A note from the CEO


It's been a whirlwind start to the year with a huge amount of really important work going on.

We started the year farewelling Jane Wrightson after 12-plus years in the CEO role. Since her departure I've been keeping the seat warm, and keeping the work ticking over. We announced on Monday that Cameron Harland has been appointed as the new CEO. You can read more about Cameron in the Media Release we issued, and in his message below. I speak for all staff and the Board in saying that we are really looking forward to Cameron joining our whānau.

One of the important pieces of work going on at present is the project to look at Strong Public Media. We are involved in this project, providing input to the business case for a new public media entity, how this might interact with NZ On Air's funding model, and also thinking wider about the rest of the public media eco-system. While the business case development process is necessarily a fairly closed process at this point, I can assure you there is wider engagement planned, and in the meantime we are ensuring the voice of private and community media is heard.

Ensuring voices are heard is an important role for public media. It has been moving this week to watch and listen to some of the content we funded to mark a year since the March 15 terror attacks. The kaupapa for this mahi was all about ensuring the stories were authentically and sensitively told. Thank you to the content creators and talent, many of whom who were personally affected by this tragedy, for allowing New Zealanders to understand and support our Muslim community in this way.

Like most prudent organisations in New Zealand, we are ensuring we have robust business continuity plans should the current Coronovirus (COVID 19) outbreak become more widespread here. We are fortunate to have very flexible systems and processes, and we can continue to ensure applications are considered, and funds paid out even if we were to have few or no people physically in the office for a time.

Many of our staff are off to Big Screen Symposium in Auckland next month, where they will enjoy catching up with many of you. We have a plenary session at the BSS and I am very pleased to inform that new CEO Cameron Harland will be fronting this, setting out some of our plans for the coming year.

It has been an honour to fill in for the past couple of months – ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa for all the support during this transition time.

Noho ora mai

Clare Helm (Acting CEO)

Introducing Cameron Harland, CEO

Cameron Harland

Kia ora tātou,

I am so thrilled and excited to be joining NZ On Air. It is a real privilege to follow in Jane Wrightson's footsteps. I’d like to acknowledge her work and that of her staff and the Board for the fundamental role the agency has and continues to play in reflecting and developing New Zealand identity and culture. I’d also like to acknowledge Clare Helm who has ably led the organisation through a period of transition. I am really looking forward to working with her and the team.

As I look ahead over the coming months, my key areas of focus will be very much based around getting out and meeting as many people as I can and to get an understanding of each of the sectors; spending some quality time with our staff, to understand their roles, responsibilities and pressure points; and of course, alongside other key staff members, jumping into the Strong Public Media work stream to ensure we achieve the best possible outcome for New Zealand audiences and the sector.

It is an extremely exciting and challenging time to be joining NZ On Air. There is so much to be proud and optimistic about but at the same time the challenges faced by our local platforms, production and music sectors are obvious to see. We must see this as an opportunity to come together and collaborate on long term positive impacts for New Zealand audiences.

Mā te wā


Platforms Contribution - Draft Policy Paper

In November 2019 NZ On Air issued a Discussion paper to inform a review of Platform Contributions. Given the competing tensions described in the paper, the sharp increase in applications submitted and funded in the past two years, and the emergence of new digital platforms seeking to stream and produce local video content, NZ On Air needs to clarify guidelines and expectations of platform contributions.

The below document summarises the public feedback NZ On Air received. In consideration of that feedback the below paper then outlines a proposed approach that will form NZ On Air’s first official Platform Contributions policy, designed to clarify our expectations.

We welcome any new feedback based on the proposed approach outlined in this paper. Please email feedback to hilaire@nzonair.govt.nz by Friday 3 April. Following consideration of the feedback we will confirm and publish a Platform Contributions Policy which will take effect from 1 July 2020.

In addition to that paper we have also produced a document which clarifies NZ On Air’s expectations around acceptable budget/line-items for funded projects. That budget expectations document is available here.

NZ Media Fund update

Stan Walker

Our March 2020 round was closed to general production applications due to pressure on funds. Applications accepted into this round included:

  • Full proposals from the eight projects shortlisted for the NZ On Air/Te Māngai Pāho Factual co-fund
  • Development applications for existing Scripted projects and significant Factual projects
  • Industry Development applications for successful returning initiatives

In total, we received 19 applications seeking nearly $3.2m in NZ On Air funding. We are delighted to support 17 projects for nearly $2m.

We're thrilled to have partnered with Te Māngai Pāho to support six compelling new factual series that will bring more te reo Māori into prime time.

