NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho have announced funding for a new six episode anthology series set to explore supernatural stories of Māori, Pasifika, and Filipino cultures.

The new scripted series will screen during prime-time on TVNZ 2, and support six storytelling teams in amplifying their voices and cultures to a variety of audiences across the motu.

Two of the episodes, Albularyo: The Witch Doctor, and 26:29, were funded through the NZ On Air Newer Storytellers fund.

Four of the episodes, From The Mist / Te Pao o te Patupaiarehe, Tappy, Taumanu, and Te Āo Mārama were funded through the NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho co-fund. More information on the other projects funded through this co-fund can be found here.

The projects selected for the series include:

Albularyo: The Witch Doctor: When a Kiwi-Filipino doctor discovers that her deceased grandmother has become a manananggal, a corrupted witch, she must face up to her troubled youth and make peace with her estranged brother before they both suffer the bloody consequences.

26:29: A group of millennial vloggers enter an abandoned church in Auckland and uncover the truth of its mysterious past in this found footage horror.

Tappy: A displaced young man and his reluctant ghostly companion confront love, loss, and abuse on an unlikely road trip together when he is sent to steal a dead body.

From The Mist / Te Pao o te Patupaiarehe: Two soon-to-be lovers are drawn together by song but divided by the friction between the human world and the world of the Patupaiarehe.

Taumanu: In 1929, a toi moko is delivered to a colonial manor house and when mysterious Māori twins arrive to reclaim it, the head butler, Tīpene, finds himself drawn into the bloody climax of a century of utu.

Te Āo Mārama: Te Āo Mārama shares the story of a glamourous, ball-breaking, recently deceased wahine, who threatens to haunt her neighbour if he doesn’t help her pass over to the afterlife.

NZ On Air’s Chief Executive Cam Harland says, “Aotearoa is home to a wealth of cultures, all of which should be reflected on our screens. NZ On Air is excited to support this new anthology series, which will increase cultural diversity in prime-time in a thrilling new way.”

“We’re particularly proud that one of the projects Albularyo: The Witch Doctor, will be the first time the Filipino language, Tagalog, will feature in a prime-time drama on a mainstream local channel” he continues.

“We are honoured to be a part of this unique initiative. Of course, we are pleased to be able to support four Māori drama productions, but we are delighted that our bi-cultural nation recognises and supports diverse voices within Aotearoa. Ngā mihi maioha ki Te Reo Tātaki, otirā ki ngā tira waihanga kaupapa whakaari katoa” says Kaihautū of Te Māngai Pāho, Larry Parr.

“Te Reo Tātaki (TVNZ) is committed to reflecting the diverse communities, people and perspectives that make up Aotearoa. We’re thrilled that this anthology series elevates Māori, Pasifika and Asian creators and provides them with the opportunity to bring their stories to screen in prime-time as well as OnDemand. We’re excited for audiences to benefit from this unique kaupapa” says TVNZ General Manager for Local Content Nevak Rogers.

“Te Reo Tātaki would like to acknowledge the generous support of Robin Scholes, Lisa Chatfield, Steven Zanoski and Tina Archibald – the Consulting Executives who provided mentorship to the teams through the development of their scripts and proposals” she continued.

Funding details

Funded through the NZ On Air Newer Storytellers fund

Albularyo: The Witch Doctor, 1 x 22 mins, The Hot House for TVNZ 2, up to $500,057.

26:29, 1 x 22 mins, Tusitala Media for TVNZ 2, up to $500,000.

Funded through the NZ On Air / Te Māngai Pāho co-fund

Tappy, 1 x 22 mins, Steambox Collective Charitable Trust, up to $500,000.00.

From The Mist / Te Pao o te Patupaiarehe, 1 x 22 mins, 10000 Company Ltd, up to $508,055.00.

Taumanu, 1 x 22 mins, Sweetshop and Green Ltd, up to $500,836.00.

Te Āo Mārama, 1 x 22 mins, Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions Ltd, up to $546,327.

For further information:

NZ On Air

Sophie Howard

Phone: 021 125 2809


Te Māngai Pāho

Holly Bennett

Mobile: 021 843 454