Hot Off the Press Release: TVNZ 2’s New Supernatural Anthology

TVNZ 2 will screen a new multi-cultural anthology about the supernatural.

The untitled scripted series will air in primetime over six weeks, having received about $3 million in public funding.

NZOA and Te Māngai Pāho are also bankrolling five other bilingual projects.

Here are the media releases:

New TVNZ Anthology series to explore Māori, Pasifika, and Filipino Supernatural Beings

NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho have announced funding for a new six episode anthology series set to explore supernatural stories of Māori, Pasifika, and Filipino cultures.

The new scripted series will screen during prime-time on TVNZ 2, and support six storytelling teams in amplifying their voices and cultures to a variety of audiences across the motu.

Two of the episodes, Albularyo: The Witch Doctor, and 26:29, were funded through the NZ On Air Newer Storytellers fund.

Four of the episodes, From The Mist / Te Pao o te Patupaiarehe, Tappy, Taumanu, and Te Āo Mārama were funded through the NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho co-fund. More information on the other projects funded through this co-fund can be found here.

The projects selected for the series include:

Albularyo: The Witch Doctor: When a Kiwi-Filipino doctor discovers that her deceased grandmother has become a manananggal, a corrupted witch, she must face up to her troubled youth and make peace with her estranged brother before they both suffer the bloody consequences.

26:29: A group of millennial vloggers enter an abandoned church in Auckland and uncover the truth of its mysterious past in this found footage horror.

Tappy: A displaced young man and his reluctant ghostly companion confront love, loss, and abuse on an unlikely road trip together when he is sent to steal a dead body.

From The Mist / Te Pao o te Patupaiarehe: Two soon-to-be lovers are drawn together by song but divided by the friction between the human world and the world of the Patupaiarehe.

Taumanu: In 1929, a toi moko is delivered to a colonial manor house and when mysterious Māori twins arrive to reclaim it, the head butler, Tīpene, finds himself drawn into the bloody climax of a century of utu.

Te Āo Mārama: Te Āo Mārama shares the story of a glamourous, ball-breaking, recently deceased wahine, who threatens to haunt her neighbour if he doesn’t help her pass over to the afterlife.

NZ On Air’s Chief Executive Cam Harland says, “Aotearoa is home to a wealth of cultures, all of which should be reflected on our screens. NZ On Air is excited to support this new anthology series, which will increase cultural diversity in prime-time in a thrilling new way.”

“We’re particularly proud that one of the projects Albularyo: The Witch Doctor, will be the first time the Filipino language, Tagalog, will feature in a prime-time drama on a mainstream local channel” he continues.

“We are honoured to be a part of this unique initiative. Of course, we are pleased to be able to support four Māori drama productions, but we are delighted that our bi-cultural nation recognises and supports diverse voices within Aotearoa. Ngā mihi maioha ki Te Reo Tātaki, otirā ki ngā tira waihanga kaupapa whakaari katoa” says Kaihautū of Te Māngai Pāho, Larry Parr.

“Te Reo Tātaki (TVNZ) is committed to reflecting the diverse communities, people and perspectives that make up Aotearoa. We’re thrilled that this anthology series elevates Māori, Pasifika and Asian creators and provides them with the opportunity to bring their stories to screen in prime-time as well as OnDemand. We’re excited for audiences to benefit from this unique kaupapa” says TVNZ General Manager for Local Content Nevak Rogers.

“Te Reo Tātaki would like to acknowledge the generous support of Robin Scholes, Lisa Chatfield, Steven Zanoski and Tina Archibald – the Consulting Executives who provided mentorship to the teams through the development of their scripts and proposals” she continued.

Funding details

Funded through the NZ On Air Newer Storytellers fund

Albularyo: The Witch Doctor, 1 x 22 mins, The Hot House for TVNZ 2, up to $500,057.

26:29, 1 x 22 mins, Tusitala Media for TVNZ 2, up to $500,000.

