 2021. Details on New Music Kids can be found on our website here.


L.A.B perform at Spark Arena

L.A.B. at Spark Arena

We want to congratulate chart-topping band L.A.B. who sold out Spark Arena with a huge show at the beginning of this month. It was the only arena show in the world at the time and wonderful to see the live music scene in Aotearoa kick back into action after some very uncertain and difficult months through the lockdown period.

Music fans across the country are feeling very fortunate to be able to go out and experience live music once again, although overseas touring opportunities look to be off the cards for a long time yet. L.A.B. have been supported throughout their three album journey with Project-funding from NZ On Air. Earlier this year they had a number one single with In The Air – the first NZ number one single since Lorde’s Green Light in 2017.

Industry Awards

nztv awards

The Wellington Paranormal team at the 2020 NZ TV Awards

Both the screen and music industries have shown immense resilience and creativity in rolling with the Covid-19 punches this year, which is why we think it's important to say thank you to everyone who had a part in creating the local content that's kept New Zealanders entertained!

We want to ensure both the screen and music sectors are still able to get together and celebrate their phenomenal work, so we've stepped up our sponsorship support for this year's New Zealand Television Awards and New Zealand Music Awards.

This year's NZ TV Awards will see the Gala and Craft ceremonies combined into one celebratory event on Wednesday November 18 at Shed 10 in Auckland. Nominations are open now, tickets will go on sale September 30.

Roll out the red carpet and sequins, the New Zealand Music Awards will also return in 2020! Keep an eye out for tickets to be released later in the year.

Meet the team

Cameron Harland

Cameron Harland, Chief Executive

Meet Cameron, our Chief Executive and leader of the NZ On Air whānau!

With an extensive background in the screen, sports and marketing sectors, Cam brings a wealth of industry experience and insights to our team, as well as an incredible recall of niche rugby stats.

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

Funding Decisions


Vegas, 6 x 44 mins, Greenstone TV for TVNZ 2, up to $5,680,000 + Platform contribution relief of $336,000* An action thriller following a young, untested leader who wants to free his people from the curse of methamphetamine, but finds he can’t do it on his own.

One Lane Bridge 2, 5 x 44 mins, Great Southern Television for TVNZ 1, up to $5,443,121 + Platform contribution relief of $300,000*. Detective Ariki Davis is exposed to the seductive power of corruption as a cataclysmic chain of events unleashes fierce rivalries in picturesque Queenstown.

The Panthers, 6 x 44 mins, Four Knights Film for TVNZ 1, up to $5,500,000 + Platform contribution relief of $336,000*. A dramatisation of the founding of the Polynesian Panthers during Robert Muldoon’s rise to power. The Auckland street-gang turned political revolutionaries fought against the racial discrimination sweeping New Zealand in the mid 70’s.



Match Fit, 4 x 44 mins, Pango Productions for Three, up to $1,072,490 + Platform contribution relief of $198,000*. A documentary series that uses the vehicle of rugby to explore some of the biggest issues for Aotearoa’s male population.

Project Brave, 3 x 44 mins, Storymaker for Prime, up to $877,300 + Platform contribution relief of $72,000*. A docudrama that explores New Zealand's resilience in a world of escalating future threats.

A Question Of Justice, 4 x 45 mins, Red Sky Film & Television for Prime, up to $840,970 + platform contribution relief of $96,000*. A team of seven investigators take a case study approach to examining four major justice issues within New Zealand.

Designing Dreams, 6 x 44 mins, Imagination Television for Prime, up to $750,284 + Platform contribution relief of $96,000*. Top architects visit New Zealand's most exceptional homes and discuss the future for New Zealand housing

Black Magic, 1 x 65 mins, Rogue Productions for TVNZ 1, up to $422,580 + Platform contribution relief of $78,000*. The story of the humble heroes who took New Zealand to the world stage with the biggest homecoming parade the country has ever seen.

