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NZ On Air Allocates Funding For Childrens TV

The critical power of television in shaping self identity in children and young people has been recognised in new funding for children's television programmes.

NZ On Air today announced funding of over five and a half million dollars for children's programmes for 2000.

"We all know children spend time in front of television. NZ On Air is committed to ensuring that, as far as possible, the images they receive from the most potent broadcasting medium - the television - reflect their world and experiences.

Research shows that 97% of New Zealand households have a television set.

"It's the most powerful and pervasive communications media across all socio-economic groups. NZ On Air wants to ensure that children and young people benefit from the medium, and have a selection of New Zealand programmes to educate and entertain them," said Ms Tyndall.

NZ On Air has allocated funds in the new year for Bumble II; Suzy's World; The Big Chair II; Mai Time 2000; ICE TV; Squeeze; Smokefree Stage Challenge; Rockfest 2000; and Squirt.

Suzy's World

Popular children's broadcaster, Suzy Cato, will continue to bring science into children's living rooms in another television series of Suzy's World.

"Suzy's World successfully incorporates Maori language and concepts into the programme, giving it a strong New Zealand feel and authenticity," said Ms Tyndall.

The last series placed scientific concepts alongside Maori traditions, such as the story of the rocks at Moeraki.

NZ On Air has allocated $600,825 to Treehut Productions for the production of 66 ten minute episodes of Suzy's World to screen on weekday afternoons on TV3 next year.

Squirt

Squirt is a children's series featuring real-time animation, local segments and Spike the Penguin, which provides a careful blend of fun and information for New Zealand children aged from seven to 12 years old.

Producer Annette Gordon of Taylormade Productions said she was thrilled that funding was to continue.

"Squirt gives children a rich mix of information, humour, interest and entertainment. What's really great about it is that it reflects Kiwi kids' lifestyles and interests. It's important that they see themselves and their experiences on air," Ms Gordon said.

NZ On Air has allocated $1,000,000 to Taylormade Productions to produce 44 half hour episodes of Squirt, to screen on Saturday mornings on TV2 in 2000.

Smokefree Stage Challenge 2000 and RockQuest 2000 Secondary school students will see themselves on air in two performance programmes next year: Smokefree Stage Challenge 2000 and RockQuest 2000.

"The competitions provide a relatively rare competitive opportunity for students to concentrate on the performing arts. They encourage young New Zealanders to participate in cultural activities and provide a genuine opportunity for them to see themselves on air," said Ms Tyndall.

The Stage Challenge competition, run for the past seven years, provides kiwi youth with the opportunity to stage a piece of live theatre to the music and theme of their choice.

The RockQuest 2000 is an annual competition to find the best high school band in New Zealand, offering teenagers the opportunity to perform contemporary music before their peers using professional equipment.

NZ On Air has allocated $200,000 to TV2 to produce two, two-hour specials of the Stage Challenge 1999, and $97,332 to TV3 to produce a one hour special of RockQuest 2000.

Mai Time, ICE TV and Squeeze

"What is particularly significant about these three series is that they all revel in local culture from a teenage perspective. Their particular support of local music, the arts, comedy and Maoritanga helps give New Zealand youth a better grounding in where they are from and who they are.

"Youth has embraced the global culture fully, yet at the same time it is yearning to find its place. Programmes such as Squeeze, Mai Time and ICE TV all contribute to developing and strengthening a uniquely New Zealand youth culture," said Ms Tyndall.

NZ On Air has allocated $1million to TV3 to produce 28 one hour episodes of ICE TV; $300,000 to Satellite Pictures for 35 one hour episodes of Squeeze; and $800,000 to TVNZ to produce 35 one hour episodes of Mai Time.

Bumble

Bumble is a locally-made series for pre-schoolers. Its friendly host is Bumble the Bee, whose colourful fantasy world combines music, storytelling and visual magic.

Bumble has been allocated $1,399,893 to produce 130 24-minute programmes and 130 five-minute programmes.

The Big Chair III

A series of fifteen five minute original stories, each imaginatively told by a well known New Zealander sitting in a giant green armchair, and illustrated by animated primary school pupils' art.

NZ On Air has allocated $165,000 to Raconteur Productions to produce The Big Chair III.

ENDS....

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