5 November 2021

NZ On Air is seeking support from media content creators and media platforms to better serve the needs of Asian New Zealanders, following new research.

Independent researchers Heather Irvine and Wing Morgan conducted the ethnographic qualitative research for NZ On Air, involving indepth questioning of a group of Indian and Chinese New Zealanders in their homes. The study sought to identify what media they consume, what motivates their choices and what’s missing for them.

NZ On Air CEO Cameron Harland says for some time the agency has been tracking Asian audiences’ growing disengagement with local media and wanted to understand how to better meet their needs.

“Ultimately it’s about social cohesion. There is an opportunity to offer something unique, meaningful and enriching for Asian New Zealanders, and in so doing to connect them with the New Zealand part of their identity.”

NZ On Air has briefed Asian content creators (via the Pan Asian Screen Collective) and local media platforms on the findings. “We see purposeful partnership with Asian creatives and local media platforms as being a big part of the solution and we are seeking to be joined up in this endeavour.”

Key findings among Chinese New Zealanders interviewed include:

  • Chinese New Zealanders’ media diet is largely Chinese or international, consuming content in Chinese languages, and with a different aesthetic and taste to NZ fare.
  • They are consuming their content largely on international platforms and rarely use local linear TV or radio.
  • When they do consume local content it’s often for practical information such as the weather, news and Covid updates.
  • There’s a perception local media is ‘not for them’.
  • And if there is content they might be interested in, they don’t know how to find it or would prefer it was in Chinese languages.
  • They would be motivated to connect with local content to learn about everyday life in NZ, better understand NZ and the people around them, and explore NZ history and cultures, particularly Māori and Pasifika.

Key findings among Indian New Zealanders interviewed include:

  • Indian New Zealanders have a more broad media repertoire that includes local and international content, and can feel connected with a wider NZ social narrative through local content.
  • Indian participants tend to access NZ content through linear broadcast platforms, though many now also use online platforms.
  • However there are gaps emerging. Some participants had lost their connection to NZ media in the transition to online, and some newer migrants have never discovered NZ platforms.
  • They want to see themselves reflected in local content more authentically and diversely. ‘More than just dairy robberies and arranged marriages’.
  • And they want to be reflected as New Zealanders, not outsiders – to reflect their sense of belonging.

Researchers Heather Irvine and Wing Morgan say with both groups discoverability is a key challenge, and promoting NZ online platforms is a priority.

“Chinese NZ audiences in particular are hard to reach, because they do not expect to find content that is ‘for them’ on local platforms, and they do not tend to access NZ online platforms, or use linear platforms.

Indian NZ audiences often do find NZ content that they feel is ‘for them’, and do have connections with existing NZ platforms. The challenge is to make sure NZ content continues to be discoverable for them, and to better represent who they are as New Zealanders with diverse and multi-layered identities.”

The full research report is available here.