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Meeting the challenge of creating better multimedia content for Asian New Zealanders


NZ On Air is seeking support from creators of multimedia content and media platforms to better meet the needs of Asian New Zealanders, following new research.

Independent researchers Heather Irvine and Wing Morgan conducted the qualitative ethnographic research for NZ On Air, involving extensive questioning of a group of Indian and Chinese New Zealanders in their homes. The study sought to identify what media they consume, what motivates their choices and what they lack.

NZ On Air CEO Cameron Harland said the agency had been monitoring Asian audiences’ growing disengagement from local media for some time and wanted to understand how to best meet their needs.

“At the end of the day, it’s about social cohesion. There is an opportunity to offer something unique, meaningful and enriching for New Zealanders of Asian descent and in doing so connect them with the New Zealand part of their identity.

NZ On Air informed Asian content creators (via the Pan Asian Screen Collective) and local media platforms of the results. “We see a focused partnership with Asian creators and local media platforms as a big part of the solution and we are looking to join that effort. “

The main findings among Chinese New Zealanders surveyed are as follows:

  • The media regime of Chinese New Zealanders is largely Chinese or international, consuming content in Chinese languages ​​and with a different aesthetic and taste than New Zealand cuisine.
  • They consume their content largely on international platforms and rarely use local linear television or radio.
  • When they consume local content, it is often for practical information such as weather, news and Covid updates.
  • There is a perception that the local media are “not for them”.
  • And if there is any content that they might be interested in, they either don’t know how to find it or would prefer it to be in Chinese.
  • They would be motivated to connect with local content to learn more about daily life in New Zealand, better understand New Zealand and the people around them, and explore New Zealand history and cultures, especially the Maori and the Pasifika.

The main findings among New Zealand Indians surveyed are as follows:

  • Indian New Zealanders have a larger media repertoire that includes local and international content, and can feel connected to a larger New Zealand social narrative through local content.
  • Indian participants tend to access New Zealand content through linear delivery platforms, although many now also use online platforms.
  • However, gaps appear. Some participants had lost their connection to New Zealand media during the transition to the internet, and some new migrants never discovered New Zealand platforms.
  • They want to see themselves reflected in local content in a more authentic and diverse way. “More than theft of dairy products and arranged marriages”.
  • And they want to be seen as New Zealanders, not outsiders – to reflect their sense of belonging.

Researchers Heather Irvine and Wing Morgan say that with both groups, discoverability is a key challenge and that promoting New Zealand’s online platforms is a priority.

“The Chinese New Zealand audience in particular is difficult to reach because they don’t expect to find content ‘for themselves’ on local platforms, and they don’t tend to access New Zealand online platforms. or to use linear platforms.

Indian New Zealand audiences often find New Zealand content that they deem “for themselves” and has connections to existing New Zealand platforms. The challenge is to ensure that New Zealand content continues to be discoverable to them, and to better represent who they are as New Zealanders with diverse and multi-layered identities.

The full research report is available on the NZ On Air website here.

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