A new report shows women and non-Pakeha are under-represented in Kiwi TV production

Westside is one of the shows funded by NZOA - plenty of representation on screen, but perhaps not so much off-screen. Photo / NZOA
Westside is one of the shows funded by NZOA - plenty of representation on screen, but perhaps not so much off-screen. Photo / NZOA

A new report released by New Zealand On Air shows a lack of diversity in Kiwi television which "needs discussion".

The NZ On Air Diversity Report is a new annual report that looks at the gender and ethnicity make up of behind-the-scenes roles - producers, directors, writers etc - in screen productions funded by the agency.

The first report, released this week, considers projects from 2014 to April, 2016.

The Gender Breakdown - women take the lead in production, only 1 per cent of producers are gender diverse.
The Gender Breakdown - women take the lead in production, only 1 per cent of producers are gender diverse.

As far as gender goes, it shows 55 per cent of TV producers are women, but only 33 per cent of directors and 38 per cent of writers or researchers are women. Only 1-2 per cent of each category are "gender diverse".

Looking at ethnicity, the report shows Pakeha are over-represented in all roles, while Asians are under-represented, with only 1 per cent of television producers identifying as Asian, compared to 11.8 per cent of the population at the last census.

The ethnicity breakdown.
The ethnicity breakdown.

In the realm of television directors, 13 per cent are Maori (which is below the census figure of 14.9 per cent) and 12 per cent identify as Pasifika, which is actually above the census figure of 7.4 per cent.

Still, 81 per cent of directors are Pakeha.

Things are about the same in digital media, though there is a slightly higher representation of Pacific people among directors (14 per cent) and writers/researchers (17 per cent).

NZ On Air chief executive Jane Wrightson says this is the first time this kind of information has been gathered, and they will continue to do so in an effort to "monitor progress".

"There is clearly a challenge here which needs discussion," she says.

NZ On Air-funded content makes up about 15 per cent of New Zealand's television production, but Wrightson says they wouldn't expect findings from other productions to be any better.

- NZ Herald

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