In 2010 there was a lot of talk about New Zealand marking 50 years since television first started in New Zealand. So back in 2010 I thought I would share some of my own television memories. My memories of the shows I watched as a child in an era of 2 TV channels in New Zealand up today with the advent of digital TV and streaming content. As I was born in 1979 my memories begin in the early 1980’s I have however briefly covered the 1960’s and 70’s based on information in the public domain.
Television first began in New Zealand on June 1 1960 originally in just Auckland and only for a few hours a night and not every night of the week. Christchurch and Wellington had to wait a year later before they saw Television and Dunedin had to wait 2 years. Programming wasn't originally networked instead each region either ran their own shows or local versions of shows. Some shows were shared between stations but the medium for transporting TV shows and news stories between stations was by mail. Often regions would see news stories on TV that were days old, in the case of Dunedin this was up to 4 days old.
The first networked show was the Moon Landing in 1969 where a temporary network was created to show the event to the whole country footage however had to be recorded in Australia and flown over here first. A permanent network was established later that year with the first networked news in 1969.
Local programming was replaced with networked programming, colour TV arrived in 1974 and our second channel began broadcasting. Both channels were operated by the government owned BCNZ but separate from each other. Both TV1 and TV2 (South Pacific Television) had their own news service and were not tied to each other in any way, this was until 1980 when the two channels became part of TVNZ.
The following is the TV listing from the day after I was born in 1979. This shows some of the TV shows people were watching when I was born. The (C) against each show indicates the show was in colour, by 1979 most shows were in colour. My parents kept the paper of the day after I was born with my birth notice in it.
I don't have any personal memories from this era as I was under 5 years old at the time. I only really remember watching Play School every morning and then again in the afternoon. Back then my parents still had a black and white TV and this was the case until 1984.
My parents bought their first VCR and this is when I really started watching TV at the age of 6. I was quick to work out how to record a show and play it back again most of the time.
This year the children's line up included Playschool at 2:30pm every weekday followed by Sesame Street on Tuesday's and Thursday's. After School presented by Olly Olsen was screened later in the afternoon. Hanna-Barbera cartoons such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, The Snorks and The Shirt Tales all screened in this era. My favourite show was The Huckle Berry Hound Show which screened on Friday afternoons. On Saturday mornings What Now screened between 8am and 10am and included Inspector Gadget and Super Ted as part of the cartoon line-up.
The following is the TV listings from March 1986, children's shows were on TV1 however on this day After School was not on instead the cricket was on TV. The Close Up show on TV1 at 8:30pm was in no way connected to the show of the same name that aired at 7pm between 2005 and 2012, this was a once a week show. While the News on TV1 appears to be for an hour, in this era there was a regional news breakout. In Southland and Otago's case our regional news show was called The South Tonight.
Children's weekday programming moved from TV1 to TV2 at the start of the year, but children’s shows on Saturday and Sunday mornings shows remained on TV1. This year marked the birth of children's puppet Thingee. Thingee made his first appearance on After School this year originally in a large egg that one of the presenters supposedly found, weeks later that egg hatched and Thingee was born. Over the next decade Thingee featured in various children’s shows mostly shows presented by Jason Gunn.
An iconic clip from 1994, the time Thingee lost his eye
Being 8 years old I started watching some prime time shows I can remember watching MacGyver on Saturday nights at 8pm, this was moved to 8:05pm when Lotto began. I do remember the very first Lotto draw, there was no fancy intro and the top prize was much smaller, $1Million first division draws started early in 1988. Another prime time show I enjoyed was Alf and also first New Zealand series of The Krypton Factor.
This year I experienced a Telethon for the first time, while I do remember some of the 1985 Telethon I don’t remember that much of it. That particular weekend we were staying in Oamaru and on the way home we stopped in at the Dunedin town hall to watch the event live for an hour or so I can remember wanting to stay longer so I could join the chain of people dancing around when a new total was released and be on TV but my parents didn’t want to stay too long. I remember meeting news reader Tom Bradley and also one of the stars from Coronation Street. I believe Telethon events were held all around New Zealand and the programming was regionalised so what we saw in Southland was mostly the Dunedin event with occasional crossovers to the Invercargill event.
