13 February 2024

Eleven NZ-based Pasifika producers have been paired with 10 Pacific-based broadcasters in the very first Aotearoa New Zealand Pacific Regional Media Fund, an initiative designed to encourage stories with a uniquely Pasifika perspective.

The 11 NZ-based Pasifika producers will collaborate with producers from the Pacific Islands to contest for funding and produce Scripted or Non-Fiction screen content for Pasifika audiences. That content will be broadcast in Aotearoa and on the Pasifika TV network across 15 Pacific countries.

NZ On Air announced the $1.9m fund in November 2023, to be run in collaboration with Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Limited (PCBL) which is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“This initiative was borne out of a need to uplift Pasifika creators here and in the Pacific Islands,” says NZ On Air Head of Funding Amie Mills. “The aim is to foster stronger relationships in the wider region by bringing the best from both sides together to collaborate, learn from each other and produce dynamic, digital-first content that will resonate with Pasifika audiences here and abroad.”

The Pacific-based broadcasters and producers will travel to Aotearoa New Zealand for in-person workshops with their paired NZ-based Pacific producers before refining their content proposals. From there, six of the Pasifika screen content co-productions will be chosen for funding.

Natasha Meleisea, the CEO of PCBL, says the Aotearoa New Zealand Pacific Regional Media Fund complements the work they do with Pacific broadcasters in the region.

“We provide equipment and training, and now this NZ On Air fund has provided an opportunity for Pasifika producers to master their craft further. Everyone involved is excited to see what these co-production partnerships can create. There is a wealth of stories in the Pacific just waiting to be told, and who better to tell them than the Pacific?”

As well as screen content, a portion of the fund has also been allocated to support the creation of original music by Pasifika composers and musicians as part of the productions.

Funding for the Aotearoa New Zealand Pacific Regional Media Fund has come from the one-off additional funding of $10m provided to NZ On Air in Budget '23.

The expression of interest drew 47 applications. The final 10 teams that will be pitching stories for co-production are: