A note from the CEO

NZ On Air 30th Supergroup

30th Birthday 'supergroup'

With no cake and only a little fanfare, we have turned 30! We marked the occasion with a small function at Government House in Auckland last week. You may have seen some pics on social media from the event, generously hosted by Her Excellency, the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy. (Yes, that IS the honourable Minister of Broadcasting Kris Faafoi joining the band of notable musicians.) Our thanks to the Minister for being such a good sport.

I do wish I could personally thank everyone who has contributed over the three decades to the content that has kept New Zealand media full of great local stories and songs. The honour roll is incredibly long and ever growing. You are all very much appreciated – without you there would be no us. And without us there would be a much narrower range of New Zealand public media in fewer places, and considerably less of it.

We are currently putting the final touches on our 2018/19 Annual Report, and some of the numbers are quite startling. In particular, we saw an 82% increase in Scripted and Factual applications, in large part driven by the additional RFPs associated with the RNZ/NZ On Air Joint Innovation Fund. This fund alone produced in excess of 50 projects additional to our usual funding rounds.

So not only was it a busy year for us, it was clearly a very busy time for all of you. In Music we were also busier, with an extra RFP to find music by Pasifika artists, and another dedicated children's music round.

And now we are full steam ahead in the new financial year. We are now signalling ahead of each round roughly how much funding is available, to make the year less 'lumpy' for you and our funding team. We hope this new approach helps you to pitch your ideas when they are ready, not too early because you fear the money might run out.

There's an excellent range of great public media coming from this round. It was especially pleasing to see three strong new drama series, as well as a huge range of important factual stories for many different target audiences. And if you haven’t checked out Funny As: The History Of NZ Comedy on TVNZ 1 and TVNZ On Demand, you really should.

Kia pai to koutou rā


NZ Media Fund update

July round overview - around $32m committed

Our first round of the financial year is off to a bumper start!

As usual, the size and calibre of all the proposals was extremely high - we received 104 General Factual, Scripted, Regional Media and Industry Development applications seeking over $64.7m. We funded 50 projects for up to $32m.

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


Westside will be back for a final season

Round highlights

From an incredibly strong pool of applications we have supported 22 Factual projects and seven Scripted, as well as five Regional Media projects in our July funding round.

We are particularly excited to be able to support three dramas in prime time from this round, One Lane Bridge, Toke and Head High. Each project embraces an intensely local aspect of New Zealand culture that we are sure will win over audiences with its relatability and uniquely Kiwi charm.

Speaking of winning over audiences, the ever-popular 7 Days and Westside each received funding this round, and will celebrate being the longest running funded comedy and drama shows in Aotearoa in the coming year.

Survival was a strong theme in a number of documentaries in our July round. Two documentaries following survivors of the March 15th Mosque attacks, We Are One - The Mosque Attacks One Year On and Nine Bullets have received funding, providing personal perspectives on the horrific events and encouraging further understanding and kōrero.

Other projects funded in this round include a continuation of Regional Media support, the details of which can be found at the end of this newsletter. The working locations of our eight local democracy reporters, funded as part of our new joint initiative with RNZ and the Newspaper Publishers' Association to boost civic journalism, will be announced shortly.

factual roadmap

This was the first funding round since releasing the Factual Roadmap, which outlines our approach to investing in factual content. Here's an example of that roadmap in action; see how we categorise these funded projects:

Premier stories: Friend To The Friendless, a docudrama about the work of criminal lawyer Greg King, who defended Ewen Macdonald in one of New Zealand's most notorious court cases.

Many perspectives: The Māori Economy, a Rautaki series that explores how the billion dollar Māori economy works, and who it works for.

Fresh opportunities: He'll Be Right, a podcast and multimedia series that explores gender roles, mental health, hyper-masculinity and how to be a 'modern man.'

Quality journalism: The Lost Children Of Aotearoa, an investigation of the impact of Māori children being incarcerated and abused in state care.

Music update


2019 Vodafone NZ Music Awards

The Vodafone NZ Music Awards are the biggest night in Aotearoa music celebrating the achievements of our most talented artists, and NZ On Air is very proud to be once again supporting these Awards.

The Vodafone NZ Music Awards are open to New Zealand artists who have had recordings commercially released between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019. Just a reminder that nominations close next Friday 2 August at 5pm!
Enter your nomination here. Read the full terms & conditions here.

Silver Scroll 2019

2019 APRA Silver Scroll Top 20

The APRA Silver Scroll 20 finalist songs were recently announced, and what a treasure trove of incredible waiata!

We were pleased to see the large majority of the finalist songs and artists had received NZ On Air funding support.

All APRA members are invited to vote on their favourite by Thursday 1 August. The top five will be announced in the coming weeks and the APRA Silver Scroll Award event will take place in October. Have a listen through our playlist of the Top 20 songs here.