After School was dropped and replaced with two new shows. The first was After 2 which started just after 2pm. After 2 was presented by Jason Gunn and Thingee. At 3:45pm a new show 3:45 Live was started, originally presented by Fenella Bathfield and Ricky Morris the show was more aimed at a teenage and pre-teen audience. 3:45 Live featured music videos as well as appearances from NZ music artists.
This year Paul Holmes new current affairs show Holmes was started on TV1, the regional news show was moved to before the 6pm news. I can’t say I ever liked watching Holmes so don’t have any memories of that first show and the interview with Dennis Connor. I was more interested in watching Sale of the Century and as soon as Paul Holmes said the words “And that was Holmes Tonight” I used to run to the TV and switch over to TV2 for Sale of the Century that was until Sale of the Century was moved to TV1.
I can't believe the person who uploaded this clip cut off Steve Parr's iconic slide to the podium.
At the end of the year children’s programming on Saturday and Sunday mornings moved from TV1 to TV2. Also a little known fact is that in 1989 the Goodnight Kiwi or TV Kiwi had his own show. I cannot remember the name of the show but the TV Kiwi was a puppet along with the cat, who appeared to be a rather mischievous cat in this show. The show was set in a country garage in a fictional New Zealand town and each show featured a well known New Zealand celebrity.
New Zealand finally got its third channel, TV3. While TV3 actually started in November 1989 it wasn’t until January 1990 that TV3 came to Southland. The first show I remember seeing on TV3 was a tennis match I didn’t exactly watch much of the tennis but later weeks I do remember some really good programming on 3.
My favourite on 3 in 1990 would have to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which actually screened quite late in the afternoon at 5:30pm. I also remember The Early Bird Show originally on weekday mornings hosted by Russell Rooster who was a yellow puppet rooster. He was often joined by a green Kea and also Suzy Cato. The Early Bird Show or EBS as it became known moved to Saturday and Sunday mornings by March that year and also a short segment was seen weekday afternoons for a while. At this point TV3 didn’t start broadcasting until midday during the week.
This TV3 opening clip from 1990 showcases some of their early line up.
This year also marked the end for many shows on TVNZ, the very last Telethon screened in 1990 along with Top Town, It’s in the Bag and regional news shows were dropped at the end of the year.
The links above are the TV listings seen in The Southland Times in June 1990. As you can see New Zealand now has 3 channels. Our third channel didn't start programming each day until midday during the week but at 7am at weekends. Home and Away was screened 7 days a week on TV3 and Neighbours screened for a hour each day this was due to New Zealand being so far behind Australia with these shows back then. Both shows even remained on air over the Christmas holidays and some years even screened on Christmas Day.
3:45 Live was dropped and replaced with The Bugs Bunny Show. The Bugs Bunny Show was an hour long show presented by Hinemoa Elder the show featured various Looney Tunes cartoons. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Tiny Tunes was part of the show. A couple years later The Bugs Bunny Show became The Cartoon Company basically the same show but now included other classic cartoons as well as the Looney Tunes cartoons.
Wheel of Fortune screened on TV2 for the first time originally at 5:30pm the showed moved several times during its original run, the show was hosted by Philip Leashman and Lana Cockroft. David Tua requested an ‘O’ for Awesome on a celebrity match.
TV3 extended their news to an hour long bulletin during the Gulf War and kept the news at an hour long using this as a selling point over the news on TV1.
TV2 afternoon line up now consisted of Jase TV which was presented by Jason Gunn and Thingee and pretty much was the same as After 2 this was followed by The Son of a Gunn Show which was also presented by Jason Gunn and Thingee the only difference is The Son of a Gunn Show was presented in front of a studio audience.
