A note from the CEO


Jane Wrightson, CEO

With a great sense of achievement we have just completed the last funding round of the first year of the NZ Media Fund. When we launched the new platform-neutral fund a year ago we were aiming to simplify our approach, increase quality and diversity, and ensure content can be discovered and appreciated by target audiences.

This final round of the year is an example of the flexibility of the new fund, and incredibly diverse outcomes achieved. In this round we issued a call for projects marking 125 years since women won the right to vote in NZ. The response was awesome. The production community came up with a plethora of diverse ideas for many different audiences, on an array of platforms - content that traverses historical material and modern issues equally well.

At the conclusion of this year we now have funded audio visual content for no fewer than 26 different platforms. That's in addition to the numerous radio stations carrying funded content (songs or audio programmes) up and down the country. We think that's remarkable, and precisely what we hoped for.

Of course nothing is ever perfect so we are always reviewing how we are going and tweaking the strategy. Please see below for more on this.

We are delighted to see so many NZ On Air funded music artists making high rotate playlists on radio currently, and achieving big streaming numbers. It's NZ Music Month and we hope you are all finding some NZ music to your liking, to enjoy. Check out the Music Update for more on this.

Finally, next month we welcome Amie Mills to our team as the new Head of Funding, and Glenn Usmar will move to Associate Head of Funding (with much relief on his part!). For the avoidance of doubt around conflict of interest, Amie will be an observer only for the July funding round, which Glenn will manage. While all funding decisions are made collectively (either by the Staff Investment Committee or the Board) it is important that we are transparent about Amie's role for this first round. We're thrilled that she's joining the team.

Ngā mihi


A year of the NZMF

Now the NZ Media Fund has been running a year we’ve looked at what we learned and feedback from the sector. So going into the new financial year we’re making some small but significant changes.

We’ve created a small number of ‘roadmaps’, outlining high level thinking around our funding work to help applicants and guide decision making.

Last week we published the Scripted roadmap, a guide to the Scripted stream. The approach was developed after our drama conversations with industry last year. Also coming out of that feedback is the Development roadmap, published today, explaining how we approach our content and industry development work.

And we have included and adapted the Rautaki Māori in this process, as a separate roadmap, to acknowledge the crucial part Māori content plays in our vision of connecting and reflecting our nation.

We expect to develop a Factual roadmap later this year, and then a Music one, following more sector consultation so we are clear on the best path forward.

So what’s new?

As the world around us continues to change quickly, it’s obvious we need a more inclusive range of quality content. So we are making a number of new commitments* to support areas where there is room to improve. These include:

  • Formally adding four funding assessment aspects:
    • diversity
    • gender equality
    • talent development
    • regionalism

*As we say in the Scripted and Development roadmaps, while not every project can involve these aspects, NZ On Air must consider the collective impact of our funding decisions. Therefore these factors may influence our decision when considering competing proposals. As always, strong cultural and business cases are crucial.

  • A better path for newer storytellers
  • A formal target of a minimum of 6% of our total contestable funds (Scripted, Factual, Music) to be achieved for Māori content. This will be around $5m each year. We’ll report this annually and discuss with the sector ways to solve any problems and continue improving.
  • We will start measuring gender and Māori statistics for our New Music Single and New Music Project schemes. We will aim to improve the number of funded women artists (see our Diversity report later in this newsletter).

It’s exciting to be continually improving and I hope we’ll be able to see real movement by this time next year. And then we can tackle new challenges!

Regional Media Review

Each year we formally review one area of our funding. This year we commissioned Dr Gavin Ellis to review the Regional Media projects we fund.

Regional Media funding replaced Regional Television funding following a review in 2015 and subsequent RFP process. Out of that process we supported four new regional services, with $1.238m funding in total.

  • Local Focus (NZME) covers BOP, Hawkes Bay, Waikato and Manawatu $400,000
    • Haukāinga (Te Hiku) covers Northland Te Tai Tokerau $180,000
    • The South Today (Allied Press) covers the Southern South Island $397,000
    • Star Kiwi (Star Media) covers Canterbury $261,000

You can read Dr Ellis's report below. The Board considered his report and recommendations last week and agreed to again seek proposals for regional media services (audio visual) that provide civic journalism for regional audiences.

The round opens next Monday (21st) and guidelines are below.

Music Updates


New Music Project hits

Several songs released from funded New Music Projects are getting plenty of airplay and online attention at the moment. Drax Project’s first single ‘Woke Up Late’ from their forthcoming debut album remains in the Top 20 most played songs on radio a whole six months after its release, and has clocked up over 7 million Spotify streams.
Sons of Zion released their new album this month and their single ‘Drift Away’ is all over the airwaves.
Stan Walker’sThank You’ is also riding high, following on from the inspiring ‘Stan’ doco on THREE.
Openside are building momentum with a killer new single ‘No Going Back’ from their forthcoming Project-funded album, and Tomorrow People are also getting plenty of airplay on their single ‘Don’t Wanna Fight It’. Also getting good support on radio are Project singles from Nomad, Katchafire, Racing, L.A.B. and Theia.

