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NZ On Air Announces Strategy For Kids

New Zealand children think that New Zealand culture is not as cool as American culture, according to research commissioned by NZ On Air.

NZ On Air presented the research today to a packed audience of television broadcasters and producers at a Children’s Forum in Wellington.

The organisation also presented its priorities for funding children’s programmes in the future. The priorities have been developed following the research and extensive consultation with the industry and with organisations and individuals working with children and young people.

NZ On Air chief executive, Jo Tyndall, said the research findings indicated a worrying gap between young New Zealanders’ own lives, and the role models and situations they were identifying with.

“We need our young people to believe that their culture is every bit as real, and as valid, as American culture. There is evidence that lack of identity is associated with a lot of the social and mental issues New Zealand youth are confronting.

“Television – with its mass reach – is key in confronting this problem.”

NZ On Air is currently the main funder of locally made children’s television in New Zealand. This year 27% of its total television spend will be aimed at children and young people.

Ms Tyndall said the review of NZ On Air’s children’s funding strategy was designed to ensure that the organisation was making the best use of its funds in this crucial area of programming.

“The research findings and priorities announced today mean that television broadcasters and producers have a clear message about what they need to do, in seeking funding for their programmes from NZ On Air.

“Programmes have to be – first and foremost – entertaining, energetic and fun, so that children will want to watch them.

“The priorities we are announcing also deal with issues such as treating children as citizens, not consumers; provision of positive role models for all children; and inclusion of educational elements in children’s programmes.”

Ms Tyndall said that presenters, hosts and characters in children’s programmes played an important role.

“The research showed clearly that children like watching themselves on television. This means that boys want to watch boys, girls want to watch girls and Maori want to watch Maori.

“So programmes that provide positive role models for boys and girls, for Maori and Pacific Island children, will be another NZ On Air priority,” says Ms Tyndall.

The findings also reveal that children are dismissive of educational elements in television programmes.

“This doesn’t mean we won’t include education in programmes that we fund – it means that the educational elements will have to be included more creatively.

“It’s what we call the “veggie burger” approach. And it can be done - the research shows that “What Now?”, for example, is already making inroads in this area.“

ends

For further information:
Jo Tyndall
Chief Executive
(04) 382 9524

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