7 July 2023

Local screens will soon be graced with a dynamic line-up of drama series, including two brand new shows and three highly anticipated returns. These series will delve into various themes, offering a diverse blend of musical comedy, inspiring drama, cultural exploration, and a platform for emerging storytellers to showcase their talent.

NZ On Air Head of Funding Amie Mills says that bringing a vibrant array of voices to the forefront means that the line-up of supported projects promises to embody diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“These projects are driven by teams deeply connected to the content they're creating, opening up new avenues for creative expression,” she continues.

A new musical comedy series for Three and ThreeNow, Happiness centres on a Kiwi-born Broadway director’s return to smalltown Aotearoa New Zealand, where he is roped into directing a local musical theatre production. Featuring quirky and diverse characters Happiness will put regional New Zealand centre stage as its based in Tauranga.

Adding to the slate for Three, after theatrical release, is feature film Tinā. This is an inspiring drama following the uplifting story of a Samoan teacher, broken by the death of her daughter in the Christchurch earthquake, but able to provide guidance, inspiration and love to students in a new role. The production will be led by a talented Pasifika team with a strong main cast of Samoan characters.

A story that has resonated with younger audiences Not Even has been picked up for another season. To screen on Prime and Neon, season two finds a group of Māori and Pasifika friends crashing through Wellington city, warring with their cultural identities and each other and exploring the idea of “where do I belong?”

The sixth season of the gritty, funny, sexy Māori drama Ahikāroa will return to Whakaata Māori, Māori+ and TVNZ+. Ahikāroa deals with topical, important social issues written from an urban Māori millennial perspective.

And finally, emerging filmmakers will push the envelope, take story risks, and look to the future in Someday Stories, a creative skills programme which creates eight short films for a teenage/young adult audience.

In the first funding round of the new financial year NZ On Air was considering Scripted applications seeking less than $3million, with a further Special Scripted round just announced that allows for larger scale projects that are now able to seek NZ Screen Production Rebate (NZSPR) funding alongside NZ On Air funding.

Funding details

Happiness, 6 x 23’, Greenstone TV for Three, up to $2,962,256

Not Even 2, 6 x 23’, Miss Conception Films for Prime/Sky, up to $1,995,000

Ahikāroa 6, 20 x 26’, Kura Productions for Whakaata Māori and TVNZ+, up to $899,000

Someday Stories 8, 8 x 10’, Connected Media Charitable Trust for RNZ and Whakaata Māori, up to $395,000

Tinā, 1 x 90’, The Brown Factory for Three, up to $350,000