NZ On Air has greenlit 11 innovative new youth projects to be distributed through a variety of online platforms used by young audiences.

Up to $2.4m has been invested in content that will focus on youth voices, perspectives and issues in Aotearoa.

The projects were selected following a call out for Scripted, Factual or Music content that could ‘cut through the online noise’ and strongly connect with 15-24 year olds in New Zealand. Emphasis was placed on reaching youth audiences via the platforms they most actively engage with, in line with NZ On Air’s 2020 Where Are The Audiences findings.

NZ On Air is grateful for the guidance and mahi of our youth panel of 15 – 24 year olds, who were fundamental to ensuring the selected projects would reach and appeal to the intended audiences. The resulting funded projects are largely made by and about the target audience.

NZ On Air Head Of Funding Amie Mills says the quantity and quality of applications received for the RFP was incredibly high, with applications collectively seeking over $16m.

“What’s shone through is that there is no shortage of young creatives with boundary-breaking ideas in Aotearoa. This is an exciting opportunity for the next generation of creatives to help shape the future of the industry, as well as share with audiences an incredible variety of youth-focused stories that have never been seen before.”

Comedy is a key theme across four new snack-sized Scripted series funded by this initiative.

Bouncers will follow a rag-tag trio of clueless security officers and their boisterous supervisor as they struggle to keep their jobs in the temp department of a security company. Vertical comedy series I Got You will see a 24 year old Pasifika woman cover her family's bills with a side hustle of dishing out dating advice, despite having no relationship experience.

Self Help is a comedic exploration of the world of personal self-improvement, through the lens of a young man struggling to find healing and self-acceptance in the wake of a breakup. Dark comedy series Here If You Need will follow a young woman who forms a social netball team to better understand the circumstances of her brother's death.

Three new series will showcase Aotearoa’s music talents, with Amplified shining the spotlight on young musicians who use music to explore, embrace and connect with their cultural roots, and Tribal: Inside New Zealand's Wildest Music Scenes investigating how music builds diverse and devoted sub-cultures across Aotearoa.

Also set to cut through the noise is Check Check, a series of original, short-form, live music performances by diverse New Zealand artists in amazing Aotearoa landscapes.

And the young creatives will also tackle documentary series.

From the minds of the influential Shit You Should Care About team, new explainer video series Extremely Online is set to unravel the chaos and complexities of the internet for a young Kiwi audience.

The babies of 2000 are turning 21 and inviting audiences to their birthday parties in the new documentary series 2000s Baby, which will explore what it looks like to become an adult in different parts of Aotearoa.

Young audiences will be given a raw, real, and crazy ‘behind the fame’ look into the lives of some of New Zealand’s most viral content creators, who will expose some of the less glamorous elements of being Young and Famous.

Documentary series STILL HERE will profile millennials from the remaining Pasifika community in Auckland’s affluent inner-city suburbs of Ponsonby, Grey-Lynn, and Herne Bay. These youth have cultivated a unique Central Auckland identity; both as an act of resistance from ongoing gentrification and as an unapologetic reminder that the Pasifika community are STILL HERE.

Funding details

Note: Only the primary distribution platform is listed in the synopsis of each project. Distribution across multiple social media platforms is a key component of many of these projects.

Bouncers, 8 x 5 mins, West Park and Culture Factory for YouTube, up to $289,638

Here If You Need, 6 x 10 mins, Tumblin’ Cheek Productions for YouTube, up to $248,994

I Got You, 30 x 1 min, Cadness Street for Instagram, up to $200,183

Self Help, 8 x 7 mins, Wrestler for YouTube, up to $300,000

Amplified, 6 x 8 mins, Vetiver Pictures for RNZ, up to $211,646

Check Check, 36 x 12 mins, MTCO for Re:, up to $100,000

Shit You Should Care About Presents: Extremely Online, 25 x 2 mins, Hex Work Productions for Instagram, up to $260,382

Still Here, 4 x 13 mins, Four and Five Films for Re:, up to $195,430

Tribal: Inside New Zealand’s Wildest Music Scenes, 6 x 10 mins, Fairfax NZ for Stuff, up to $170,900

Young and Famous, 31 x 3 mins, Manaia M for YouTube, up to $230,088

2000s Baby, 5 x 10 mins, Re: for Re:, up to $190,980