A note from the CEO

Jane 2018_edited.jpg

Jane Wrightson, CEO

It feels like once Daylight Saving hits the days and weeks speed up as we hurtle towards Christmas. At this time of year there are a number of hui and awards events to attend, and my team very much enjoy catching up with all of you on these occasions.

We've just concluded the September round, which again attracted a large number of exceptionally good project applications. There are some excellent things to look forward to, whether it is the awesomeness of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica in Go Further South, or the careful unpeeling of the Bain family dynamics in the drama Black Hands, or understanding the challenges of the NZ peacekeepers' roles in South Sudan, or enjoying a laugh with all the new comedy coming our way.

With a great move announced recently to teach NZ history in schools, I have been reflecting on how public media content can enrich the curriculum. Much of the content we support is selected for its long shelf life, and can provide enduring insights to our nation's history. Projects such as the collection of content marking Suffrage 125, or A Tātou Kōrero, a rich collection of Tuia 250-stimulated stories from Te Tairāwhiti, NZ Wars: Stories of Ruapekapeka and the upcoming Stories Of Taranaki or Making New Zealand looking at the projects that built our country's infrastructure. We backed a number of excellent documentaries on the Christchurch earthquakes and the region's recovery, and right now I am gripped with the Treaty settlement stories being told by The Negotiators. Drama too can tell important stories such as last Sunday's powerful telefeature Ablaze , and how about the unofficial version of 1836 Aotearoa in Colonial Combat? We know children and young people embrace audio visual media and the important public media we support will be a colourful contributor to the curriculum.

Speaking of content, we are always delighted to see funded content launched, and then well-received by its intended audience. Of note lately have been two exceptionally good docos, By The Balls on TVNZ 1 and Paddy Gower: On Weed on Three. I was also honoured to attend the launch of an RNZ/NZ On Air Joint Innovation Fund project Matangireia at Parliament last week, acknowledging the mahi of Māori former politicians across the political spectrum.

Over coming weeks the first journalists employed through the Local Democracy Reporter pilot initiative (also funded via the Joint Innovation Fund) will hit the streets gathering stories that we hope will shine lights on elected local entities. And if you'd like to see how the younger generation does it, take a moment to enjoy the wonderful Kea Kids News. Congratulations to Luke Nola & Friends for this engaging children's news series.

Mā te wā


NZ Media Fund update - around $31.8m committed

Darwin and Newts

Darwin and Newts received funding for a third season on TVNZ 2

We were privileged to support a huge array of production diversity in the September round. And there were many other projects that we couldn’t find the money for. NZ On Air is proud of the range and quality of stories coming through the door for many audiences and from many different content creators - Māori, Pasifika, Asian, youth, children, and differently abled. Thank you for all your stories - and we will continue arguing for the resources to tell more.

Our September round was focused on Scripted and Factual content that would reflect and/or appeal to targeted audiences, as well as premier Scripted drama series, telefeatures, and sustainable comedy series.

We received 118 Factual and Scripted applications seeking over $51m.

In what's becoming a common theme across each of our funding rounds, the quality of the proposals we received was exceptionally high.

We are delighted to be supporting 49 fascinating projects (8 Scripted, 23 Factual and 18 Children's) for a diverse range of audiences for up to $31.8m.

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

The December round is for production applications for content intended to appeal to general audiences. The deadline for this round is fast approaching - so make sure you have your application in by 4pm October 17.

December is our third funding round of the financial year, meaning we have limited remaining funding and have specific priorities for the types of applications we are seeking.


  • Factual projects that deal with climate change. We have set aside approximately $1.5m to support one or two high-end documentary series that explore this pressing global issue from a New Zealand and/or Pacific perspective. Proposals that focus on youth response and action are encouraged.
  • Factual genres including Current Affairs, Documentary, Information and Events
  • Development for significant Factual projects with platform support.


  • Newer Storyteller comedy and drama projects with platform support - see paragraph 10.3 of our Scripted Roadmap for further details.
  • Development applications for existing Scripted projects with platform support that are applying for advanced development.

