When it comes to the most popular programmes it seems we like watching ourselves, with home-grown reality television attracting the biggest audiences of the year.

The top 10 programmes listed by media research company AGB Nielsen all aired on TV One.

The most watched programme for the year was TVNZ's Cheers to 50 Years, which was full of highlights of the country's television history - 760,170 viewers tuned in.

The next most popular show was the Fair Go Ad Awards, which drew 734,460 viewers.

The reality television series Border Security, which took up two of the top 10 spots because of repeat episodes, was the third most popular with 687,710 viewers. The Australian-made show was the only one on the list which was not made here.

Jeff Latch, head of TV One and TV2, said the ratings were welcome news.

"This reflects the healthy appetite New Zealanders have for local programming, in particular factual programming that is about real people and real situations."

Ratings are set by the average audience over the number of shows.

TV3's director of marketing and communications, Roger Beaumont, said the ratings were no surprise as they were always skewed towards TVNZ, which had a broader audience range than TV3.

TV3's most popular show by a wide margin was Outrageous Fortune, which attracted more than 700,000 viewers for the series finale.

Beaumont said locally produced programmes were growing in popularity.

"That's an increasing trend globally in television. It's the local shows that are truly unique to a channel that tend to overperform because people can't watch them anywhere else."

Beaumont said that when looking at audience numbers in TV3's target demographic (the 18-49 age group), several shows stood out as top performers for last year - most of them reality or comedy shows.

Top shows for TV3 included police motorway patrol series Road Cops, filmed in the Waikato, the AotearoHA comedy show and the Cadbury Comedy Gala.

The single most watched television moment of last year was One News on the evening of the Christchurch earthquake - 902,490 people tuned in. That does not appear in the ratings once the average for all the One News shows are calculated.