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Three New TV Dramas Funded Under NZOA Rautaki Māori Strategy

30 July 2019

Maori screen organisation Ngā Aho Whakaari is pleased to note that three major drama series funded under NZ On Air’s Rautaki Māori strategy will play on mainstream channels TVNZ and Three.

The new dramas are:

One Lane Bridge is a crime drama with a dark supernatural edge steeped in Māori spirituality. Set against the brooding landscape of Queenstown, the TVNZ series follows an ambitious young detective whose unique gift of matakite (second sight) both helps and hinders his ability to solve a murder. Producer is Carmen Leonard (Te Arawa/Rangitāne. Producer of The Casketeers) for Great Southern Television for TVOne.

In a country teeming with rugby-mad whānau, the sport is a way of life for many. A gripping multi-cultural drama with a Māori family at its core, Head High for TV3 follows the emotional and highly competitive world of secondary school rugby. Tim Worrall (Ngai Tūhoe) co-head writer and showrunner says “I am excited to be working with Rachel Jean (South Pacific Pictures head of development) because she has a genuine commitment to developing kaupapa Māori projects and supporting the emergence of pakihi Māori (Māori screen industry).

“I look forward to taking learnings from the project back to kaupapa Māori initiatives within my own iwi and our Steambox Māori film collective in Rotorua.”

Toke is centred on three kiwifruit workers who discover a new strain of marijuana and are drawn into the high stakes world of the global cannabis industry. Kewana Duncan (Ngāti Tara, Tokanui) is the writer and second unit director.

Duncan says he is committed to creating and telling stories from a Māori world view: “Toke is a mad-cap, entertaining caper set in a hearty remote Māori community. I am thrilled to continue working with the experienced drama producers at Screentime to reflect a part of small town Aotearoa to a primetime audience."

Rautaki Māori funding was developed by NZ On Air in 2002 and has been updated periodically with input from Ngā Aho Whakaari. To gain Rautaki status two of the three key creatives must be Māori.

NZ On Air chief executive Jane Wrightson says key personnel on these projects are being finalised shortly and if the required number of finalised key creatives are not Māori, the projects will not be recorded as Rautaki Māori.”

Ngā Aho Whakaari chair Hineani Melbourne says “It’s exciting and important that Māori creatives are empowered to tell their stories. Ngā Aho Whakaari is proud of these creatives who have worked hard to get their stories to the frontline.”


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