The full December Round Information for Applicants is available here.

New podcast policy

Podcasts are becoming more popular and we are seeing more applications to fund them on a wide variety of topics.

We have created a Podcast Policy to give guidance to applicants on the types of projects we will consider funding, and the pre-requisites you will need when applying.

Read the policy here.

Music update

Silver Scroll 2019

Benee, Elizabeth Stokes of The Beths, Tom Scott of Avantdale Bowling Club, Hollie Fullbrook of Tiny Ruins, and Aldous Harding

Silver Scroll Awards 2019

The annual APRA Silver Scroll Awards recognise excellence in song-writing in Aotearoa, and this year our heartiest congratulations go out to Aldous Harding for being awarded the prestigious Silver Scroll for her song The Barrel from her NZ On Air New Music Project-supported album Designer. It’s such a great piece of music and if you need a reminder of just how good that song (and video) is have another listen here.

Huge congrats also to the other four finalists and their amazing songs – Benee, Tiny Ruins, Avantdale Bowling Club and The Beths. What an excellent bunch of New Zealand instant classics!

The other awards presented last night include the APRA Maioha Award, which went to Tyna Keelan, Angelique Te Rauna and Matauranga Te Rauna for their song Ka Ao, and the APRA Best Original Music in a Series Award which was won by Karl Steven for his score in the NZ On Air funded series The Bad Seed. The full list of winners is available here.

In a wonderful celebration of our recorded music heritage, Ruru Karaitiana, Pixie Williams and Jim Carter were inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame for creating Aotearoa’s first recorded popular song Blue Smoke, which was released 70 years ago in 1949.

Airplay and Chart Success

For the first time in five years the Official Top 40 Singles chart saw three New Zealand songs in the top 10 recently. This has become an increasingly difficult thing to achieve in the streaming era where worldwide hits tend to dominate charts across the globe.

But, in the week ending 12 September, two Six60 songs and a Drax Project & Six60 song sat in the top 10. One of those top 10 songs was the te reo Māori version of Six60’s Don’t Forget Your Roots from the Waiata Anthems album – Kia Mau Ki Tō Ūkaipō.

In the most recent Radio Airplay charts there were five NZ songs in the top 10 most played songs in the country – The Greatest by Six60, Come Home by Sons of Zion, Give by Stan Walker, Catching Feelings by Drax Project and Six60, and All This Time by Drax Project.

It’s great to see such a strong representation of Waiata o Aotearoa crowding around the top of these charts!

New tracks

New Playlist - New Tracks New Artists

Every month NZ On Air releases a compilation of 30 new songs from New Zealand artists across a range of genres. This is digitally delivered to broadcasters, online platforms and other media under the brand ‘New Tracks’.

In the past couple of years we have collaborated with NZ Musician to publish Q&A profiles on the newer emerging artists to be featured on New Tracks, so it made sense to gather together a playlist to highlight those New Tracks new artists.

Have a listen to our New Tracks New Artists playlist here.

Meet the team


Funding Advisor - Anna Currie

Meet Anna, our specialist screen Funding Advisor (television and digital) and resident pop culture connoisseur.

Anna has been a part of the NZ On Air team since 2014 and in that time has established our annual Diversity Report, taken the lead on our joint TVNZ tamariki platform HEIHEI and overseen other great initiatives like the RNZ/NZ On Air Joint Innovation Fund.

When she's not hard at work assessing applications, Anna makes the whole office jealous either planning or taking one of her incredible overseas trips.

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

Industry Events

TV Awards

There's an abundance of exciting events happening in our industry over the next few months - make sure you get in early and nab tickets for the following events:

NZ TV Craft Awards - November 6

The Craft Awards recognise the talented people behind the scenes of Aotearoa's finest television and digital content. Tickets are available here.