Scribe – The Return of the Crusader, 8 x 12 mins, TheDownlowconcept for TVNZ OnDemand, up to $464,312 + Platform contribution relief of $41,272*. Fame, money, drugs, domestic abuse, mental illness, prison, rehab. Scribe has been through it all. Now he's clean, working on a comeback album and ready to stand up.

Waitangi General, 7 x 26 mins, Black Iris for Māori Television, up to $374,850. A documentary series about life in the Chatham Islands’, told through the lens of the local general store.

The Gangs…12 Years Later, 2 x 45 mins, SunPix for Three, up to $311,832 + Platform contribution relief of $88,000*. An examination of how much the gang landscape has changed since 2008, when journalist Pam Corkery investigated local gangs and their impact on New Zealand society.

The Collective, 8 x 10 mins, Boxed Media for RNZ, up to $264,274. A docuseries following the triumphs and the hardships of five rangatahi as they work toward the performance of a lifetime.

Lease On Life, 1 x 44 mins, Occasional Productions for Prime, up to $232,880 + Platform contribution relief of $12,500*. The story of David Downs whose terminal cancer was cured by immunotherapy, and who is now helping others struggling with the disease.

The Single Object, 5 x 7 mins, Hexwork Productions for The Spinoff, up to $187,833. A series that tells stories about New Zealand culture, through examining the everyday objects that surround us.

A Living Hell: Apartment Disasters, 1 x 44 mins, E2 Productions for Prime, up to $179,133 + Platform contribution relief of $16,000*. This investigation lifts the lid on one of New Zealand's worst building disasters, the shocking state of our apartment blocks.

Legacy, 1 x 52 mins, Brave Star Media for Māori Television, up to $153,000. An intimate, observational and at times humorous toe-tapping portrait of the band KATCHAFIRE.

Loko, 5 x 12 mins, Useful Media for NZ Herald, up to $142,469 + Platform contribution relief of $6,420*. The rise and fall and subsequent redemption of NZ Hip Hop artist KD Lok, aka Matty Paparoa.

One For the Boys: Modern Day Masculinity in Aotearoa, 5 x 15 mins, Re: for Re:, up to $133,143 + Platform contribution relief of $60,768*. A frank, accessible, non-judgmental look into what it means to be a man in modern day Aotearoa.

When A City Rises – The People’s Story, 1 x 66 mins, Frank Film for TVNZ 1, up to $67,580 + Platform contribution relief of $66,000*. A follow up to When A City Falls, this documentary will mark the 10th anniversary of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Once A Panther, 6 x 50 mins, Stuff for Stuff, up to $22,522 + Platform contribution relief of $89,230*. The true stories of the six Polynesian men who established the Polynesian Panther Party in 1970s New Zealand.


David Lomas Investigates 2, 12 x 44 mins, Warner Bros. TV Production NZ for Three, up to $1,100,818 + Platform contribution relief of $198,000*. Journalist David Lomas travels the country to solve diverse and complex New Zealand mysteries, reuniting people and discovering lost family heritage.

I Am…3, 6 x 44 mins, Screentime NZ for TVNZ 1, up to $770,236 + Platform contribution relief of $288,000*. Six New Zealanders share their emotional first-hand accounts of what it means to be different.

Country Calendar 2021, 40 x 23 mins, TVNZ for TVNZ 1, up to $573,537 + Platform contribution relief of $472,648* A documentary series that profiles New Zealanders who make their living from the land or sea.

NZ Wars: The Stories of Waikato, 1 x 45 mins, Great Southern Television for RNZ, up to $484,922. The next chapter in the award-winning NZ Wars documentary series.

Patrick Gower On….2 (additional eps), 2 x 44 mins, Ruckus Media for Three, up to $447,124 + Platform contribution relief of $58,000*. These additional episodes will look at the climate crisis and New Zealand's binge drinking culture.

Circuit 2, 2 x 30 mins, Stuff for Stuff, up to $214,000 + Platform contribution relief of $188,760* Investigative documentaries that promise to probe, analyse and uncover an issue of vital importance to New Zealand Society.

