The Kids Are Going to Be Alright

NZ On Air is bankrolling a $5 million multi-platform slate of youth programming.

Here’s the media release:

$5m investment in content for New Zealand youth where they are

NZ On Air is taking a bold new approach to engaging young New Zealanders with local content, with a $5m investment in new content that aims to both resonate with and reach youth, and provide opportunities for new young creatives.

The Within My Reach call for proposals was a response to the 2022 Where Are the Youth Audiences research which showed a social media-first approach would be needed to reach 15-24 year old audiences.

With $5m funding (from $10m additional funding given to NZ On Air in Budget ’23), the agency put out a call for content that would deliver to a new Youth Content Strategy.

152 initial applications were received in response and 26 made it through to final funding applications. The projects selected for funding will be enjoyed across a wide range of social media platforms.

The range of ideas include reimagining local music hits, an animated comedy about a rural zombie outbreak, the highs and lows of dating as rangatahi, a scripted drama about Polyfest the Polynesian dance festival, a scripted teenage whodunnit that deals with issues like sextortion and bullying, and a fully audio-described reality programme by, for and about blind and low-vision youth.

NZ On Air Head of Funding Amie Mills says it’s vital the agency continues to look for ways to engage young New Zealanders with great local stories.

“This demographic is more connected to social media content than any before them. In these formative years in their lives, it is hugely culturally important that within that content rangatahi see and experience local stories.

“Stories that ground them in Aotearoa New Zealand, and reflect their own lives and experiences authentically, but at the same time entertain and expand their minds.”

Funding details:

First Place, 5 x 12′, Tikilounge Productions for viewing on TheCoconetTV, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TVNZ+, up to $970,000. 

The drama behind the scenes of the biggest Polynesian Dance festival in the world. Who has what it takes to stand in the front row? and, who will win first place?

Literally Dead, 8 x 8′, Lusty Ace Films for viewing on YouTube, up to $526,990.

A dead teenage girl stalks her high school friends’ graduation party to investigate her own murder.

Bloke Of The Apocalypse, 6 x 6′, Suite Habana Productions for viewing on YouTube, up to $472,368

A 2D animated horror-comedy series that follows a father and son as they combat the zombie apocalypse in rural New Zealand.

The Sender, 17 x 2′, Cable Maiden Productions for viewing on Instagram Reels, TikTok and YouTube, up to $375,000.

When a group of school leaders gather for an exclusive Prefect Party, their celebration turns sinister.

The Regions, 5 x 7’ plus 5x 3’ plus 5 x 90”, to Re: for viewing on Re:, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and TVNZ+, up to $505,115.

A snapshot of the lives of regional rangatahi in 2024 and the issues that matter to them.

Beyond The Beat, 5 x 8 – 12′, and 50 x 15 – 60”, and 1 x music video, Chillbox Creative for viewing on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook, up to $500,000.

Five artists on a mission to transform the nation’s hottest hits.  Each week a rising star meets with a radio hit legend to turn their tune on its head.

Pā Life, 5 x 10’, Three Feathers Productions for viewing on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TVNZ+, up to $463,788.

A docu-reality series following the extraordinary-ordinary lives of a group of cousins who were born and raised on their papakainga, in Porirua.

Kaputī With The Cuzzies, 10 x 20′, Electric Shoelace Productions for viewing on YouTube, up to $194,311.

Cousins Jade and Kura are a pair of weird wāhine Māori. In this unfiltered video podcast they deal with Māori issues in the way they always do, with a cup of tea and a wānanga.

Sight Unseen, 5 x 5-10’, Able for viewing on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and, up to $186,767.

Blind rangatahi highlight their (un)sensationalised day-to-day lives, and their honest, funny, silly and serious conversations. The series features open audio description, for the blind and low-vision.

What Sex Ed Didn’t Teach You, 15 x 90”, Re: for viewing on Re:, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok, up to $178,550.

A witty and straight-up 15-part series that covers the lessons and sex advice young people wish they learnt at school, instead of figuring it out on their own.

The Gender Agenda, 5 x 10′, Rumbletoon for viewing on YouTube, up to $395,115.

Anthony-Bourdain-meets-queercore-punk-rock in this docu-series following non-binary host, Perrin Hastings, in a search for answers and gender identity.

d8talk, 230 x 1’, Champion Creative for viewing on Instagram Reels, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube, up to $149,986.

Dating in Aotearoa: an entertaining, endearing expression of the highs and lows of the contemporary human experience through a rangatahi lens.

Note:  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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