New Zealand television has a wide variety of channels, with many local TV stations. These are the big 6 television stations with countrywide reach. -TV1, TV2, TV3, TV4, Prime and Maori

New Zealand Television Stations

Television in New Zealand, a tragic tale of loss and abuse.

Recently with the influx of tourists to the country a familiar refrain has developed. "Your scenery is magnificent, your environment is so clean, your TV is so appalling".

Sadly what was a growing local television industry has taken the cheap way out, reality TV, game shows, and following people around with a camera to record their adventures. 

Mind you there are some informative and interesting programs in that genre. Its just that that is all we get, few good quality dramas, or documentaries.

Our current affairs shows are mostly bought from overseas or topically so trivial that its not worth it.

The drive for audience viewing at 7pm has created sensationalist current events programs reaching the lowest common denominator of our fears and prejudices.

Do we even know what "news" is any more?

Click on a channel below to see what's on Television in New Zealand or read the overviews below before you go brain dead ...


TV One

TV1 is the Flagship of the TV media in New Zealand, Originally the only channel it is now the "cultural station".

A political football controlled by the party in power and vested special interest groups; it fills in its programs with interminable cop shows - regurgitated crap, used as filler between the adverts.

We used to have some excellent local in depth documentaries, however under the new regime these have been cancelled and replaced by one tabloid low brow program on Sunday night called, imaginatively, Sunday.

Sunday, instead of focusing on quality articles, heads off towards the salacious and voyeuristic in an attempt to entertain the 18 to 45 market.

So as a result any topic remotely associated with sex is thrashed to death in the faint hope that wowserism and shock will appeal to the jaded chattering classes.

We also have a "Current affairs" program right after the news at 7:00pm. What a good slot for some background in-depth news! What indeed....

Mark Sainsbury has taken over the helm and steered the program just off shore from cheap emotionalism and shallow content. Its still there, only watered down from its previous potent mind numbing brew. 

However it hasn't as yet, plumbed the depths of not lamented Paul Holmes with his "shove a mic under the victims nose and see if they are crying yet" style.

What's worse is the tabloid TV coverage of funerals at present. Local tragedies are elevated to the level of national mourning. Typically such programming is cheap to make with free human interest. That its not news doesn't seem to factor.

Evening TV seems to be dominated at present by a surfeit of British and American dramas proving that the British can make just as awful TV as the Americans, when they try hard enough.

Somehow the cultural channel seems to be focused on other countries cultures. 

When you can't attract an audience then cling to that bottom rung.

TV1 News

TV1 news has sunk to new lows and still going south.

I have found 4 types of news styles in TV1's news.

  1. Real life current events internationally important.
  2. Real life current events domestic mostly political
  3. News filler of domestic issues that are not pressing news at all.
  4. Articles that are nothing more than advertising for some sporting event, media personality, or sports personality.

Number 4 is scary. Its getting increasingly common in the news,

Many times now I cry in frustration at another article on a media personalty's childhood, or sports stars life changes, disguised as news yet IS NOT NEWS.

TV1 News in New Zealand, is decaying into a form of advertorials and irrelevance.

The horror of what has become TV1 News was witnessed recently with the Burmese  hurricane tragedy.

Directly after it was shown the news moved to 'cat up tree' level of reporting with a minor mud slip affecting one house in Christchurch. This was #2 on the news reporting. Nothing else happened in the entire world that day.

Thank God for the Internet. Truly if you relied on TV1 news for an understanding of the world outside of our shores you would live in ignorance.


TV Two

TV2 is the popular offshoot of TV1, This station plays programs for more 'mainstream' audiences, yeah right.

The cream of TV2 is Shortland Street a hackneyed soap set in a medical hospital without patients, where the staff bonk each other senseless and scheme behind each others back.

You have seen it elsewhere, just change the accents.

Sadly TV2 has finished its great shows and we are left with filler dross. Its scary leafing through the TV guide trying to find something positive to say about the schedule, and realising there is nothing there worth watching.

Prime TV

Prime TV

Prime TV. The ownership of Prime bounces around like a pass the parcel game. . At present its owned by Sky and really isn't too bad. After the glitz and awe assaults of the other stations its still quaint and domestic. 

Prime seems proud of its mindless game shows and seems to think we would love them as well. Well we don't, I suspect they are merely fillers for a lack of content.

The Australian "Deal or no deal" is the bottom of the barrel in hysterical inanity, its only marginally better than having the TV turned off.

I can understand it on Australian TV, hell they would just be happy with the TV signal, but here? Its brain-dead programming, can't we at least have something with a plot?

However they do have the British version of Mastermind, from 2002, which makes a wonderful interlude between watching the News on TV1 and the weather on the same station 30 minutes later. All that repetitive marketing of sport is missed.

However Prime does have some great niche programs, such as MythBusters, Dr Who, and the wonderful Top Gear,  which has to be the greatest male program on TV in the last 10 years.

Prime now matches and surpasses TV1 and TV2 on a number of levels for quality TV.

Where else would you get grown adults driving real cars fast, making witty comments and generally acting like kids. In other contexts they would be considered hoons and boy racers


TV Four

TV4 is the infomercial and music station, its programming is there to give the transmitters something to broadcast. I think its owned by a reclusive sadist who plays with the station.

He has developed some new tricks however in order to torment those not addicted to infomercials. Now its a part time music station.

Surely its a step upward you might think. Fat luck.

We are talking about arm gesticulating, rap spewing, bling bling flashing, rent a groupie, music videos.

Did you know that the only music released in NZ in the last few years is American black rap? No neither did I.

However watching TV4 you could be mistaken for thinking that gansta rap was the flava of the month babes, and shake that booty some more!

They also play NZ music, I think, strange that they don't seem to be specifically New Zealand, borrowed formats, borrowed ideas on borrowed instruments. 

The joy of the channel is in the guests.

One evening they had a drugged up old rocker introduce his own videos whilst trying to make out with the young female announcer, who was making pleading looks for help to the cameraman whilst fending him off and reading the cue cards.. She since moved up in the world to TV3.

Every few months I try to update this page, and so far cannot think of anything positive to say about C4. There must be some purpose to its existence, but apart from using up a transmitting frequency I can't work out what it is.

I would have expected New Zealand music to find a home here, but no, awful American gansta rap predominates.

Its so divorced from New Zealand culture its like watching TV from the planet Mars. Ugly guys with studs on their teeth chant awful mindless lyrics to repetitive beats while half dressed "rent a bimbo" hang off them

At least TV4 doesn't hold any pretensions, it is what it is.

Maori TV

Maori TV. New on the scene is New Zealand's only Television station, Maori TV.

Despite years of intrigue, backstabbing and financial disarray it made it to air early this year.

The haranguers have gone strangely quiet. It is starting to occur to people that this is truly television for New Zealanders.  The scenery, the people, the issues, are pure homegrown Kiwi. It is to urban Maori as 'Country Calendar' and 'Dogs show' are to urban Pakeha.

Its not Australian owned, using American formats and imitated programs. But actually ours. Pity no one but a few radical Maori up north watch it.

Maori TV is worth the flick over. "Ask your Auntie" is a personal help show where supposedly viewers write questions seeking answers and solace.

Its now showing weird fringe movies from other ethnicities. Some of them are great, such as the story of WW2 in Papa New Guinea which interviewed the locals

Or a Palestinian movie in Arabic, or an Eskimo movie (I know they are not Eskimo's but I forget the group). Surprising and worth watching. How about this? Carandiru, a true story of a prison riot in Latin America. It looks awesome! Keep it up.