Aldous Harding Party

Taite Music Prize - Aldous Harding

Topping off an incredible run for her album Party which we supported through our New Music Project scheme, Aldous Harding was the recipient of the 2018 Taite Music Prize. The good news for fans is she has already started on a new album.

New Music Kids Round One

Just in time for the launch of HEIHEI which will also feature children’s music, we’re pleased to announce the recipients of our first ever round of New Music Kids funding for recordings and music videos for our tamariki. Congrats to Anna van Riel, Captain Festus McBoyle, Mr. Yipadee, Judi Cranston, the Te Kotare project, Robin Nathan’s Fleabite, Chris Sanders and Mr. Roberelli. We will run another New Music Kids round in August.

Student Radio funding

The Board recently made the decision to change how we support the work of the Student Radio Network. Our funding support will now come from the Platforms stream in the 2018/19 funding year, with budget re-allocated from Music. We are pleased to be able to continue supporting the five stations of the Student Radio Network which provide such great support and exposure for our music artists.

music month

Listen - Aotearoa All Day playlist

May is New Zealand Music Month and while the theme this year is officially ‘Discover New’, we’ve churned up a huge list of new and old into a long work-day worth of kiwi music goodness - Aotearoa All Day gives you a great selection of NZ tunes to enjoy on Spotify.

Diversity Report

For each of the past three years we have compiled data on gender and ethnic diversity and regional spread in the screen content we've funded. This year we added music funding.

Our latest Diversity Report shows women continue to be well-represented among producers and writers, but there is still a significant gender imbalance among directors. Asian creatives are also under-represented across all three roles. The number of women recording artists supported is broadly in line with APRA membership, but there is still work to do. As a start we are supporting a special APRA SongHubs project in August which will allow a number of promising female artists, producers and engineers to collaborate with and learn from some high profile female international guests.

We are also seeing a bit of growth in regional production, although the majority of production companies are still based in Auckland.

For the full Diversity report see below.

New Content

Anika Moa Unleashed

Anika Moa Unleashed, Rogue Productions for TVNZ On Demand

For your viewing pleasure - here are some of the latest funded content releases.

Topp Country factual series on TVNZ1
Stan one-off documentary on THREE
Anika Moa Unleashed comedy on TVNZ OnDemand
The Real Sex Talk factual series on Villainesse
Weaving Rainbows LGBTQIA series The Coconet.tv
Zealandia: The Lost Boys of Taranaki on Vice.com

Meet the Team


Hilaire Carmody, Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive

NZ On Air is staffed with people who are passionate about great public media. In our staff blog we introduce you to team members and explain what they do.

Hilaire Carmody is relatively new to the team - with the big job of keeping our Chief Executive in line. Find out more about Hilaire.

Funding Decisions


New Scripted Content:

New Blood 2, 5 x 5 mins, TVNZ for TVNZ On Demand, up to $50,000. The second web series pilot competition designed to help Kiwi creatives make the kind of content they want to see.

Suffrage Scripted Content:

The Funny Girls NZ Suffragette Special, 1 x 44 mins, MediaWorks TV for Three, up to $268,678 Sketches, interviews and stand-up comedy shedding a hilarious light on feminist issues and achievements.


Suffrage Factual Content

Secret Life Of Girls, 2 x 44 mins, Screentime New Zealand for TVNZ 1, up to $269,717 A hidden camera experiment exploring how young Kiwi girls see their place in society, and their own futures.

The Forgotten Wāhine, 1 x 52 mins, Villainesse Limited for Māori Television, up to $250,558 The stories of the Maori women who stood alongside suffragists in their own fight for equality.

All That Separates, 42 mins, Vanishing Point for Noted, up to $242,208 NZ’ers bring modern relevance to Kate Sheppard’s words through an interactive spoken word video.

What Women Want?, 1 x 120 mins, Diva Productions for Stuff.co.nz, up to $208,326 A Q&A show asking what needs to change for women to truly be equal with men in 21st century NZ.

Minimum, 10 x 4 mins, Notable Pictures for The Wireless, up to $158,472Interviews and animations of NZ women of all ages, races and sexualities working minimum wage.

125 Years of Suffrage - The Three Waves Of Feminism, 3 x 20mins, White Paper Industries for Vice.com, up to $142,225 Exploring three waves of feminism, and their impact on NZ women today.

Conversations, 6 x 12 mins, Tawera Productions for E-Tangata, up to $139,640Acknowledging the women of colour who are often ignored in suffragette celebrations.

Kiwi Women Who Changed The World, 12 x 3 mins, NZME for NZ Herald online, up to $115,168 A web-series celebrating the NZ women who – in major and small ways – changed the world.

Aren’t, Can’t, Don’t, 2 x 13 mins, Storybox for The Spinoff, up to $99,997Exploring the stories of women who can’t, don’t and aren’t able to vote, and why that matters.