The Huawei NZ TV Awards - November 21

The NZ TV Awards recognise excellence in television and digital content, and honour the special skills of the companies and individuals who create, produce, and perform in these programmes in Aotearoa. Tickets are available here.

SPADA Conference 2019 - November 20 + 21

You'll be spoilt for choice at this year's SPADA, with an exciting programme packed with fantastic speakers, workshops, roundtables, masterclasses. The 'Get Ahead of the Rest' registrations are live, so don't miss out on getting your discounted early bird ticket.

Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards

The Vodafone NZ Music Awards are Aotearoa's biggest music event of the year, celebrating the achievements of our most talented artists, and NZ On Air is very proud to be once again supporting these Awards. Tickets for the 2019 Music Awards are available here.

Funding decisions



Black Hands, 5 x 44 mins, Warner Bros. NZ for TVNZ 1, up to $5,187,160. A dramatisation of the month leading up to the 1994 murders of five members of the Bain family in Dunedin.

Muru, 1 x 90 mins, Jawbone Pictures for Three, up to $200,000. Two strangers from different sides of a Police raid on a small Tuhoe township have their loyalties tested.

Poppy, 1 x 90 mins, StellaFilm for TVNZ 1, up to $165,000 (with the NZ Film Commission). A young woman with Down syndrome assumes she's entitled to live her life like everyone else, yet the person she trusts most puts her in the 'disability' box.

Taskmaster NZ, 10 x 44 mins, Kevin & Co for TVNZ 2, up to $734,953. Five top comedians attempt to solve and navigate their way through a series of bizarre, tricky and often ingenious tasks.


Mean Mums 2, 8 x 24 mins, South Pacific Pictures Ltd for Three, up to $1,080,000. This family friendly sitcom continues the celebration of school mums, Jess, Heather, and Hine, in all their crazy, earnest, exhausted glory.

Golden Boy 2, 8 x 22 mins, Mediaworks for Three, up to $1,034,808. After a small breakdown recent graduate Mitch ends up back in her hometown working at the family dairy and living in the shadow of her All Black brother, Tama.

Educators 2, 8 x 15 mins, South Pacific Pictures for TVNZ On Demand, up to $999,999. Behind-the-scenes of an 'ordinary' Kiwi secondary school with the dysfunctional educators who are childishly trying to survive until the bell rings.

Someday Stories 2020, 6 x 10 mins, Connected Media Trust for Stuff, up to $200,000. Short sustainability focused films by emerging New Zealand film-makers that push the envelope, take story risk and look to the future.

Asian and Pasifika Newer Storytellers

Sis, 1 x 44 mins, Culture Factory for comedycentral.co.nz & Prime, up to $499,864. A spinoff of the viral hit series Baby Mama’s Club.

Brutal Lives, 6 x 12 mins, Kingston Productions for Coconet.tv, up to $499,852. A former boxing champion is haunted by his Tongan ancestor’s spirit.

Inked, 8 x 15 mins, Himalaya Studio for Prime & skykiwi.com, up to $400,000. Recent college dropout, Jiayue, launches a tattoo studio while struggling to reconcile with her Chinese immigrant father.



Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, 12 x 720 mins, TVNZ for TVNZ 1, up to $375,000. Live coverage and highlights of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

The Outliers, 8 x 26 mins, Fire Fire for Māori Television, up to $225,600. A look at inspirational youth from minority communities that are bucking the trends and standing out from their peers.

Young Wings, 6 x 10 mins, Hexwork Productions for The Spinoff, up to $175,880. Young Wings follows the youth branches of our political parties, big and small, as they warm their engines for the 2020 election.

Coastwatchers, 1 x 45 mins, Aotearoa Media Collective for TVNZ 1, up to $175,176. The story of the Pasifika men who supported New Zealand's covert intelligence network from tin huts dotted across the remote islands of the South Pacific during the war.

Paradise Soldiers, 1 x 46 mins, Magnetic Pictures for TVNZ 1, up to $167,471. The untold stories of Cook Islands' young men who have fought, largely unrecognised, alongside Kiwi soldiers in major wars dating back to World War One and up until Vietnam.

