The New Zealand Genre Content Network

Those who push the genres in New Zealand – Part 01

In New Zealand there are a variety of people who push genre fiction – there are creators and creatives and then there are producers, publishers, distributors, television networks, mainstream press outlets, magazines, websites and even blogs like this one.

This is a fractious and ever changing, tumultuous landscape filled with small independent companies that come and go, a few New Zealand based offices of some giant international companies, and the odd local player that has grabbed a foot hold and built their own little fort that can wave a genre flag both locally and outward towards the world from these far ends of the Earth. And I want to map it!

A lot of the people are in companies who work together on a regular basis to push out New Zealand genre content, but even they I think would have great difficulty determining how much time, money and effort is put into pushing out genre content in New Zealand, and more importantly what percentage of content developed and produced here fits into which genres, compared to the genre content we are regularly importing from overseas.

After all, the day to day machinations of pushing genre content out to the public in New Zealand is undoubtedly overwhelming paid for by large foreign publishers, movie studios, games publishers etc. Any New Zealand genre projects that do get pushed out there are often done on the smell of an oily rag by passionate individuals, whether they are within a larger company or operating independently – creating many very small pictures that don’t tie together into a very big picture at all.

This ongoing, likely to be wholly incomplete and maybe fool-hardy series of posts will try and map the landscape of those who create, publish, market and distribute New Zealand genre fiction in all it’s myriad mediums. So, starting with a blank piece of paper as genre creators most always do, my question is simple – where to from here?

My first port of call in this investigation I have decided is going to be to map out industry organizations and advocacy groups. Industry organizations are good places to start because amongst their members are some, though not all, of the companies and individuals who push genre content made in New Zealand out to the public. Getting to know them, helps us get to know their members, getting to know their members help us draw a bigger and more complete picture. So let’s try and figure this out.

First a list:

Genre Literature:

Film, Television and Radio:
Potentially Useful Other Resources:
*The Think TV website is linked to from the New Zealand Television Broadcasters Council Yellow pages site – but nowhere does it really identify itself. In this case it’s less an industry organization than purely a lobby group, but as there are only really four television broadcasters in New Zealand – TVNZ, MediaWorks, Sky and Maori TV – and they are all relatively large, they don’t really need an industry organization to cover their needs.

This is a start but it’s likely a highly incomplete picture, amongst that list there are already examples of organizations seemingly set up to do the same thing, organizations who are basically not organizations (New Zealand Comic Creators is a Facebook Page and thats about it as far as I can tell – in saying that their Facebook page is active and has 58 members.) and there are bound to be organizations in my quick and lazy research I haven’t stumbled across or simply have blatantly overlooked.

A gaping hole in this is exercise is also content creators who are focusing their efforts on web only content which isn’t represented in any of these organizations – it’s a problem I am wondering if there is an answer to.

But in ESSENCE, this collection of industry groups should hopefully be able to help us provide  some of the clues to map out the New Zealand genre landscape, both native and introduced works.

I’ll be contacting them all shortly to kick off this investigation, while digging through their websites looking for more useful information to help identify those who push genre content out to the masses in New Zealand – an attempt to figure out what we like, why we like it and how we can be making more genre content locally and distributing it with success both locally and to the world.

In all honesty I have no idea if this will be useful to anybody, knowing who is making genre content in New Zealand is probably a fairly unimportant question in most peoples minds, including other creators who may just want to get on with making what they want to make.

But my gut feeling is that if you were to ask any publisher or distributor ‘what sells in terms of genre made in New Zealand?’and also ‘what do you get pitched most from New Zealand talent in terms of genre?’  you would get two very different answers, and possibly a bit of a shaking of heads and shrugging of shoulders when you asked them why that is.

It’s a question we should know the answer to – what drives us to make the genre content we do make in New Zealand and does that align with the genre content New Zealanders want to consume- and if it doesn’t align, why not and what can we do about it?


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