NZ On Air, Wellington, 31 July 2015: As we celebrate Māori language week NZ On Air is pleased to announce support for a range of new television programmes that help to bring te ao Māori to broad New Zealand audiences.
Self-taught Māori cooking sensations Kasey and Karena Bird are set to take te reo me onā tikanga to the world with a new series on TV One that will explore different cultures. Kasey And Karena’s Diplomatic Mission takes the Masterchef winners from Maketu on a gastronomic journey to 10 of New Zealand’s overseas diplomatic posts.
The programme promises a blend of cultures and cooking styles, and is a rare opportunity to integrate te reo into prime time content.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will take a more sombre journey helping recount the experiences of New Zealand soldiers at the 1916 Battle of the Somme. Somme: The Bloodiest Battle will mark a dark episode in NZ military history with its centennial commemoration next year. The programme, with a focus on the role of the Māori battalion, will screen on Māori Television on Anzac Day 2016.
Continuing the journey theme, Pio Terei will be back with a second season of Te Araroa: Tales From The Trails. As he travels New Zealand’s longest walkway, Pio hears local stories and histories from hardcase kiwis who are the lifeblood of the communities they live in.
On a lighter note, popular Pacific comedians Pani and Pani will go in search of their ultimate Island warrior. Pani and Pani Search For Mr Lavalava was a successful segment in the NZ On Air-funded youth Pacific series Fresh. Now they’re getting their own show, putting a group of men through Pacific and Māori-themed challenges to ultimately crown a winner. Each episode will be a mixture of Māori and Pacific talent with te reo me onā tikanga featuring alongside wider Pacific cultural elements. It will screen on Māori Television.
NZ On Air is also supporting a webseries that will be hosted on Māori Television Ondemand. The death of a young child will be explored from the perspective of eight Māori women directors. Constructed as eight 10 minute webisodes, Waru is an opportunity to explore a sensitive subject through a creative Māori lens.
“These projects represent remarkable diversity within our specific strand of funding for Māori programming. In particular we are excited by the opportunities for the talent of Māori women to shine both as the writers and directors of Waru, and on screen with Kasey and Karena,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.
Kasey And Karena’s Diplomatic Mission, 10 x ½ hr, Imagination Television for TV One $991,333
Te Araroa Tales From The Trails 2, 7 x 1 hr, Scottie Douglas Productions for Māori Television $295,000
Somme – The Bloodiest Battle, 1 x 1 ½ hrs, Scottie Douglas Productions for Māori TV $220,000
Waru, 8 x 10 mins, Brown Sugar Apple Grunt for Māori Television Ondemand $215,000
Mr Lavalava, 7 x ½ hr, Tikilounge Productions for Māori Television $210,000