Multi Nesians, 8 x 5 mins, Tikilounge Productions for Coconet.tv, up to $133,348. An engaging webseries of conversations around issues for mixed race people in Aotearoa.

Whitiki!, 1 x 52 mins, Scottie Douglas Productions for Māori Television, up to $125,000. A powerful documentary that recounts the untold stories of a group of Māori Pioneers through the eyes of their descendants.

Hope In Hell, 5 x 8 mins, Fairfax NZ for Stuff, up to $26,050. A series focusing on the courageous work being done by New Zealanders working in war-ravaged South Sudan and the experiences of those refugees who've found sanctuary in Aotearoa.


Attitude 2020, 28 x 28 mins + additional 86 mins, Attitude Pictures for TVNZ 1, up to $1,934,400. Enlightening New Zealanders of what's possible for people with disabilities through great television and great stories.

Tagata Pasifika 2020, 50 x 23 mins + 2 x 44 mins, Sunpix for TVNZ 1, up to $1,781,974. Current affairs, talanoa, sports, issues, events and entertainment relevant to the Pacific Islands communities.

Fresh 2020, 35 x 23 mins, Tikilounge Productions for TVNZ 2, up to $1,734,630. TV2's flagship Pan-Pacific program that brings together and celebrates people from the Pacific.

Arranged 3, 8 x 44 mins, Notable Pictures for Three, up to $730,530. Arranged takes you inside the diverse, extravagant and fascinating weddings and engagement ceremonies of our ethnic and religious communities.

Living With Tourette’s 3, 6 x 44 mins, 2B Media for Prime, up to $511,000. An inspiring special interest documentary series showcasing the struggles and triumphs of New Zealanders living with Tourette's Syndrome.

Go Further South, 1 x 720 mins + 1 x 180 mins, Greenstone TV for Prime, up to $445,220. Go Further South picks up where Go South left off - island hopping our way across the Southern Ocean as far south as possible: Scott Base, Antarctica.

The Barber 2, 8 x 26 mins, Black Iris for Māori Television, up to $281,040. A documentary series about Barber Peleti Oli-Alainu'uese and the Māori and Pacific community of men who frequent his Hastings barbershop.

Loading Docs: Revolution, 8 x 6 mins, Notable Pictures for TVNZ On Demand, up to $171,745. A documentary series that breaks the boundaries of storytelling to empower, entertain and inspire.

K Road Chronicles 2, 6 x 12 mins, Magnetic Pictures for Stuff, up to $170,333. Auckland based journalist Six travels around wider New Zealand meeting rough sleepers and homeless people, as well as help agencies and service workers.

Rural Delivery 2020, 10 x 23 mins, Showdown Productions for TVNZ 1, up to $155,246. Kiwis living and working on land and sea tell their own stories of innovation, excellence and technology.

Suzy & Friends 2020, 53 x 45 mins, Treehut for various Access stations, up to $136,000. Suzy & Friends is a kids radio show that shares kiwi kids' voices, stories and songs.

The Nutters Club 2020, 49 x 90 mins, The Key To Life Charitable Trust for Newstalk ZB, up to $80,830. A radio show that discusses key issues in mental health and encourages us all to take ownership of our own health and well being.

Real Life with John Cowan, 48 x 22 mins, Christian Broadcasting Association for Newstalk ZB, up to $36,632. A weekly radio show, featuring high-profile guests talking about their life, upbringing, passions and view of the world.

Christmas 2019, 18 x 51, Christian Broadcasting Association for Newstalk ZB, up to $30,274. Creative live and pre-recorded features, interviews, vignettes, music, audience participation and guests on Christmas Eve and Day.

Easter 2020, 12 x 54 mins, Christian Broadcasting Association for Newstalk ZB, up to $28,271. A mix of thoughtful Easter-focused commentary, interviews, talk back, creative production and guests from around NZ.