Made for a variety of audiences, the stories aim to engage individuals in an informative and inclusive way, using a range of levels of te reo to widen audience’s understanding of te ao Māori.

Learn more about the six NZ On Air / Te Māngai Pāho Māori co-funded projects, National Treasures, Ake Ake Ake!, Kī Mai Āe, The Māori In Me, The Walkers and Hongi To Hāngī: And Everything In Between, by reading the full media release here.

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

There are tight restrictions on the new applications we are accepting to this round. This is the last funding round for the current financial year and 94% of the combined Factual and Scripted budget has been committed.

If you do intend to make an application to this round please ensure it has been submitted by 4pm, March 19th 2020.

Please read the full May 2020 round information for applicants - Scripted, Factual, Industry Development Fund here.

Please read the full May 2020 round information for applicants - Platforms here.

May funding round priorities


  • There is approximately $2.2m available for general Factual applications. Taking into consideration the type of projects already funded and the level of funding available in the current financial year this round is open for projects that fit within the Fresh Opportunities strand of our Factual Roadmap.
  • We will consider a small number of shortlisted returning HEIHEI Children’s applications. These applicants have been informed to submit their applications to a closed HEIHEI funding round.
  • Development applications for complex Factual projects that require significant research and that are co-funded by the supporting platform will be accepted in this round.


  • No general Scripted production applications will be accepted.
  • We will consider a small number of shortlisted returning HEIHEI Children’s applications. These applicants have been informed to submit their applications to a closed HEIHEI funding round.
  • We will only be accepting Development applications for existing Scripted projects that have platform support that are applying for advanced development.


  • Applications from platforms seeking annual operating expenses for the 2020/21 financial year will be considered in the May funding round.

Music update


L.A.B. hit Number One on the Singles chart

The first New Zealand number one single of the decade is In The Air by L.A.B. which has steadily climbed to the top spot on the Official Top 40 Singles chart over the past 4 weeks. This is the chart that is based on ‘sales’ – which these days is mostly made up of streaming activity. The L.A.B. track in the past week was not only the number one single, it was also the most played song on NZ radio in the past week, and reached Platinum status.

Congratulations to the band and their independent label LOOP for a huge achievement. NZ On Air has supported L.A.B. with Project funding for their last three albums, and we’re thrilled to see this achievement - especially in the streaming era where it is much more challenging for local songs to hit the top spot. The last number one Single in the NZ charts was Green Light by Lorde in 2017.

Watch the video for the number one single by L.A.B. here.


SongHubs 2020

NZ On Air was once again very proud to support the APRA SongHubs initiative through our Industry Development Fund.
The song-writing workshops took place at Roundhead Studios in Auckland last week, and featured a group of 4 high profile Swedish song-writers who worked with local artists and producers to create an incredible set of brand new songs.

Local artists involved included Amila, Finn Andrews, Rob Ruha, Lexxa, Kings, CHAII, Paige, Lepani, Foley, Jon Lemmon and more. The local producer/engineers included Devin Abrams, Missy, Wells*, Will Henderson and Rory Noble. We’re looking forward to seeing some of these amazing tracks being released in the coming months.

Also a huge thank you to producer Greg Haver who is now stepping down from the SongHubs curation role after an incredibly successful run with the project since it started in 2016.

New Music Pasifika and New Music Kids rounds 2020

We’re pleased to announce that we will again be running special focus rounds for Pasifika artists (New Music Pasifika) and Children’s music makers (New Music Kids) in 2020.

Details of these rounds will be published on our website later this month and music stakeholders will be advised when these rounds are open for applications. The New Music Pasifika deadline will be in May, while the New Music Kids deadline will be in August this year.

The Professional Respect Training Project

ScreenSafe/SWAG have recently launched The Screen Industry Professional Respect Training Project – an initiative developed to support the new health & safety guidelines around harassment, and in response to feedback from successful pilot training workshops.

The course will address sexual harassment and bullying prevention, definitions, disclosures, and respectful behaviours in the workplace. While it is designed primarily for Producers, Directors, and Heads of Departments, it is open to anyone from the screen industry.

The first five training workshops across the country are 100% subsidised by NZ Film Commission, NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho to ensure there are no barriers to practitioners participating in this valuable and important training.

Upcoming dates are below. All participants will receive a ScreenSafe Professional Respect Training certification.

Workshop dates 2020:

Friday 20 March, Wellington

Friday 1 May, Auckland

Friday 8 May, Queenstown

Friday 22 May, Christchurch

To secure your seat, please read the full media release below and email your details to workshops@screenguild.co.nz

Big Screen Symposium


Script to Screen and janda productions are thrilled to announce the Big Screen Symposium is returning to Auckland from April 3 - 4 at the ASB Waterfront Theatre.

