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Country TV Gets The Thumbs Up

NZ On Air has announced funding for three very different takes on life in rural New Zealand. Country Calendar, High Country Dance and Park Rangers.

High Country Dance will showcase the plight of Middlemarch, the tiny Central Otago town where single men far out-number single women, and its bid to boost a dwindling population by staging a massive matchmaking Saturday Night Dance.

The programme will follow the progress of six single male locals and six single women before, during and after the big dance. The townspeople hope that romance will blossom as a way to ensure the future of Middlemarch.

“While High Country Dance takes a light-hearted look at country romance, it is also a more serious portrayal of the measures a small town will take to ensure its survival, “ said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jo Tyndall.

“NZ On Air funding of programmes like High Country Dance gives small rural communities a wider audience and generates increased understanding of the pressures in their lives, “ said Ms Tyndall.

Understanding the lives of men and women who protect New Zealand's parks, reserves and species, is the subject of a new action-packed series entitled Park Rangers.

New Zealand has five million hectares of parks and reserves that are cared for and protected by rangers from different central and regional government departments.

"This factual family series will follow the everyday lives of six rangers as they try to keep our parklands and waters safe," said Ms Tyndall.

“Park Rangers not only provides a chance for the audience to learn about conservation but viewers will also see the many incidents, adventures and endeavours that keep these remarkable rangers in their jobs,” she said.

Perhaps the most remarkable country programme of all is the perennial kiwi favourite, Country Calendar.

“NZ On Air funding has been approved for a further series of this time-honoured television tradition. The 37th series of Country Calendar will continue to reflect the diversity of colourful characters and events that comprise the New Zealand rural community,” said Ms Tyndall.

NZ On Air has allocated $220,000 to TVNZ to produce a 13 x half hour series of Country Calendar to be screened on TV One.

Touchdown Productions will receive $290,735 to produce 10 x half hour series of Park Rangers to be screened on TV One, and $98,260 to produce two, one hour documentary programmes of High Country Dance to be screened on TV2.

Country Calendar $220,000
13 x ½ hour documentary series
Broadcaster: TV One
Producer: Frank Torley, TVNZ

High Country Dance $98,260
2 x one hour documentaries
Broadcaster: TV2
Producer: Julie Christie, Touchdown Productions

Park Rangers $290,735
10 x ½ hour documentary series
Broadcaster: TV One
Producer: Darryl McEwen, Touchdown Productions


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