TV2 also started Face the Music a music quiz show presented by Simon Barnett, this show lasted until 1994.
1992 was also the year of the very first Shortland Street episode and this look back would not be complete without showing this clip.
Sale of the Century was canned this year with Wheel of Fortune being moved to the shows 7pm time slot on TV1.
This year TV3 screened the one show I am sure made everyone stop paying their broadcasting fee, the show was Melody Rules. What can I say? Melody Rules was a NZ sitcom starring Nightline presenter Belinda Todd and was not really that funny at all and very badly acted.
While Sky TV had been broadcasting since 1990 Sky finally came to Southland, right away I noticed a large amount of UHF aerials popping up on houses around Southland. Originally Sky had just 3 channels Movies, Sport and CNN News. Later in 1994 a new channel called Orange was started and Juice TV began screening Free to Air after hours on the Orange channel.
TV3 dropped all their children’s afternoon programming in favour of 1970’s classics such as Hogan Heroes and Get Smart I still wonder what they were thinking when they made this move.
Sale of the Century made a return now on TV3 at 7pm competing against Wheel of Fortune, still presented by Steve Parr.
TV2 began broadcasting 24 hours a day and that meant the end of the Goodnight Kiwi. TV2 had actually been broadcasting overnight since 1991 but only during the summer holidays and weekends. The move in 1994 meant permanent 24 hour broadcasting. TV1 also followed suite by running the BBC World Service overnight and TV3 began 24 hour broadcasting by screening Infomercials overnight.
As well as loosing The Goodnight Kiwi this iconic clip was also lost on TV1, this clip was seen at the start and finish of programming on TV1.
TV1 extended their news to a 1 hour bulletin to match the move TV3 made back in 1991. As a result Holmes was moved to 7pm with Wheel of Fortune now screening at 6pm on TV2, TV3 were forced to drop Sale of the Century as the show could not compete with Holmes and later Wheel of Fortune was cancelled as the show could not compete with the 6pm news. TVNZ also started a group of regional channels in the main centres of New Zealand.
Free to air rugby became a thing of the past after rugby union went professional in New Zeland. Sky won the rights to screen all rugby matches such as the Tri Nations, NPC and the new Super 12 competition on their Sports Channel. Years later other sporting codes such as the cricket became only available to pay TV viewers. Looking back I would have to say that if the cricket had of been moved to pay TV when I was a child I would have loved this, simply because I hated it when I was young when often I went to watch a favourite cartoon only to find the cricket on TV instead.
Southland started its own local channel Mercury TV. Early memories of shows on Mercury TV included this Southland feature video which was looped throughout most of the day I am guessing the idea was for viewers staying in Motels in Invercargill could see some of the attractions available in Southland. The show also had a local news show and used to screen some club rugby games.
A year earlier What Now moved from Saturday mornings to Sunday mornings and was now presented in front of a studio audience. This year What Now started an afternoon show as well replacing Jason Gunn and Thingee from what I understand Thingee did remain on What Now for a while but I think he disappeared after TVNZ closed the Christchurch studios in 1998.
TV3 started a new channel, TV4. I can remember the opening broadcast and also the weeks leading up to the launch date you could tune into the channel and see a test pattern with clips of shows that would be screening on TV4. The opening broadcast on June 29 featured the Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield rematch and pretty much after that there was nothing else worth watching on the channel except South Park. I can remember the channel didn’t start each day until 4PM and afternoon programming included Get Smart and Hogan’s Heroes.
TVNZ dropped the regional channels they introduced in 1995 and in these regions a feed of the UK version of MTV was screened in place of the regional station.
The TV Listings as seen in The Southland Times in December 1997 this image has been split into 2 files due to the fact my scanner could only scan A4 size pages.
MTV was canned after less than a year on air. Shortly after Prime TV was started, I don’t really have that many memories of Prime in the early days as we couldn’t get Prime that clearly without a UHF aerial.