New Zealand Music Awards 2020, 1 x 88 mins + 1 x 88 mins, Mediaworks TV for Three and The Edge, up to $213,860 + Platform contribution relief of $31,520*. Coverage from Spark Arena and packed with loads of your favourite artists, this is a night to celebrate Aotearoa’s local music successes.

Matangireia 2, 16 x 45 mins + 16 x 27 mins, Aotearoa Media Collective for RNZ and Māori Television, up to $198,000. A second series of conversations that explore the political legacies of former Māori MPs.


Frank – Changing South 3, 22 x 5 mins, Frank Film for Frank Film, up to $340,891

Haukainga 2020/21, 80 x 3 mins + 344 x 10, Te Reo Irirangi O Te Hiku O Te Ika (Inc), up to $200,000

Local Focus 2020/21, 320 x 3 mins, Very Nice Productions Ltd for NZ Herald, up to $420,800

Southern Lens 2, 22 x 4 mins, Southern Community Media Trust for Crux, up to $199,780

The South Today 2020/21, 960 x 1 min, Allied Press for Allied Press, up to $400,000

Industry Development

APRA Silver Scroll Awards 2020, APRA, up to $30,000

New Zealand Music Awards 2019, Recordedmusic.co.nz, up to $250,000.

NZ Television Awards 2020, J & A Productions, up to $150,000

Show Me Shorts 2020, Show Me Shorts Film Festival Trust, up to $3,000.

The NZ Music Producer Series 2020, Greg Haver, up to $10,000.

Emerging Storytellers (Scripted), Pan-Asian Screen Collective, up to $39,450

Share The Knowledge, Firefly Films, up to $10,000


New Music Project

Alae, Commotion, up to $22,640

Chaii, Delete, up to $24,000

Georgia Lines, Commotion, up to $40,000

High Hoops, Success Ain't Limited (T/A Worldpeace.FYI), up to $40,000

Kings, NicNak Media/Archangel Entertainment, up to $39,120

Louis Baker, Aston Road, up to $32,000

One Love All-Stars, 1979 Management Ltd, up to $40,000

Shihad, Warner Music NZ, up to $40,000

Thomston, Goldie Management, up to $40,000


Additional funding details for 2020/21 year*:

TV Captioning and Audio Description, Media Access Charitable Trust (Able), up to $2,000,000

National Pacific Radio Trust Operational Funding (NPRT), National Pacific Radio Trust, up to $560,000

National Pacific Radio Trust Capital Funding(NPRT), National Pacific Radio Trust, up to $330,000

Samoa Capital Radio Capital Funding, Siufofoga O Le Laumua Trust, up to $69,907

Student Radio Network (SRN), funding amount TBC

Access Radio Taranaki, Access Radio Taranaki Trust, up to $40,000

Arrow FM, Access Radio Wairarapa Charitable Trust, up to $27,000

Coast Access Radio, Coast Access Radio Trust, up to $25,000

Free FM, Waikato Community Broadcasting, up to $35,000

Fresh FM, Tasman Broadcasting Trust, up to $27,000

Manawatu People's Radio, Manawatu Access Radio Charitable Trust, up to $30,000

Otago Access Radio, Hills Radio Trust, up to $35,000

Plains FM, The Canterbury Communications Trust, up to $35,000

Planet FM 104.6, Access Community Radio Auckland, up to $46,000

Radio Kidnappers, Radio Kidnappers Charitable Trust, up to $30,000

Radio Southland, Southland Community Broadcasters Charitable Trust, up to $30,000

Wellington Access Radio 106.1FM, Wellington Access Broadcasting Society, up to $45,000

*the balance of the $6.25m funding for platforms for Year 1 remains in a contestable capital fund available to the existing platforms for infrastructure/capital upgrades

The May 2020 Budget allocated NZ On Air an additional $6.25m over four years ($25m) for sustaining crucial public media platforms. This was in response to a cost pressures budget bid that was submitted last year.