New NZOA/Te Māngai Pāho Projects


A Warner Bros. Discovery drama with 30% te reo Māori dialogue, a Whakaata Māori drama series with a TikTok twist and a TVNZ 2 supernatural comedy have been greenlit for funding by NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho.

Here’s the media release:

NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho announce Scripted content with strong te reo and te ao Māori themes in latest co-fund

Irirangi Te Motu | NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho have announced the successful applicants for the Te Māngai Pāho / NZ On Air Co-Fund with a clear focus on Scripted productions with strong te reo and te ao Māori themes for broad audiences.

This includes the first Warner Brothers Discovery primetime drama with 30% te reo Māori dialogue.

The co-fund opened in December 2023 seeking proposals for a joint total fund of up to $8m with a priority on high quality Scripted te reo Māori content.

“Research had shown us that around 70% of funding going to Māori production companies from across the screen funding agencies was going towards Non-Fiction productions,” says Amie Mills, NZ On Air Head of Funding.

“This year’s co-fund was focused on redressing that imbalance and shining a light on the brilliant, scripted craft of our Māori screen storytellers.”

A total of 25 applications were submitted to the round – with four applications receiving Scripted production funding and five applications receiving funding for Scripted Development, receiving in total up to $10,160,243.

“These applications all have strong te reo and te ao Māori themes, as well as being larger scale projects with high production values and a high creative bar,” says Larry Parr, Kaihautū, Te Māngai Pāho.

“They will not only connect with local audiences in a meaningful way but also further build the industry’s skills in producing high quality Scripted reo Māori content.”

The first primetime drama for Warner Bros. Discovery to have 30% te reo Māori dialogue is Tangata Pai. A scripted drama series for ThreeNow and Three, it is the story of five people in the last hour of their lives when a bomb is detonated at a Māori protest.

Inspired by true events, Rapunga the Hunt is a drama series for Māori+ and Whakaata Māori that follows an eclectic group of urban Māori who find themselves in the middle of the remote far north. Some are there by choice, others have no other options, but all are completely out of their depth.

Produced by, for and about rangatahi, Kupu X is a drama series where Kahu Smith debunks local mysteries on TikTok as a front for her investigations into her mother’s disappearance.

Her research leads her to the town of Urutomo, where she meets Tomai Stone, her polar opposite and possible key to the truth. Kupu X is a multiplatform story for viewing on Whakaata Māori, TikTok and YouTube.

Dead Ahead is a scripted comedy for TVNZ+ and TVNZ 2 that received development funding in the 2023 co-fund. It follows the Wharekoa whānau as they return to Aotearoa after a decade abroad.

Kiri Wharekoa inadvertently disrupts the delicate balance between the physical and spiritual realms, unleashing four kēhua into the Wharekoa household.

The five Scripted Development projects that were also funded through this co-fund received $139,910 and will see further exciting projects developed for New Zealand audiences.

Funding Decisions

SCRIPTED
Tangata Pai, 8 x 44’, Green Sugar Media for viewing on ThreeNow and Three, up to $3,990,000

Dead Ahead, 6 x 22’30”, HiMama for viewing on TVNZ+ and TVNZ 2, up to $2,893,133

Rapunga The Hunt, 6 x 26’, Cinco Cine Film Productions for viewing on Māori+ and Whakaata Māori, up to $2,185,920

Kupu X, 6 x 15’, Adrenalin Group for viewing on Whakaata Māori, TikTok and YouTube, up to $951,280

The total funding is split approx. 60/40 between Te Māngai Pāho and NZ On Air. All funding commitments are based on the funding applications received and must be contracted within a specified timeframe. Funding is only released, in stages, as contractual commitments are met. Funds committed but not contracted within the specified timeframe are written back and distributed in future funding rounds.

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