We Are One - The Mosque Attacks One Year On, 1 x 44 mins, Paua Productions for TVNZ 1, up to $36,850. Additional funding.

Joint Innovation Fund - March 15 Commemoration Projects

The Living Flowerwall, 3D Immersive Site + 1 x 3 mins video, Vanishing Point Studio for RNZ, up to $121,200. An interactive project that digitally renders Christchurch’s wall of flowers on Rolleston Ave.

The Widows Of Shaheed, 8 x 30 mins, Plains FM 96.9 for RNZ, up to $99,361. This podcast series will journey alongside four women whose husbands were killed on March 15.

This Is Us, 6 x 2 min videos + 6 x 2 mins audio, Ghazaleh Golbakhsh for RNZ, up to $59,233. Six short films which will showcase the diversity of Muslim New Zealanders experiences as they answer the question “what do you love the most?



Brain Busters, 150 x 25 mins, Whitebait Productions for TVNZ 2, up to $2,750,000. New Zealand's every day quiz for everyday kids

The Legend Of The Bone Tiki, 6 x 22 mins, Arama Pictures for TVNZ 2, up to $1,000,000. After the death of her beloved grandmother Maia Douglas becomes the keeper of an ancient magical Bone Tiki.

Code Fun, 30 x 10 mins, Pickled Possum Productions for TVNZ 2, up to $498,863. An innovative programme for preschoolers using music and movement to engage, connect and interact, underpinned by a huge dose of digital technology.

Morgan Lives In A Rocket House, 26 x 7 mins, Fuzzy Duckling Media for TVNZ 2, up to $285,208. Morgan, an optimistic & fun-loving Earth boy, and two friends, are marooned on an alien planet where their rocket crashed.

Tumeke Space 1: Part 1, 5 x 22 mins, Mukpuddy Animation for HEIHEI, up to $492,500. Tumeke Space and friends search for Tumeke's long lost Koro while battling the evil's of the galaxy.

K-Pop Academy, 8 x 15 mins + 8 x 4 mins, Greenstone TV for HEIHEI, up to $370,802. A mash-up of synthesized music, sharp K-Pop dance routines and colourful fashion, reflecting the changing face of kiwi kids and our relationship with Asia.

Island Of Mystery, 12 x 6 mins, Adrenalin for HEIHEI, up to $360,291. An animated mystery adventure series with lovable characters and a fantastic world based on early Aotearoa.

Puta Mōhio, 20 x 9 mins, August & Waititi T/A Kokko Media for HEIHEI, up to $340,766. Puta Mōhio investigates the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S.T.E.M) behind traditional Māori practices.

Uke Can Do It!, 10 x 11 mins + 10 x 3 mins, Pop-Up Workshop for HEIHEI, up to $299,609. A ukulele teaching and performance series, and a showcase of our tamariki talent.

Yap-Trap, 15 x 2 mins, Peach Prison for HEIHEI, up to $129,171. Remixing, editing, animation and hilarious voices will bring stock and archive photos to life in surreal and ridiculous scenarios.

Science On Ice, 5 x 8 mins, Whitebait Productions for HEIHEI, up to $120,000. The series shines a light on the impacts of climate change, and the amazing science and research New Zealand is conducting in Antarctica.


What Now 2020, 39 x 120 mins, Whitebait Productions for TVNZ 2, up to $3,253,000. What Now live from various locations around the country, entertaining our tamariki whilst building strong, long lasting relationships and celebrating our cultural diversity.

Darwin and Newts 3, 24 x 11 mins, Whitebait Productions for TVNZ 2, up to $1,000,000. An animated adventure series that follows Darwin and his sister Newts as they explore, experiment and discover how things work in the great outdoors.

The Vloggingtons 2, 16 x 5 mins, Yoozoo for HEIHEI, up to $496,639. The Vloggingtons are four kids who always find creative ways to turn ordinary moments of their day into video clips that are #extra-epicool!

