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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.

In April 2018, Statistics New Zealand's data revealed that the New Zealand film production revenue increased 15 percent to $1.1 billion in 2017.  Auckland’s film sector led this growth in 2017; however Wellington still remains the main player in film production. In 2017, Wellington’s film production revenue was more than half (55 percent) of New Zealand’s total, while Auckland’s share rose to 43 percent.  Wellington-based production and post-production companies contributed to the making of Ghost in the Shell, Thor: Ragnarok, Blade Runner 2049, Justice League, and War for the Planet of the Apes, while Mortal Engines was shot in Wellington.

Visit Statistics New Zealand's website for the latest screen sector data.

NZ On Air is the government’s primary agency for funding local content on television, radio and the internet.  Key achievements in the 2016/17 financial year were:

• Development of a plan to create an online home (HEIHEI) for local media content aimed at primary aged children
• A ground-breaking joint project with Google/YouTube to encourage successful New Zealand YouTubers to try their hands at new creative content
• Audiences of more than 300,000 for the 15 highest-rating funded television programmes
• An audience of over 100,000 for the most viewed funded on demand series
• Expansion of our support for investigative journalism both on television and online
• Delivery of a new music funding scheme that provides more support to promoting funded songs online as well as on radio.

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.

In 2017, fourteen Fresh Shorts were funded, with 62% of the filmmakers attached to these projects being women. Twelve new feature films, including five documentaries, also received offers for production financing.

Eleven Film Commission financed feature films were released in New Zealand cinemas with the highest grossing title being Chasing Great: Richie McCaw with $1,828,941.  This makes it the highest ever grossing documentary at New Zealand cinemas.

The Interactive Development fund was introduced to encourage the development of interactive material with strong story content and thirty final New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) certificates were issued, eleven to local production and nineteen to international.

A January 2018 media release from the Motion Pictures Distributors' Association highlighted that the New Zealand motion picture industry drew its breath from the Hunt for the Wilderpeople's record breaking success of 2016 to post a total Gross Box Office for 2017 of $189,660,000, down slightly from 2016’s record breaking revenues of $206,605,000.  Leading the way in 2017 was the Taika Waititi helmed Thor : Rangorak which took in an impressive $7,008,315 at the Box Office, making it two in a row for Taika following the record-breaking success of Hunt for the Wilderpeople in 2016.

A Year of Consolidation for the New Zealand Film Industry

More people went to our New Zealand movies with attendance up from 4 million in 2015/16 to 4.7 million in the 2016/17 financial year.

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.


Updated on 10th July 2018