Hot Off the Press Release: NZOA Bankrolls New Comedies

NZ On Air is bankrolling new comedies about refugees and a Polynesian wahine, and renewing Wellington Paranormal, Mean Mums, 7 Days and New Zealand Today for 2021 runs.

It’s also backing a second season of drama Head High and a fourth of the bilingual drama Ahikāroa

Here’s the media release:

Don’t worry – there’s plenty to laugh about in 2021

Local audiences will have plenty to cheer them up in 2021, with hours of returning and new local comedy and drama headed for our screens.

A new Prime sitcom, Raised By Refugees, from comedian Pax Assadi, invites viewers into the confusing, and at times harsh, reality of being a part-Pakistani part-Iranian kid growing up in post-9/11 Aotearoa.

Also returning to Prime and as a six-part sketch show, is the ‘social and cultural phenomenon’ SIS. A one-off special this year was warmly welcomed by audiences and critics alike for its depiction of loud, unapologetic Polynesian wāhine who address weighty cultural issues with ‘unique comedic aplomb.’

The creative team behind Wellington Paranormal are hard at work creating a fourth season for TVNZ 2 with the laugh-out-loud spooky investigators, Minogue and O’Leary. Returning with a new season for TVNZ OnDemand is Kura following the struggles of Billy-John who has chosen to remain in Papakura but faces a new dilemma.

Comedy continues to be a pillar of Three’s local content, with the crazy, earnest, exhausted school mums of Mean Mums returning for a third season, along with the long-running comedy panel show 7 Days. And Guy Williams sets off on another irreverent trip around Aotearoa in a second season of New Zealand Today. 

All the drama of high school rugby will be back on Three next year with a second series of Head High bringing more emotion and challenges for the Roberts/O’Kane whanau as their sons strive for rugby careers and learn there’s a price to success.

A realistic snapshot of young urban Māori mindsets, the bilingual drama series Ahikāroa returns for a fourth season, continuing to deliver gritty, funny and sexy storylines to engage rangatahi audiences.

NZ On Air Head of Funding Amie Mills says she’s excited by the slate of returning comedy and drama, especially those new projects with rich stories to tell.

“We are thrilled to see pathways being created in prime-time and online for talented storytellers to take their craft to the next level. That so many of these projects are returning seasons with loyal and passionate audiences is a testament to the creative talent we have in Aotearoa.”

Funding details 

Head High 2, 8 x 44 mins, South Pacific Pictures for Three, up to $6,070,000 plus a platform contribution reduction of $416,000

Mean Mums 3, 8 x 22 mins, South Pacific Pictures for Three, up to $1,110,000 plus a platform contribution reduction of $192,000

SIS 2.0, 6 x 22 mins, Culture Factory for Prime and Comedy Central NZ (free-access), up to $1,751,342 plus a platform contribution reduction of $240,000

Wellington Paranormal 4, 6 x 22 mins, New Zealand Documentary Board for TVNZ 2, up to $2,590,000 plus a platform contribution reduction of $168,000

7 Days 2021, 20 x 23 mins, Mediaworks TV for Three, up to $792,375 plus a platform contribution reduction of $633,900

Kura 2, 6 x 15 mins, Plus6Four Entertainment for TVNZ OnDemand, up to $500,000 plus a platform contribution reduction of $46,000

New Zealand Today 2, 10 x 22 mins, Kevin and Co for Three, up to $876,879 plus a platform contribution reduction of $240,000

Raised By Refugees, 6 x 22 mins, Kevin and Co for Prime, up to $979,380 plus a platform contribution reduction of $144,000

Someday Stories 2021, 6 x 10 mins, Connected Media Trust for Stuff, up to $230,000 plus a platform contribution reduction of $800

Ahikāroa 4, 20 x 26 mins, Kura Productions for Māori TV and TVNZ OnDemand, up to $425,000.  

*Qualifying platforms are able to access a one-off COVID-19 relief fund that allows the platform contribution to be reduced by 80%. The above figures show how much funding has been accessed by each project.

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