BSA research on nudity

BSA logo

On Wednesday the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) released their research into how depictions of nudity on screen in different scenarios may impact or harm children and young people.

The BSA wanted to know what potential harms arise, and how broadcasters, the BSA and parents/caregivers can mitigate such harms and support youth as they navigate the pervasive media environment. Read the fascinating key insights and full research here.

The BSA have also recently released their annual Litmus Testing research report on what the public thinks about some of the BSA’s recent decisions on nudity on screen. The decisions considered complaints about Naked Attraction, Shortland Street, Embarrassing Bodies and East West East and is available to read in full here.

Meet the team


Jeff Newton, Music Promoter - Platforms

Meet Jeff, our Music Promoter tasked with getting incredible New Zealand music into the ears of Kiwis via radio stations, streaming platforms and any way he can!

Jeff has been a part of the NZ On Air Music team since 2012 and in that time has seen and facilitated the growth of many iconic New Zealand artists.

Learn more about Jeff and his role at NZ On Air here.

Funding decisions



One Lane Bridge, 6 x 44 mins, Great Southern Television for TVNZ 1, up to $5,470,000. A crime drama steeped in Māori spirituality following a young detective whose unique gift of matakite (second sight) both helps and hinders his ability to solve a murder.

Head High, 6 x 44 mins, South Pacific Pictures for Three, up to $3,883,000. A gripping, multi-cultural drama with a Māori family at its core, this series follows the emotional and highly competitive world of secondary school rugby.

Toke, 1 x 90 mins, Screentime NZ for Three, up to $2,195,000. A drama special centred on three kiwifruit workers who discover a new strain of marijuana and are drawn into the high stakes world of the global cannabis industry.

The Tender Trap, 1 x 90 mins, Greenstone TV for TVNZ 1, up to $2,265,588. A telefeature based on the true story of a middle-aged New Zealander arrested in Argentina with 5kg of cocaine in her suitcase.

Standup Aotearoa, 2 x 44 mins, TVNZ for TVNZ 2 , up to $74,802. A two-part comedy special showcases some of New Zealand’s best and newest comedy talents flexing their funny bones before a studio audience.


Westside 6, 8 x 44 mins, South Pacific Pictures for Three, up to $6,495,000. The story of Ted, Rita, Wolf and Cheryl continues into the 90’s, finally meeting the beginning of Outrageous Fortune.

7 Days 2020, 32 x 32 mins, MediaWorks for Three, up to $1,220,000. The much-loved comedy panel show on Three is back for 2020, celebrating its 10th anniversary.



Friend To The Friendless, 1 x 66 mins, Production Shed TV for TVNZ 1, up to $1,095,385. The work of criminal lawyer Greg King, who defended Ewen Macdonald in one of New Zealand’s most notorious court cases.

Project Six, 1 x 67 mins, Emmeline Pictures for TVNZ 1, up to $1,078,741. A docudrama that looks back from #MeToo to the history of sexual politics, sexual harassment and social change in NZ.

Munted, 7 x 8 mins, Fairfax NZ for Stuff, up to $36,490. A first person analysis and alternative history of the Canterbury earthquakes, aftermath and recovery.

The Definitive History of New Zealand Hip Hop, 6 x 30 mins podcast, MediaWorks Radio for Mai FM, up to $49,800. Hip Hop pioneer DJ Sir-vere delves deep into the history of Hip Hop in NZ, from its inception to the current day.

He’ll Be Right, 6 x 20 mins, Bird Of Paradise Productions for Stuff, up to $74,666. A podcast and multimedia series exploring masculinity and how to be a modern man.

Our Air Force – Then & Now, 1 x 46 mins, Homegrown Television for Prime, up to $126,621. The joy and jeopardy of NZ military pilots, from then (WW2) to now. For ANZAC day 2020.

Help Is On The Way, 1 x 45 mins, Whisky Tango Foxtrot for Prime, up to $139,325. The unforgettable story of 36 people trapped on the upper floors of the Grand Chancellor Hotel after the February 22nd, 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Nine Bullets, 7 x 6 mins, Frank Film for Stuff, up to $161,342. What is it like to be shot nine times and live? Temei survived the March 15th terror attack but now must recover from his injuries, cope with his grief and try to keep his business afloat.

Misconceptions, 10 x 6 mins, Digital Alchemist for NZ Herald, up to $169,182. A myth-busting webseries about miscarriage that will equip people with the tools they need when they or their loved ones experience miscarriage.

We Are One – The Mosque Attacks One Year On, 1 x 44 mins, Paua Productions for TVNZ 1, up to$174,805. The story of some of those most affected by the Mosque attacks in their first year after the event, as they adjust to the inevitable changes brought into their lives.

The Māori Economy, 10 x 6 mins, Hinge Productions for Newsroom NZ, up to $179,401. The Māori economy, how it works and who it works for. Go beyond the headlines to see how this $50 billion entity functions.