Industry concessions are available for members of industry organisations including: AAANZ, Equity New Zealand, DEGNZ, Ngā Aho Whakaari, Pan Asian Screen Collective, NZAPG, NZ Cinematographers Society, NZ Writers Guild, Screen Composers Guild, Screen Industry Guild, Stunt Guild of NZ, SPADA and WIFT NZ.

Tickets for the Big Screen Symposium are on sale now, book here.

Meet the team


Steven Gannaway, Funding Assessor

Meet Steven, our Funding Assessor who moonlights as a professional data geek (his words not ours!)

Previously the Executive Director of the New Zealand Writers Guild for over eight years, Steven is one of those rare people who can utilise both hemispheres of his brain. As a Funding Assessor Steven assesses applications, reads scripts and makes recommendations, while as an analyst he makes and runs custom data analysis tools that keep track of our current and previous funding.

Steven has been with NZ On Air for almost a year and in that time has brought new meaning to the popular CV phrase 'proficient in Excel.' All hail the spreadsheet master.

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

Funding decisions

Combined NZ On Air / Te Māngai Pāho Funding Details

Ake, Ake, Ake! 3 x 52 mins, Scottie Douglas Productions for Māori Television, up to $697,562. The story of a new generation of protest told via a deeply personal account of Ihumātao.

Hongi To Hāngī: And Everything In Between, 3 x 44 mins, Great Southern Television for TVNZ 1, up to $380,502. An entertaining and insightful guide to understanding Māori customs, concepts and traditions.

Kī Mai Āe, 8 x 23 mins, Great Southern Television for TVNZ 1, up to $524,908. An uplifting new observational documentary series following the trials and tribulations of six Māori marriage celebrants.

National Treasures, 4 x 45 mins, Pango Productions for TVNZ 1, up to $1,230,164. A multi-platform series that invites New Zealanders to share their personal taonga at filmed roadshows across Aotearoa.

The Māori In Me, 1 x 44 mins, Cabrikaan Productions for Prime, up to $210,712. This documentary will explore the lives of three successful internationally based rangatahi (youth) who feel displaced from their Māori culture.

The Walkers, 6 x 23 mins, Hi Mama for TVNZ 2, up to $623,610. Explores the life of high-profile musician Stan Walker and his whānau.


New Music Project

Daily J, NicNak Media, up to $30,000

French For Rabbits, Native Tongue Music Publishing, up to 17, 160

Hollie Smith, NicNak Media, up to $30,000

Navvy, Page One Management, up to $30,000

Stan Walker, Sony Music Entertainment, up to $30,000

New Music Single

Bexy, Stay The Night, up to 8,000

Black Smoke Trigger, You Can Have It All, up to 8,000

Silas Futura, Precious, up to 8,000

Cecily, Red Flags, up to 8,000

Connor Mac, Spaceman, up to 8,000

Die! Die! Die! I Seek Misery, up to 8,000

Dog Power, Cab Driver, up to 8,000

Edy, Let Me In, up to 8,000

George, Same Things, up to 8,000

Gino October, No Hook, up to 8,000

Ha The Unclear, Strangers In Elevators, up to 8,000

Ives. Fallin' For You, up to 8,000

Jed Parsons, She's The One, up to 8,000

Katie Thompson, It Ain't Easy, up to 8,000

Lost Tribe Aotearoa, Wicked Man, up to 8,000

Luke Buda, Who Would Want To Be Lonely, up to 8,000

Marina Davis, Le Ava/Matagi, up to 8,000

Marlin's Dreaming, Outwards Crying, up to 8,000

Merk, Deep Dive, up to 8,000

Mo Muse, All The Kids, up to 8,000

Team Dynamite, Who, up to 8,000

The Beths, Don't Go Away, up to 8,000

Trei, Magma ft. Jabz MC, up to 8,000

Toi, Thinking Too Much, up to 8,000

Mazbou Q, Your Shine ft. Kevin Posey, up to 8,000

Valkyrie, Good Thing, up to 8,000

Wells, Depressed, up to 8,000

Womb, Used To Be, up to 8,000

Industry Development Fund

NZ Radio Awards 2020, Radio Broadcasters Association, up to $7,500

Pacific Music Awards 2020, Pacific Music Awards Trust, up to $24,000

Māoriland Film Festival, Māoriland Charitable Trust, up to $4,000

WeCreate 2020, WeCreate Incorporated, up to $10,000

NZ Music Regional Upskilling Seminar 2020, Music Managers Forum, up to $10,000

Songhubs Auckland 2020, APRA, up to $25,000