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Tom Frewen: The G.C. – Part Three

Tom Frewen: The G.C. – Part Three

In a fresh embarrassment for government funding agency, NZ on Air, one of the four females in the taxpayer-funded reality tv show The G.C. has got herself on to the cover of Swedish lads’ mag Slitz as “Australia’s new supermodel.”

Rosanna “Rosie” Arkle is one of two “glamour models” on the show which received $420,000 from NZ on Air for a series initially described as a documentary about “seven Maori families living on Australia’s Gold Coast.”

Responding to criticism of the first episodes, the funding agency then published the original proposal which was for an “observational documentary series” about “seven young Maori who left New Zealand as ‘unskilled’ workers but are now striving for and achieving business and personal success on the Gold Coast.”

But the screened version is different again, with just one of the original characters joining nine new cast members including two non-Maori, at least one Australian, and a “glamour model” who was missing from cast lists supplied to NZ on Air even though she’s one of show’s stars.

The proposal, from Black Inc Media Ltd, 90% owned by the local affiliate of Dutch international television production giant Eyeworks, promised “this will be a Rautaki Maori [Maori Strategy] series-focused initiative focusing on ordinary Maori achieving success they don’t believe they could achieve in their own country.”

Among commentators buying this line, the Weekend Herald’s Fran O’Sullivan wrote: “The great thing about TV3's new reality show The G.C. is how it openly shows young go-for-it Mozzies (Maori Aussies) having a really good time. Instead of wallowing in some tribal backwater, they have skipped across the Tasman to build successful entrepreneurial futures alongside other Kiwis in Australia and enjoy the ‘sun, surf and sex’ lifestyles.” It was a pity, O’Sullivan opined, that Maori political leaders were not as positive as the characters in The G.C.

But two of the show’s four female characters are not Maori and at least one of them was not even born in New Zealand. Rosanna Arkle’s web page describes her ethnicity as caucasian, as does fellow cast member, Jessi Nugent. The show’s TV3 website says she comes from Towoomba while Arkle hails from Whangarei. Neither are in the core cast of nine in pre-production reports to NZ on Air dated October 20 and December 22 2011.

One possible explanation is Arkle’s inclusion about that time in Aussie lads’ mag ZOO Weekly’s 2011 Best Bums feature. While a positive career move to getting on the cover of Slitz, it might have alerted NZ on Air’s to The G.C.’s real purpose.

Arkle’s central role in the show’s promotion, including a forthcoming boxing match with Auckland wannabe celebrity Jaime Ridge, raises further questions about NZ on Air’s use of taxpayer funds to back what appears to be a highly-commercial celebrity-based entertainment vehicle for a giant international television production company, Eyeworks, and Australian-owned TV3.

As well as falling well short of its billing as a documentary about successful young Maori in Australia, The G.C. has also failed to retain its audience with its 5-plus audience slumping from over 400,000 on debut to around 255,000 last week.

ends

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