It has become the most talked-about show in the country and has divided viewers who either love it or hate it.

The GC - a "factual reality" show following a group of young Maori on the Gold Coast - began on TV3 on Wednesday night and has quickly made its presence felt.

It was TV3's top rating show of the night, drawing more viewers than 3News and Campbell Live, and became a trending topic worldwide on Twitter due to the huge volume of tweets sent about it.

Most commentators were unimpressed and questioned why taxpayers' money was being spent on it, but NZ On Air has again defended its decision to fund it, saying it supported a diverse range of programming.


The GC was given $420,000 towards producing eight episodes. The rest is funded by TV3.

Last night a Facebook page called "Cancel the GC"' received almost 5000 "likes", while the official fan page had almost 10,000 "likes". A campaign to save TVNZ7, the public service broadcast channel faced with imminent closure, has created posters saying that New Zealand deserves more than The GC.

Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss said he was not involved in funding decisions and couldn't comment on individual funding decisions.

Executive producer Bailey Mackey said the response took him by surprise.

"I don't think I expected it to be the second most tweeted topic ... it's probably gone beyond what anybody expected, to be frank."

He said he was aware of the criticism of the show's funding by NZ On Air at a time when public broadcaster TVNZ7 was being shut down, but it wasn't a fair comparison.

"I'm actually a big fan of TVNZ7 but I think in a healthy broadcasting landscape there's diversity, and at one end you probably have a show like The GC - and for me [TVNZ7] is a broadcaster, this is a programme, so I don't think it's a fair comparison and I know people are doing that."

He said he believed the story was relevant.

"These people are New Zealanders who reside in Australia. Yes, they are Maori and part of the massive reaction has come down to the presentation of it. Yes, it's a factual reality show and [that's] often not looked upon favourably in certain sectors."

The show was deliberately fun and entertaining.

"These people take pride in their appearance. Yes, they are a little on the vain side, but a lot of the time statistics are stacked against [Maori] ... we are breaking the mould."

A spokeswoman for NZ On Air said the agency supported a diverse range of programming for all New Zealanders.

"The GC was funded with the aim of showing positive, confident Maori in prime time on a commercial channel. The broadcaster advises us that the cultural aspect of the programme will develop in the weeks ahead."