NZ On Air distributes $12m

19:18, Aug 22 2012
Simon Morton
Simon Morton rides will ride around New Zealand on a bike in a new TV show.

A "quirky" documentary in which consumer show presenter Simon Morton rides around New Zealand by bicycle has been awarded more than $400,000 of public funding.

NZ On Air has released details of its first funding round of this financial year, worth nearly $12 million, to make comedies and documentaries to screen next year.

A show with the working title Making Tracks, presented by Radio New Zealand This Way Up host Morton and produced by Wellington's Gibson Group, aims to be a "celebration of the quirkiness of New Zealand life and character".

The show would be similar to North and South, presented by Marcus Lush, except Morton would travel by bike, and there would be a vague cycling theme to the show, senior producer Gary Scott said.

"It's not about the bike, it's about the places it will take you."

The exact content of the show was not yet sorted out, but would probably feature a penny-farthing championship in Oamaru, a West Coast gold-miner-turned-cycle-trail road, and a Nelson beer festival where a stage was powered by bike.

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The show would rely heavily on Morton's curiosity and personality. "Simon sometimes describes himself as an eager labrador. He is really excited about this. He is a passionate cyclist."

The seven 30-minute shows would be filmed later this year. They got $430,695 from NZ on Air.

A show produced by Screentime with the working title Animal Science has won $449,293. Executive producer Philly de Lacey said the 13 half-hour shows would look at the work of Massey University's Institute of Veterinary, Animal & Biomedical Sciences in Palmerston North.

It was not clear yet what would be in the shows, but research footage included an obese pig that needed surgery, a racehorse that needed a growth removed from its spine, and hearing tests on dogs.

Screentime has also produced Beyond the Darklands, Police 10 Seven, the New Zealand version of Underbelly, and Siege, about Jan Molenaar's fatal standoff with police in Napier.

Contact Tom Hunt
Email: tom.hunt@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @tomdom76

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