Deported, 10 x 40 mins, Ponsonby Productions for NZ Herald, up to $179,999. John Keir investigates the 650 people forcibly removed from NZ each year, and the human reality of protecting our borders.

Te Mana O Te Wai – The Power Of Water, 3 x 15 mins, Magnolia Lowe Film Communications for Newsroom NZ, up to $180,734. This investigative series looks at the work of three leading NZ researchers as they tackle sea level rise, fresh water and water protection.

Hurting, 10 x 12 mins, Magnetic Pictures for Stuff, up to $217,585. A domestic abuse survivor who suffered a horrific attack talks with other victims in a web series that looks at the way out of abusive relationships.

The Lost Children Of Aotearoa, 3 x 60 mins, Awa Films for Māori Television, up to $295,000. The story of the impact of Māori children being incarcerated and abused in state care.

Kids – An Instruction Manual With Nigel Latta, 6 x 23 mins, Ruckus Media for TVNZ 1, up to $595,382. Nigel Latta uses clinical psychology and the latest science to give parents an ‘instruction manual’ for raising kids.

Anika Moa – Together Again, 8 x 24 mins, Rogue Productions for TVNZ OnDemand, up to $627,839. Anika is on a mission to reunite some of our favourite bands, bringing them back together again to perform one of their big hits, while giving them the full Moa experience.

Recovery 29, 1 x 70 mins, Screentime NZ for Prime, up to $30,008. Additional funding for extended coverage of the re-entry into the Pike River Mine.


Cold Case 2, 8 x 44 mins, Screentime NZ for TVNZ 1, up to $1,042,207 A team of specialist detectives re-investigate some of New Zealand’s most chilling unsolved murders.

The Side Eye 2, 12 x 6 mins, Hex Work for The Spinoff, up to $45,522. An online animated series that explores some of New Zealand’s trickiest conversations in an accessible and easy-to-share way.

Frame 2, 6 x 15 mins, Wrestler for The Spinoff, up to $283,000. A filmmaker-driven short documentary series examining current affairs and contemporary life in New Zealand.

Demolition NZ 2, 10 x 22 mins, Broadcast Media for Prime, up to $319,150. Going behind the barriers, meeting the people, and bringing the drama of deconstruction to your screens.

Country Calendar 2020, 40 x 23 mins, TVNZ for TVNZ 1, up to $573,537. The iconic series of portraits of New Zealanders who make their living from the land or sea.


Frank – Changing South 2 (Christchurch), TBC x 5 mins, Frank Film for Stuff, up to $340,000

Haukainga (Northland), 80 x 3 mins, Te Reo Irirangi O Te Hiku O Te Ika (Inc), up to $200,000

Local Focus 2019/2020 (4 regions), 320 x 3 mins, Very Nice Productions Ltd for NZ Herald, up to $400,000

Southern Lens (Queenstown), TBC x 7 mins, Southern Community Media Trust for Crux, up to $200,000

The South Today 2019/2020 (Dunedin), TBC x 1 min, Allied Press for Allied Press, up to $400,000


Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards 2019, MediaWorks, up to $182,000.

Industry Development

New Zealand Music Awards 2019, Recordedmusic.co.nz, up to $50,000.

Show Me Shorts 2019, Show Me Shorts Film Festival Trust, up to $3,000.

VNZMA Tui Music Series and Artisan Awards 2019, Recordedmusic.co.nz, up to $25,000.

SPADA Conference 2019, SPADA, up to $15,000.

The NZ Music Producer Series 2019, Greg Haver, up to $10,000.

Asian Feedback Workshop, Pan-Asian Screen Collective, up to $3,985.


New Music - Projects

Devilskin, Music Management Inc, up to $14,000.

Imugi 이무기, Success Ain't Limited, up to $14,000.

JessB, Sony Music Entertainment NZ, up to $22,000.

L.A.B, Loop Media, up to $30,000.

Lee Mvtthews, Twice The Hype, up to $29,371.

Miss June, CRS Music Management, up to $14,000.

Openside, CRS Music Management, up to $14,000.

Shapeshifter, SouthEast Management/Universal Music NZ, up to $22,000.

Teeks, Sony Music Entertainment, up to $30,000.

The Feelers, Music Management Inc, up to $20,000.

Swidt, Universal Music NZ, up to $17,822.

Digital-First Music Features

Caught Live Video Series, Under The Radar, up to $36,400.

Coup De Main X NZ On Air - A Zine, Coup De Main, up to $7,500.

NZM Engage, NZ Musician, up to $25,000.

Slept On / Overrated, Sniffers Ltd, up to $29,000.

The Final Mix, The Spinoff, up to $55,773.


Access Radio Taranaki, Access Radio Taranaki Trust, up to $26,667.

95BFM, Campus Radio BFM, up to $15,161.