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NZ On Air looks to better serve needs of Asian New Zealanders following research

New Zealand funding body NZ On Air is seeking support from local media content creators and platforms to better serve the needs of Asian New Zealanders.

Cameron Harland

It comes after NZ On Air has been tracking Asian audiences’ growing disengagement with local media, with the body commissioning independent research to understand how to better meet their needs.

Independent researchers Heather Irvine and Wing Morgan conducted the research for NZ On Air and spoke to a group of Indian and Chinese New Zealanders in their homes.

The study, available to read in full here, sought to identify what media they consume, what motivates their choices and what’s missing for them.

NZ On Air has briefed Asian content creators, via the Pan Asian Screen Collective (PASC), and local media platforms on the report, which found Chinese New Zealanders are consuming their content largely on international platforms and rarely use local linear TV or radio.

NZ On Air CEO Cameron Harland said: “We see purposeful partnership with Asian creatives and local media platforms as being a big part of the solution and we are seeking to be joined up in this endeavour.

“Ultimately, it’s about social cohesion. There is an opportunity to offer something unique, meaningful and enriching for Asian New Zealanders, and in so doing to connect them with the New Zealand part of their identity.”

“Chinese NZ audiences in particular are hard to reach, because they do not expect to find content that is ‘for them’ on local platforms, and they do not tend to access NZ online platforms or use linear platforms.

“Indian NZ audiences often do find NZ content that they feel is ‘for them’ and do have connections with existing NZ platforms. The challenge is to make sure NZ content continues to be discoverable for them and to better represent who they are as New Zealanders with diverse and multi-layered identities.”

A recent NZ On Air study, meanwhile, has found Asian creatives and female directors continue to be under-represented in locally made screen content.

NZ On Air surveyed 178 publicly funded screen projects for its 2021 Diversity Report, gathering data on the ethnic diversity and gender of key personnel and the regional spread of production companies.

“This 2021 snapshot reminds us that we must ensure the content we fund has adequate numbers of people from diverse backgrounds to be creatively and culturally authentic,” said Harland.

Harland added that NZ On Air is proactively working with the sector to increase diversity. In August, it announced a new development and production initiative with the PASC, aimed at increasing pan-Asian representation across key creative roles.

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