Funded through the NZ On Air / Te Māngai Pāho co-fund

Tappy, 1 x 22 mins, Steambox Collective Charitable Trust, up to $500,000.00.

From The Mist / Te Pao o te Patupaiarehe, 1 x 22 mins, 10000 Company Ltd, up to $508,055.00.

Taumanu, 1 x 22 mins, Sweetshop and Green Ltd, up to $500,836.00.

Te Āo Mārama, 1 x 22 mins, Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions Ltd, up to $546,327.

Premium, bilingual content coming to more Aotearoa screens

Successful projects from the latest Te Māngai Pāho and Irirangi Te Motu/NZ On Air co-fund have been announced.

A total of $4 million has been awarded to nine applicants, which will see varying levels of te reo Māori used across a wide variety of programme genres.

The second co-fund opportunity for the funding agencies sees a focus on innovative, premium content that engages Aotearoa audiences with a diverse and alternative Māori perspective.

“Our collaboration with the team at NZ On Air enables us to support premium content that we would not otherwise be able to fund” says Kaihautū of Te Māngai Pāho, Larry Parr.

“The partnership provides an opportunity for Māori content creators to extend themselves and reach wider audiences”

Irirangi Te Motu/NZ On Air’s Chief Executive Cameron Harland agreed. “Collaboration across our sector has never been as important as it is now. It’s been a joy to once again partner with Te Māngai Pāho to fund content that works toward our common goal of authentically reflecting Aotearoa.”

“The projects funded in this round will bring an incredible variety of new stories to Aotearoa’s screens as well as, crucially, normalising the use of te reo during prime-time,” he continued.

NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho will soon issue a second request for proposals that support the revitalisation of Māori language content, to be funded from an underspend in this round. If you would like to stay informed about this RFP, please sign up for the NZ On Air newsletters here, and the Te Māngai Pāho newsletters here.

Funded projects:

Gowns and GeysersFollow contestants of Miss Rotorua 2021 as they prepare for one of Aotearoa’s most controversial pageants. Led by the King of Controversy himself, Kharl Wirepa, these Te Arawa beauties are no ordinary queens.

The Untold Tales of Tūteremoana: This trilogy of tales draws on parallel stories that cover six generations of oral stories of the Ngāi Tara people, centred around the great chief Tūteremoana.

Duality: Duality is a raw look at mixed-whakapapa young Māori, between the ages of 18-32, who are on a journey to find their identity.

Hui Hoppers: Hui-hopping half-sisters-come-professional hui caterers, Fran and Kura use their prowess in the kitchen to grandstand as self-appointed leaders of their marae in this scripted comedy.

Meng: This bilingual documentary unpacks one man’s determination to promote the rights of tāngata whenua, while negotiating what this means for himself as tauiwi hainamana with influence in Aotearoa.

Supernatural Anthology Series: Four of six episodes funded through the Te Māngai Pāho and Irirangi Te Motu/NZ On Air co-fund. This new prime-time scripted initiative for TVNZ is a curated anthology of supernatural half-hour dramas. For more details, please read the separate Anthology media release here.

Funding details

Gowns and Geysers, 8 x 12 mins, Te Noni for TVNZ OnDemand and Māori Television, up to $569,580.

The Untold Tales of Tūteremoana, 3 x 26 mins, Sweetshop and Green for Māori Television, up to $294,675.

Duality, 6 x 22 mins, Fire Fire for RNZ and Māori Television, up to $234,488.

Hui Hoppers, 7 x 10 mins, Three Feathers Productions for TVNZ OnDemand, up to $567,318.

Meng, 1 x 52 mins, Uhz for Māori Television, up to $199,831.

Supernatural Anthology Series, 4 x 22 mins, Steambox Collective Charitable Trust, 10000 Company, Sweetshop and Green, and Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for TVNZ 2 and TVNZ OnDemand, up to $2,055,218.

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