Daughters Of The Migration, 5 x 12 mins, Tikilounge Productions for TheCoconet.tv, up to $98,958 Contrasting the lives of five Pasifika women in NZ with their 1st generation migrant mothers and grandmothers.

General Factual Content

That’s A Bit Racist, 2 x 44 mins, Jam TV for TVNZ 1, up to $388,331 Examining the cause and effect of casual or unconscious racism in NZ.

Slow, 12 x 60 mins, Greenstone TV for Prime, up to $263,749 A real-time road trip showcasing the unique and beautiful landscape of NZ and its history.

Dreaming, 1 x 44 mins, Notable Pictures for Three, up to $204,586 Exploring the impact of addiction on a life, career and family.

The Centenary Of The Battle Of Le Quesnoy, 6 x 4 mins + 5 x 2 mins, Homegrown Television for NZ Herald online, up to $113,156 Short clips and podcasts telling the story of NZ men who freed an occupied French town in WWI.

Renee’s Brain, 1 x 42 mins, 2B Media for Prime, up to $110,000 Renee, severely afflicted by Tourette’s syndrome embarks on treatment that could save her life.

The Parris Project: World Tour, 12 x 12 mins, Taktix Films for theCoconet.tv, up to $100,800 A behind the scenes look at Parris Goebel’s creative process and struggles as she tours with her Royal family.

The Kiwi, The Knight and the Qashqai, 1 x 48 mins, Top Shelf Productions for Choice TV, up to $95,426 A NZ woman’s love of an Iranian tribe and their dying art and culture leads to a surprise invitation from Sir David Attenborough.

Smokefree Rockquest/Tangata Beats Webisodes, 29 x 3 mins, Rockquest Productions for ZM, up to $50,000 NZ youth showcase their talent, original music and unique cultural identities in NZ’s biggest youth music event.

Kaikoura: A Big Year, 1 x 42 mins, DC Media for TVNZ 1, up to $48,972 A story of resilience and community in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck the small tourist town of Kaikoura.


New Music Projects

Anika Moa, Homespun Music, up to $30,000

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

Frills, NicNak Media, up to $30,000

Ladi6, MTCO Limited, up to $30,000

Dead Favours, Noise PR, up to $30,000

Avalanche City, NikNak Media, up to $30,000

New Music Kids

Anna Van Riel, Anna Van Riel Music, up to $10,000

Captain Festus McBoyle, up to $7,988

Chris Sanders, Angel Star Publishing House, up to $9,840

Fleabite, Robin Nathan, up to $6,864

Judi Cranston, Famous Fish Music, up to $10,000

Mr Roberelli, up to $8,000

Mr Yipadee (Deano Yipadee), Yipadee Entertainments, up to $10,000

Te Kotare, up to $10,000

NZ Music Feature 2018/19

Base FM, Base FM, up to $60,000

Pulzar FM, Pulzar FM, up to $30,000

Most FM, Taranaki FM Trust, up to $30,000

Platforms 2018/19

National Pacific Radio Trust, National Pacific Radio Trust, up to $3,250,000

Samoa Capital Radio, Siufofoga O Le Laumua Trust, up $180,000

NZ On Screen And Audioculture, Digital Media Trust, up to $1,193,000

HEIHEI, TVNZ, up to $776,730

Air Project (Various Stations), Waikato Community Broadcasting, up to $45,000

Access Manawatu, Manawatu Access Radio Charitable Trust, up to $170,000

Access Radio Taranaki, Access Radio Taranaki Trust, up to $178,000

Arrow Fm, Access Radio Wairarapa Charitable Trust, up to $138,000

Coast Access Radio, Coast Access Radio Trust, up to $135,000

Free Fm 2018/19, Waikato Community Broadcasting, up to $237,500

Fresh Fm, Tasman Broadcasting Trust, up to $170,000

Otago Access Radio, Hills Radio Trust, up to $178,000

Plains Fm, The Canterbury Communications Trust, up to $235,000

Planet Fm, Access Community Radio Auckland Inc, up to $250,000

Radio Kidnappers, Radio Kidnappers Charitable Trust, up to $175,000

Radio Southland, Radio Southland up to $175,000

Wellington Access Radio, Wellington Access Broadcasting Society Inc, up to $220,000

95bfm, 95bfm, up to $220,000

Radio Active, Radio Active, up to $140,000

Radio Control, Radio Massey (Radio Control 99.4fm), up to $75,000

Radio One, Radio One 91 Fm, up to $120,000

RDU 98.5fm, Rdu 98.5fm, up to $140,000

Tv Captioning & Audio Description, Media Access Charitable Trust (Able), up to $2,800,000

Industry Development

2018 Vodafone Pacific Music Awards, Pacific Music Awards Trust, up to $24,000

New Zealand Music Awards 2018, recordedmusic.co.nz, up to $50,000

NZ TV Awards 2018, J&A Productions, up to $50,000

Big Screen Symposium 2018, J&A Productions, up to $15,000

Songhubs Sphere 2018, Apra, up to $30,000

The Official NZ Music Month Summit, Music Managers Forum, up to $2,000