NZ On Air has invested $1.7m in six documentary projects that speak to the diversity of experiences of Pan-Asian peoples in Aotearoa.

The projects were chosen following a call out for high-quality Factual content with a focus on Pan-Asian led creative teams, experiences, and perspectives. The RFP is a targeted initiative from NZ On Air to support authentic storytelling that reflects Aotearoa’s diverse cultures.

NZ On Air is grateful for the generous guidance of the Pan-Asian Screen Collective (PASC) in developing and supporting the kaupapa of this RFP. Representatives from PASC were valuable to the framing of the initiative and supporting NZ On Air to ensure the RFP was fit-for-purpose and equitable in every way.

When Haka Meets Bhangra is a documentary about the unexpected alliance between a group of Māori and Pasifika wāhine and their Sikh coach/mentor who team up to take on the international sport of Kabaddi.

New documentary series The Hustle will explore the lives of millennial, Kiwi Pan-Asian entrepreneurs to find out how they are pushing boundaries on the world stage.

Translated as ‘come and eat’ in Cantonese, Sik Fan Lah! follows host Xana Tang as she embarks on an Insta-worthy culinary road trip across Aotearoa. From tasting a whole roast hog Chinese-style in Manawatū, to sampling fusion bao in central Auckland, Sik Fan Lah! will lift the lid on the diversity of Kiwi-Chinese identity – one bite at a time.

1984 is the first New Zealand documentary series about the 1984 Sikh Massacre in India, and the subsequent diaspora that led to an influx of Punjabi/Sikh immigrants into Aotearoa.

In Hair Now, six women of different ages, ethnicities, languages, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds examine their complex relationship with their hair.

Observational documentary series Takeout Kids will follow the joys and challenges of children growing up in the back of takeaway restaurants run by their immigrant parents.

“In 2020, our annual Diversity Report noted a consistent under-representation of Pan-Asian creatives in core production roles,” said NZ On Air Head Of Funding Amie Mills.

“Because meaningful representation at all stages of the production process – and especially in key creative roles - is essential to authentic storytelling, it’s so important we create more opportunities for Pan-Asian creatives to thrive in the screen space,” she continued.

“NZ On Air's initiative is an important milestone in addressing the under-representation of Pan-Asian New Zealanders on screen and behind the camera. We hope this opportunity to tell stories that offer different insights and perspectives on Aotearoa’s rich and varied cultures, continues through other initiatives, platforms, and institutions,” said PASC General Manager Marc Laureano.”

Funding Details

Sik Fan Lah!, 6 x 23 mins, Phoebe Shum for TVNZ 2, up to $417,364.

When Haka Meets Bhangra, 1 x 45 mins, Nomadz Unlimited for Māori Television, up to $369,600.

The Hustle, 6 x 22 mins, Notable Pictures for Three, up to $368,633 plus a platform contribution of $96,000.

Takeout Kids, 4 x 10 mins, Uhz & Hexwork Productions for The Spinoff, up to $259,974.

1984, 6 x 10 mins, Fire Fire for RNZ, up to $184,288.

Hair Now, 6 x 5 mins, A Grain Of Rice Productions for The Spinoff, up to $107,932.