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Stories Reflecting Many Facets Of Aotearoa Funded For 2021


NZ On Air will fund hours of new, important documentary content in 2021 telling stories that reflect the many different faces of Aotearoa.

In the final funding round of 2020 successful projects cover a broad range of topics from disability to Martial Arts, saving at risk native species, and Pacific gospel soul music to name just a few.

Working with the NZ Down Syndrome Association, the Down For Love matchmakers will help young people with Down Syndrome learn about finding love. Meanwhile What’s Wrong with You? asks how the one in four New Zealanders with a disability thrive in a world that is not designed for them.

Whānau 2021 picks up the longitudinal documentary series following the lives of four Māori born in 2000 to see what’s become of them as they turn 21. A new series Fighting Chance observes a group of everyday young people as they train as Mixed Martial Arts fighters, and change their lives.

A podcast series Terror At Lake Alice will examine the harrowing stories of physical, mental and sexual abuse of children at Lake Alice Psychiatric Facility in the 70s. In Women At The Dump we meet a group of young women from troubled backgrounds who’ve bonded through working together at the Wellington landfill but face uncertain futures.

An interactive series Faces Of Extinction will ask why 4,000 native species in Aotearoa are at risk of extinction and what can be done to save them. We follow rangatahi campaigning to lower the voting age to 16 in Make It 16, and we go behind the lyrics of Pacific gospel soul music to understand the stories and identity of Pasifika peoples in Soul Sessions.

Toby Morris’s internationally acclaimed The Side Eye animated comic series continues and we’ll learn more about the history of Hip Hop music in Aotearoa in a second series of NZ Hip Hop Stand Up and continue to learn about traditional kai gathering and caring for our environment in Toa Hunter Gatherer.

“Factual stories hold up a mirror to our society and can be a powerful tool for empathy building. It’s exciting to see the changing forms of that storytelling in this latest round, from podcasts, to animated comics, to interactive series,” says NZ On Air Head of Funding Amie Mills.

“My congratulations to all of the content makers funded in this fiercely competitive round. Their intelligent and impactful ideas will keep New Zealanders engaged in thoughtful and thought-provoking content in 2021.”

Funding details:


Down For Love, 3 x 44 mins, Attitude Pictures for TVNZ 2, up to $294,529. Plus, a platform reduction up to $132,000. Young people with Down syndrome learn about how to find love in an enlightening, charming and unfiltered series.

Fighting Chance, 8 x 26 mins, Fire Fire for Māori Television, up to $344,236. Set in of one of the best Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) gyms in the world, City Kickboxing, this series follows 15 everyday people as they change their lives and train to be fighters.

Whānau 2021 (Part 4), 5 x 52 mins, Tumanako Productions for Māori Television, up to $188,943. The fourth instalment in a longitudinal documentary series following the lives of four Māori born in 2000. Every seven years we check in on the four participants and their whānau.

Faces Of Extinction, 7 x 5 mins, Stuff for Stuff, up to $58,285. Plus, a platform reduction up to $86,165. An interactive series delving into the momentous change in our indigenous biodiversity. NZ now has 4,000 native species at risk, so understanding why and what can be done, is pressing.

Terror At Lake Alice, 6 x 40 mins, Hihi Media for Stuff, up to $105,610. Plus, a platform reduction up to $36,800. A podcast series about the Lake Alice Psychiatric Facility where hundreds of children were subjected to physical, mental and sexual abuse in the 1970s.

Soul Sessions, 8 x 23 mins, ECG for Tagata Pasifika +, up to $99,948. Uncovering the best of Aotearoa's Pacific gospel music, this series go behind the lyrics that capture the stories and identity of Pasifika in New Zealand.

Women Of The Dump, 1 x 25 mins, Hexwork Productions for The Spinoff, up to $88,440. In Wellington, a group of young women from troubled backgrounds have found family, belonging and self-worth at an unlikely place – the dump, but now face an uncertain future.

What’s Wrong With You? 7 x 30 mins, Stuff for Stuff, up to $39,300. Plus, platform reduction up to $32,440. One in four New Zealanders live with a disability. But how do they thrive in a world that is not designed for them?

Make It 16, 1 x 20 mins, Storybox for The Spinoff, up to $30,000. A documentary following a group of rangatahi activists who are taking their campaign to lower the NZ voting age to the courts.


NZ Hip Hop Stand Up 2, 7 x 7 mins, The Downlowconcept for RNZ, up to $315,417. A documentary in which artists share their stories behind the songs that make up some of the more than 30-year history of Hip Hop in Aotearoa.

Toa Hunter Gatherer 4, 8 x 26 mins, Hi Mama for Māori Television, up to $306,510. A ground-breaking, trend-setting series hosted by Owen Boynton that takes a holistic view on gathering kai and the environment we live in.

ANZAC Day Dawn Service & The National Wreathlaying Service 2021, 2 x 60 mins, Screentime New Zealand for TVNZ 1, up to $137,191.

The Side Eye 3, 10 x 6, Hexwork Productions for The Spinoff, up to $62,031. An online animated non-fiction comic series exploring some of New Zealand's trickiest conversations in an accessible, easy-to-follow and easy-to-share way, by award-winning artist, Toby Morris.

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