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NZ On Air reports improvement in diversity of key creatives

28 June 2019

NZ On Air reports improvement in diversity of key creatives in screen and music production

NZ On Air’s fourth Diversity Report shows a more diverse mix of content creators in key screen production roles, but there is still under-representation of Asian screen creatives, and women in music.

The NZ On Air annual Diversity Report monitors gender, ethnic and regional representation across funded screen production, and gender representation among recorded music artists funded through NZ On Air.

NZ On Air has now gathered four years of comparable data from funded Scripted and Factual content and two years of funded music. This allows NZ On Air to report on emerging trends and notable data shifts.

In Scripted and Factual content, women continue to be well represented among producers and writers, making up 62% of producers surveyed and 57% of writers this year. The 2019 data notes that productions led by female producers are more likely to have a female director than projects led by male producers.

This trend may account for the more even gender split of directors in the 2019 figures. Women now make up almost half (47%) of all director roles in NZ On Air funded content, a notable increase from 2016, in which only 33% of projects were directed by women. The most sizeable increase has been in women directing drama: in 2016 only 11% of drama projects were directed by women, compared to 46% in 2019.

Asian creatives are still under-represented across the board, with only 4% of producers, 4% of directors and 7% of writer/researchers identifying as Asian despite making up 11.8% of New Zealand’s population. The numbers of Māori and Pacific people in producing roles is broadly in line with the population, with 22% of producers identifying as Māori and 7% of producers identifying as Pasifika. Māori and Pacific people continue to be relatively well-represented in directing roles. This year just under a quarter of directors of funded content identified as Māori (23%) and 16% of directors identified as one or more Pacific ethnicity.

Auckland still dominates as the centre of production and remains the most ethnically diverse of the main production centres.

In music, women make up around 27% of funding applicants with around 33% funded. There also women in mixed groups which increase this number by a little. While the gender percentages are lower when compared to the general population, they are reflective of the numbers of female artists who are members of the music professional body APRA AMCOS NZ (23.8% women).

“Not about us, without us is a message we heard loud and clear at an industry hui we ran earlier in the year. We know that in order to reflect Aotearoa and its people as we truly are, gender and ethnic diversity is essential on both sides of the camera and microphone,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

“It’s fantastic to see that there are increased numbers of women working in directing roles, as well as continuing to pave the way for others in their work as producers. However, it’s clear that there is still work to be done to encourage women in the recorded music sector, as well as Asian creatives in the screen sector.”

NZ On Air monitors and reports on the diversity of funded content to provide data for industry discussion. The public media agency also has strategies in place to increase diversity among creatives working on funded screen projects, including targeted rounds and RFPs such as the Suffrage 125 Initiative, Pasifika and Asian Newer Storytellers Initiative, the New Music Pasifika call out earlier this year, and the RNZ/NZ On Air Joint Innovation Fund.

We have recently published a Roadmap for Factual content which, alongside our Scripted Roadmap and Development Roadmap, includes new measures to encourage diversity.

Read the Diversity report here.


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