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NZ On Air backs new Kiwi drama, comedy and children’s programming

NZ On Air is funding a prequel to 2006 movie Sione’s Wedding

New Zealand funding body NZ On Air has backed another round of drama and comedy commissions for adults while putting NZ$13.3m (US$9.3m) towards content for children.

Amie Mills

The dramas, which NZ On Air said reflect different perspectives on the country, include Duckrockers (8×22′), described as a teen prequel to the 2006 film Sione’s Wedding from South Pacific Pictures for TVNZ2.

Heading to Māori Television is Tikilounge Productions’ Inky Pinky Ponky (5×12′), described as an affirmative story of gender and sexual identity that has already won the hearts of Pasifika high school students as a stage show.

Among the returning scripted titles receiving funding are the third season of One Lane Bridge (5×44′), from Great Southern Television for TVNZ1, and the fifth season of Ahikāroa (20×26′), from Kura Productions for Māori Television On Demand.

“Scripted stories are a way for us to observe and reflect who we are as New Zealanders and we’re excited to see these special projects reach an array of audiences on the platforms they use,” said NZ On Air head of funding Amie Mills.

Meanwhile, NZ On Air has greenlit funding for 13 new series, eight returning shows and seven new online games for young audiences in New Zealand. These include an animated series based on Goodnight Kiwi, the iconic animated short that used to signal the end of nightly broadcasts on TVNZ channels.

Focusing on the Māori calendar and Matariki, which marks the beginning of the new year in the Māori lunar calendar, Kiwi & Cat: Mānawatia A Matariki (10×7′) comes from Pango Productions and will be available on TVNZ’s Heihei platform.

Other new titles heading to the platform include Āio: The Last Paradise of Kiwa (10×9′), from Pukeko Pictures GP; One Way Out (20×10′) from Whitebait Productions; Little Apocalypse (8×8′) from Tomorrow Rain; Night Eyes (16×5′) from Mukpuddy Animation; and My Favourite Dead Person (8×8′) from The DownLowConcept.

Mills added: “The funded projects are a beautiful blend of entertaining, inspiring, informative, educational and fun content that will engage tamariki [children] of all ages.”

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