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Widely diverse topics covered in documentaries

Science, social issues, health, and history are just some of the brilliant array of topics covered in new and returning documentary and factual programmes for a variety of television and online platforms.

In the latest NZ On Air funding decisions a new science series The Trial will document a cutting edge medical trial involving 80 teenagers. Conducted by the Liggins Institute, the trial is seeking a breakthrough in treating obesity. The four-part series for TV3 comes from the makers of the recent world acclaimed Why Am I? documentary series.

Teens are also featured in a one-off documentary for TV2, Camp Twitch. It focuses on six young New Zealanders with Tourette Syndrome as they participate in a week long Tourette’s camp in Rotorua.

And Under The Bridge is an online documentary that looks at the state of education and social issues through the eyes of Year 13 students at Papakura High School.

Three new historical documentaries have been supported. In Uncharted actor Sam Neill retraces Captain Cook’s three Pacific voyages. The six-part series for Prime is an international collaboration with Australia and the US.

Beyond The Battalion, to screen on Māori Television on Anzac Day 2017, tells the story of the 28th Māori Battalion. It revisits two earlier films, including one on the 1977 pilgrimage of the battalion back to their WW11 battle grounds.

Islands Of The Gulf is an update of New Zealand’s first ever documentary series. In the 1964 series broadcaster Shirley Maddock travelled around the islands of the Hauraki gulf meeting the locals, exploring landscapes, flora and fauna. In the modern version for TV ONE Maddock’s daughter, actress and writer, Elisabeth Easther finds out how much has changed in the intervening decades.

For Māori Television, The King In The Ring, explores issues of mental and physical health through ex-professional wrestler Wilbur Force who is about to undergo gastric band surgery. Some viewers will already be familiar with Wilbur Force, from the funded 2015 Loading Docs short film.

NZ On Air is also very pleased to support returning series Forensics NZ 2, Lost and Found 3, Coast NZ 2, The Big Ward 2, and back for its 51st year in 2017, Country Calendar.

“The demand for funding from this first round of the financial year in the documentary and factual genres was unprecedented. The quality of project ideas was outstanding, and there were very tough decisions,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

“We as a funding agency and the audiences are spoilt for choice with these new and returning programmes.”

Funding details:

Coast NZ 2, 6 x 1hr, Great Southern Television for TV ONE, $1,800,901 (Platinum)
Uncharted, 6 x 1hr, Frame Up Films for Prime, up to $1,500,000 (Platinum)
Lost & Found 3, 12 x 1hr, Warner Bros NZ for TV3, $1,032,439
Forensics NZ 2, 6 x 1 hr, South Pacific Pictures for Prime, $1,020,000
The Trial, 4 x 1hr, Razor Films for TV3, $759,679
Country Calendar 2017, 40 x 30mins, TVNZ for TV ONE, $566,720
The Big Ward 2, 10 x 30mins, Greenstone TV for TV2, $433,611
Islands Of The Gulf, 5 x 30mins, Top Shelf Productions for TV ONE, $362,486
Beyond The Battalion, 1 x 1hr, Awa Films for Māori Television, $200,000
The King In The Ring, 1 x 1hr, Notable Pictures for Māori Television, $130,179
Camp Twitch, 1 x 1hr, 2Bmedia for TV2, $125,000
Under The Bridge, 4 x 10mins, Greenstone TV for NZ Herald/WatchMe, $71,495


Updated on 22nd July 2016