A podcast exploring the stories of deported immigrants and a myth-busting online video series about miscarriage will feature on nzherald.co.nz with support from NZ On Air.

The popular series Local Focus will also return for another season with video news stories from around the North Island.

In the latest funding round announced today, NZ On Air approved up to $179,999 for Deported, a 10-part podcast series with supporting video made by Ponsonby Productions for the Herald.

Ponsonby Productions head John Keir said the series would investigate the 650 people forcibly removed from NZ each year, and the human reality of protecting our borders.

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"We're familiar with the refugee stories of Manus Island and New Zealanders deported from Australia – but what of the people we don't want?" said Keir.

"They may have broken our laws. But they may not have. What becomes of them?"

Keir said immigration was an important topic for New Zealanders, as 25 percent of us were born overseas and currently about 12,000 people were living in New Zealand illegally as overstayers.

More than 1000 New Zealand children were affected by the deportation of a parent or parents every year.

Keir said he had wanted to tell the story for 15 years, since he covered the
deportation of a 16 year old Sri Lankan girl who was forcibly sedated/drugged to get her out of New Zealand.

"That story shocked many people. In part because we'd never seen the up-close reality of deportation before."

He said the girl had previously escaped Sri Lanka because of terrible sexual abuse, but she was too embarrassed to admit why she wanted to stay in New Zealand.

"She told our officials what she thought they wanted to hear. And by the time she admitted the truth it was too late. And she was returned to the country of her abusers."

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Keir said Deported would strive to tell both sides of the story, as protecting our borders was not an easy job.

One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage yet there is little support for people affected. Photo / 123rf
One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage yet there is little support for people affected. Photo / 123rf

NZ On Air has also approved up to $169,182 Misconceptions, a 10-part online video series made by Digital Alchemist for the Herald.

Director Charlotte Wanhill said the myth-busting web series would equip people with the tools they need when they or their loved ones experienced miscarriage, which happened in one in four pregnancies.

"Miscarriage happens every day, but because no one posts miscarriage announcements on social media, people don't realise how common they are.

"People are encouraged to keep their pregnancies secret during the first trimester – 'just in case something goes wrong'.

"But if something does go wrong, it can be hard to access support from friends who were kept in the dark. When everyone else seems to be having healthy babies, feelings of failure, shame, anger, guilt and sadness are suppressed."

Wanhill said the series would investigate the lack of support available to people during and after a miscarriage, and why no one seemed to be responsible for miscarriage care in New Zealand.

She said the experience of miscarriage could be further complicated by cultural beliefs or expectations.

Misconceptions would look at how women and couples from different ethnic backgrounds experienced miscarriage - the unique pressures they faced, and the different support systems they could tap into.

Friend To The Friendless, will tell the story of criminal lawyer Greg King, who defended Ewen Macdonald. Photo / Herald file
Friend To The Friendless, will tell the story of criminal lawyer Greg King, who defended Ewen Macdonald. Photo / Herald file

Other new series to win funding are Friend To The Friendless, made by Production Shed TV for TVNZ 1 (up to $1,095,385) - the story of criminal lawyer Greg King, who defended Ewen Macdonald in one of New Zealand's most notorious court cases - and Project Six, made by Emmeline Pictures for TVNZ 1 (up to $1,078,741), a docudrama that looks back from #MeToo to the history of sexual politics, sexual harassment and social change in NZ.

NZ On Air also confirmed that Local Focus would return for the 2019/2020 season with up to $400,000 funding for video news and features aimed at regional audiences, made by Very Nice Productions for the Herald.

The Local Focus video team is Georgie Ormond (Whanganui, Manawatū, Taranaki and Horowhenua), Shilo Kino (Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Coromandel), Gavin Ogden (Rotorua, Eastern Bay of Plenty and the Central Plateau) and Patrick O'Sullivan (Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa and Gisborne), with support from Belinda Henley and producer Myles Thomas.