Pacific TV “Goes Live” courtesy of TVNZ and Air New Zealand

Pacific nations are benefiting from broadcast technology and equipment donated by TVNZ and carried to the Islands by Air New Zealand.

TV stations in Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands have been donated TVNZ’s live broadcasting kits, which the broadcaster has recently replaced as a result of the migration to digital television.

Air New Zealand volunteered free seats for TVNZ staff to transport the equipment and train their Pacific colleagues in live broadcasting techniques, and free freight for the equipment.

TVNZ’s Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver says the mission was incredibly exciting and emotional for all concerned.

“They were unbelievably thrilled to have the gear, and very nervous at first. But they did a beautiful job and put their new skills to work immediately in some important breaking stories,” she said.

“While we were there the Tonga Broadcasting Commission ran their news live twice, with two live crosses on a by-election and one warning the public about the oncoming Cyclone Rene.

“Apia Broadcasting ran their news live and did a live cross about a new Government policy making education compulsory.”

“And Cook Islands Television broke into its programme to bring updates from the Police Emergency Operations Centre about developing tropical depressions and the impact of Cyclone Pat on the northern Cook Islands.”

Barbara Dreaver has compiled a special report on the mission, which will go to air on ONE News on Monday night.

The introduction of live broadcasts has been enthusiastically welcomed by local communities, and the broadcasters report coming under heavy pressure to do more. It’s expected that a popular use for the live links will be in covering community events.

TVNZ’s Live News manager, Russell Jones, says all the equipment was in good working order and its installation has been a great success.

TVNZ CEO Rick Ellis pledged surplus TVNZ equipment to Pacific broadcasters at the Commonwealth Broadcasters Conference hosted in Tonga early last year.

TVNZ and the recipient broadcasters have offered grateful thanks to Air New Zealand for their generosity.



TVNZ to launch channel exclusive to Sky

TVNZ and SKY will launch a new TV channel on the pay operator’s platform in June.

The new channel, named TVNZ Heartland, will be New Zealand’s first channel with 100% local content and will be available to all subscribers to the SKY basic package.

Chief Executive Rick Ellis said TVNZ Heartland would be a showcase of New Zealand’s best home-grown television.

“Heartland will be a celebration of New Zealand and New Zealanders through some of our finest TV shows – some classics and some more recent shows.”

Mr Ellis said the move to include pay TV in the company’s portfolio of platforms was a logical extension of TVNZ’s strategy “Inspiring New Zealanders on Every Screen”, which began in 2006.

“We’re delighted to be entering the pay TV market in partnership with SKY TV, as a complement to our free-to-air business,” he said.

“SKY’s enthusiasm for the idea has given us an opportunity to build a commercially-viable channel that will bring first class New Zealand content to a big audience. Without the SKY pay platform, this project would not have gone ahead.”

John Fellet, CEO of SKY Television, is equally delighted.

“This vault of content which includes some of New Zealand’s most beloved shows is the biggest untapped resource since the Maui oil fields,” he said.

The Heartland programme schedule will be released in May.


What would you like to see repeated on TVNZ Heartland?  Comment below.

PRIME’s coverage of Olympics increases audience share

Over 2.3 million kiwis viewed the Winter Olympics on PRIME – the Opening Ceremony alone reached an audience of more than 500,000 (all 5+) with the Closing Ceremony being viewed LIVE by over a quarter of million people.

The most popular events were Figure Skating which peaked with 20% of the audience (over 200,000 people), followed by Downhill Skiing and the Luge.

– Prime TV