Today NZ On Air announced investments of over $14 million into New Zealand children's television programming to screen in 2012.
NZ On Air’s focus is providing daily and weekly series for three main audience groups – pre-school, primary, and secondary school-aged children and young people. “With the almost limitless range of foreign programmes available, it’s critical that there is significant programming on our screens which reflects New Zealand culture and identity to our young people”, said NZ On Air chief executive Jane Wrightson.
“NZ On Air has an annual funding round dedicated to children’s programming to ensure sufficient focus is placed on this important audience”, said Ms Wrightson. “We are very pleased we’ve been able to renew some excellent programmes that have been embraced by their audiences. These include What Now, I Am TV and The Erin Simpson Show for TV2 audiences, Sticky TV for FOUR audiences, and the relative newcomer Tiki Tour for TV2 preschool audiences”, she said.
Role models and positive New Zealand values are an important aspect of other programmes supported in the funding round. Operation Hero combines true life stories of New Zealand heroes with challenges for the children who will be the stars of the series. The lively Just The Job shows various potential career options and is widely used by career guidance counsellors. The award-winning Let’s Get Inventin’ encourages creativity and innovation with a healthy dollop of number 8 wire.
Neither is children’s drama forgotten. The makers of Reservoir Hill, which won New Zealand’s first digital Emmy award, have secured NZ On Air investment of $1 million for a new teen drama Girl vs Boy. This romantic comedy whodunit follows Maxine as she investigates why the school's "dream couple" has broken up.
"Without NZ On Air funding, New Zealand children's programming would not be present on our screens", said Ms Wrightson. “This year competition was intense and there were several other projects we would have liked to have supported if the funds had been available,” she said.
Twelve children's programmes in total have received funding, representing over 450 hours of programming for diverse young audiences.