Young Riders 2, 24 x 8 mins, Greenstone TV for HEIHEI, up to $475,742. This series follows young New Zealanders as they train and compete in national equestrian events.

The Drawing Show 2, 13 x 4 mins, Mukpuddy Animation for HEIHEI, up to $260,000. The Drawing Show stars Penny and her friends as she teaches viewers how to draw their favourite things.

Welcome To Cardboard City 2, 10 x 3 mins, Vinewood T/A Foundation Animation for HEIHEI, up to $251,850. Welcome To Cardboard City takes place in a world created entirely from cardboard and kids' imaginations.

Norbert and Mylo 3, 40 x 0.5 mins, Loud Mouth Productions for HEIHEI, up to $71,270. Norbert and Mylo are two claymation characters who bring to life jokes submitted by Kiwi kids.


New Music - Projects

Melodownz, Sniffers Ltd, up to $28,000

Niko Walters, Universal Music NZ, up to $30,000

Poetik, 1979 Management LTD, up to $22,000

Robinsion, Page One Management, up to 30,000

Saski, NickNak Media, up to 30,000

The Chills, Southbound, up to 30,000

Theia, NickNak Media, up to $25,680

New Music - Single

Abby Wolfe, Held By You, up to 8,000

Alayna, Glowing, up to $8,000

Beachware, The Arcade, up to $8,000

Cassie Henderson, Tainted, up to $8,000

Cecily, Awake, up to $8,000

Chaii, Vaghti, up to $8,000

Die! Die! Die!, Dead Trees, up to $8,000

Dirty Pixels, Julipa, up to $8,000

Ed Waaka, Revolution, up to $8,000

Foley, Cola, up to $8,000

Indyah, That Night, up to $8,000

Ives, All Night Long, up to $8,000

Jason Kerrison, I Will If You Will, up to $8,000

Jed Parsons, Playstation & Porn, up to $8,000

Jenny Mitchell, Travelling Bones, up to $8,000

Jordan Gavet, Do Better, up to $8,000

Lou'ana Whitney, Wolves, up to $8,000

Marley Sola, Lift Your Head High, up to $8,000

Missy, Petty, up to $8,000

Molly Devine, Call Me Up, up to $8,000

Navvy, If I Can't Have You, up to $8,000

Paddy Echo, Still Fall For You, up to $8,000

The Peacekeepers, Hot Thing, up to $8,000

Tunes Of I, Hey You, up to $8,000

New Music - Kids

Anika Moa, Songs For Bubbas Vol 3 LP, Homespun, Album and visuals, $10,000

Captain Festus McBoyle, Breathe and Pants, Richard Barwell, Songs and visuals, $10,000

Chris Sanders, St John series, Angel Star Publishing, Songs and visuals, $10,000

Claudia Robin Gunn, Little Wild Universe, Little Wild Music, Album and visuals, $10,000

Deano Yipadee, Singing Author series, Yipadee Entertainment, Songs and visuals, $10,000

fleabite, fleaBite Five LP, Robin Nathan, Album and visuals, $6,500

Judi Cranston, Slip Slop Slap and other tracks, Famous Fish Music, Songs and visuals, $10,000

Kath Bee, Magic In Me, Song and visual, $5,760

Levity Beet, Early Childhood Indie LP, Album and visuals, $10,000

Moe & Friends, Back Yourself, Pop-up Studios, Music video, $5,000

Suzy Cato, Suzy & Me EP, Treehut, EP and visuals, $10,000

Takaro Tribe, He Pōhutukawa, Cinco Cine Film Productions, Music video, $5,000

Industry Development Fund

APRA Silver Scroll Awards 2019, APRA, up to $10,000

Waiata Māori Music Awards 2019, Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust, up to $10,000

WIFT NZ Awards 2020, WIFT NZ Incorporated, up to $7,000

Going Global Music Summit 2019, Independent Music NZ, up to $2,000

Pitch To Page, Pan-Asian Screen Collective Inc, up to $7,640