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New Zealand’s screen industry has become increasingly important as a source of employment and overseas revenue.  It includes film production and post-production, television broadcasting, film distribution and exhibition.

April 2016 data from Statistics New Zealand highlights that the New Zealand’s screen industry had a total revenue of $3.22 billion in 2015, up $66 million from 2014. In 2015, screen industry production and post-production was up 9 percent on 2014.  Growth in revenue was particularly strong from producing commercials in 2015 – $545 million was earned from commercials, compared with $160 million in 2014. This was driven by increases in commercial-derived revenue from businesses involved in contracting activity. New Zealand revenue received by production and post-production businesses increased 13 percent in 2015, to $1,040 million, while international revenue increased 4 percent, to $515 million.

NZ On Air is the government’s primary agency for funding local content on television, radio and the internet.  In the 2015/16 year NZ On Air invested $128 million in new local content including:

• 897 hours of new television content, including 104 hours of drama and comedy
• $14 million in children’s television programmes
• 228 songs and videos by local musicians to promote NZ music
• 3,369 programme hours on access radio in 42 minority languages
• $4.45 million in online-only content, attracting millions of views
• $400k more on captioning and audio description services.

Of particular importance to the New Zealand screen industry is funding from international production companies and investors.  New Zealand has actively promoted itself as a film destination of choice, and provides a number of incentive schemes for productions which meet specific criteria.  New Zealand has signed a number of co-production deals with other countries, and continues to pursue new agreements on a bilateral basis.

The New Zealand Film Commission oversees the development, financing, production, marketing and distribution of New Zealand films, domestically and internationally. It also administers grants and incentives designed to boost film production in New Zealand.

During 2016, the NZFC supported 11 new feature film projects, including four documentaries, seven short films, and over 100 professional development opportunities for New Zealand talent. Nine NZFC-funded feature films were released in New Zealand cinemas. Hunt for the Wilderpeople earned the most at the box office, with over $12 million, making it the highest-ever grossing New Zealand film. Mahana, Poi E and Chasing Great all took over $1 million at the box office. Enquiries from international productions looking to film in New Zealand are up, with 20 final New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) certificates issued to international productions, and seven to New Zealand productions or co-productions.

In a January 2017 media release, the Motion Pictures Distributors' Association highlighted that for the third consecutive year, the New Zealand motion picture industry posted record revenues with a total Gross Box Office for 2016 of $206,605,000, up 6.8% from 2015’s previous record of $193 million. Leading the way in 2016’s record take was the locally produced box office behemoth, Hunt for the Wilderpeople which took in a record $12,181,582, making it the biggest ever local title and the 6th biggest movie of all time in New Zealand.

2016: a Record Breaking Year for New Zealand Film Industry

The Ministry manages requests for non-commercial radio broadcasting licenses.  Non-commercial radio frequencies only rarely become available but if a frequency or network of frequencies does become available the Ministry will award it to the applicant who best meets eligibility requirements and criteria such as showing a strong geographic or community of interest connection with the target audience, with programming focused on the needs and interests of the audiences they serve.  For more details, visit our non-commercial radio broadcasting licences page.