The stars of multi award-winning drama Head High have launched a social media campaign for a third season.
The series, which was about a working-class family with two high school rugby players, playing against each other in private and state schools, struck a chord with fans.
Miriama McDowell, who played the matriarch of the family, won Best Actress for the first series at last year's New Zealand Television Awards. Her co-star and son on the show, Jayden Daniels, was named Best Supporting Actor. The show and cast are expected to be heavily nominated at next year's NZTV awards for the second series, the final episode of which screened just weeks ago on Three, left many storylines hanging.
But the show has not been renewed for a third season — prompting its stars to take matters into their own hands.
"Haere rā Head High. You were important to us because you were the first prime-time drama in four decades to be set around a Māori whānau," McDowell wrote in Instagram.
"You were important to us because you were set in South Auckland. You were important to us because seven out of the top 10 cast of the show were Māori , Pasifika or Asian. You were important to us because you gave Māori and Pasifika talent an opportunity to learn and grow, behind the camera and in front of it."
She added hashtags #AotearoaSaveOurStories #bringbackheadhigh.
Her husband and rugby coach on the show, Craig Hall, also thanked fans and asked them to ask the powers that be for another season.
The show's rival coach and villain Mike Edward was direct in his questioning of the network.
"I get it's a commercial decision: If it's not making a bunch of money pull it. But, TV3, in their position as an art-providing platform, still have a responsibility beyond simply being commercial. Their mission statement is literally ' . . . to develop and deliver acknowledged world-class, broadcast-based content, relevant for local and international markets'. Surely they should recognise that this show not only does that, but that it also speaks to the current zeitgeist? I assume the irony would be lost on the rich, white owners of Discovery if they pulled this show . . . " he wrote on Instagram.
A Discovery spokesperson told Spy it was proud to have broadcast two seasons of the show.
"We remain committed to delivering local content as part of the future growth of our business and are currently planning an exciting schedule for 2022, which includes a range of local and international drama."