New fund to support Pasifika storytelling on screens will reach into wider Pacific region

Natasha Meleisea and Nicole Rex at the 2023 PCBL CEO/GM Conference. Source: PCBL & KMR Graphics

NZ On Air has announced a $1.9m fund to encourage the creation of stories from a uniquely Pasifika perspective, to be broadcast in Aotearoa New Zealand and throughout the Pacific region.

The Aotearoa New Zealand Pacific Regional Media Fund is a new targeted initiative made possible by  one off additional funding of $10m provided to NZ On Air in Budget ‘23.

The fund will see NZ-based Pasifika producers collaborate with producers in the Pacific Islands to produce Scripted or Non-Fiction screen content, with a portion of the fund specifically allocated to support the creation of original music by Pasifika composers and musicians as part of the productions.

The content will be broadcast on the Pasifika TV network across 15 Pacific countries and in Aotearoa New Zealand. It will be in Pacific languages or a mix of English and Pacific languages, and will be filmed in the Pacific Islands.

NZ On Air Head of Funding Amie Mills says the initiative is one borne out of a strong partnership and desire to uplift Pasifika creators here and in the Pacific Islands.

“This fund is a first of its kind for NZ On Air in terms of working with our Pacific Island counterparts. The goal is to bring the best from both sides to collaborate, learn from each other, and produce dynamic, digital-first content that will resonate for our Pasifika audiences here and abroad,” says Ms Mills.

Proud Niuean and NZ On Air project lead for the initiative Nicole Rex says the funding initiative is an important first. “The connection between Pasifika in Aotearoa and in the islands is incredibly strong. This co-production idea leverages that strength and at the same time allows for our local producers to support the talent development of their Pacific Island counterparts.”

Nicole Rex at the 2023 PCBL CEO/GM’s conference on a panel discussing how to maximise reach across different platforms. Source: PCBL

An Expression of Interest has been released today calling for initial 5-minute video pitches from New Zealand based Pasifika producers, for an available $1.5m in funding. An additional $400k is available for original music budgets.

The initiative is being run by NZ On Air in collaboration with Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Limited which is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to foster stronger relationships between New Zealand and the Pacific region by supporting its media sector.