Sky also started their digital service and I think initially the channels available were just those channels available on UHF plus TV3 and 4. I didn’t actually use Sky Digital until a few years later.
A year earlier John Hawkesby resigned from reading the 6pm news on TV3 after TV3 decided to add a second news reader to their new look news lineup, John Hawkesby didn't want to work with Carol Hirshfield. So John Campbell became the new newsreader on TV3. TVNZ then snapped up Hawkesby with the intent on creating their "Dream Team" news lineup with John Hawkesby and Judy Bailey, Hawkesby had worked on TV1 news in the past and alongside Judy Bailey in the 1980s on Aucklands regional news show The Top Half. While the idea seemed good in theory the audience reaction of TVNZ replacing Richard Long with John Hawkesby was not positive at all. Weeks later after a drop in ratings Hawkesby was taken off the air and Long was reinstated. Of course this resulted in a huge legal battle between Hawkesby and TVNZ resulting in Hawkesby receiving an $8 Million dollar payout.
Reality TV as we know it today started this year. TV2 screened a show called Pop Stars which followed the growth of an all girl band called True Bliss. The public were asked to audition to be in this band in late 1998
and the 5 successful
members of the band were chosen by the end of the first 2 episodes. The rest of the series followed the growth of this band. The band True Bliss managed to produce a number 1 single but after that fell into obscurity, the TV series
was sold to an Australian production company which launched a band called Bardot and then the series was onsold to the UK. The format of this show inspired the Pop Idol series in the UK which then of course spawned
American Idol which screened for the first time in NZ in 2003 and even our own series called NZ Idol between 2004 and 2006.
Another reality series to start this year was Mitre 10 Dream Home where two couples competed to renovate a room of a house each week. Once the house was completed the couple with the most viewer and judge votes over the series won the house. The runner up then had the option to purchase the house at auction and every series the house was always sold the runner up couple. A similar series called The Block was started in Australia in 2003, the producers of Mitre 10 Dream Home actually sued The Block for the similarities in the two shows but lost.
TV3 ran some Teledot promotion where after shopping at BP, KFC or Pizza Hut you were given this dot that you stuck on your TV screen. The idea was you stuck this dot over a watermarked Teledot logo on your TV screen for the duration of the show and then somehow over the time the dot was on your screen it should have “activated” you then sent it away to go into a draw to win prizes. The whole idea was obviously to get you to watch certain shows on 3 where the Teledot logo was displayed.
The Teledot promo was also a sign of things to come as months later TV3 was the very first free to air channel in New Zealand to display a watermark of their logo at all times during programming. TV4 followed shortly after.
The TV licence fee was dropped, for the past 10 years our licence fee had gone to NZ on Air who were responsible for providing funding for New Zealand made shows. Many people objected to paying such a fee and would claim that they didn’t actually own a TV or that the TV belonged to another person. As a result the government axed the fee and now NZ on Air is funded out of our taxes.
This is an advert from 1990 when NZ on Air was first established telling viewers to pay their broadcasting fee.
NICAM Stereo finally became available on TV1 and TV2 in Southland only 11 years after TV3 first began broadcasting in Stereo. TVNZ began rolling out NICAM stereo in 1989 first in Auckland on TV2 but the rest of the country didn’t get stereo until 1996 and smaller regions like Southland had to wait until 2001. At the end of this year TV1 and 2 also began broadcasting on Sky Digital.
TV4 was turned into a music channel and re-branded as C4, certainly a great move as the programming on TV4 certainly wasn’t great. The very first show was a Top 100 best songs of all time countdown.
Southland’s Mercury TV went nationwide when they began broadcasting on Sky Digital. The channel was renamed to Southland TV.
Richard Long was given the boot from TVNZ at the end of year along with Jim Hickey. TV1 news now had a single presenter Judy Bailey.
Maori Television was started for Sky UHF viewers this meant they could no longer receive the CNN channel as Maori TV took over the frequencies used by Sky's analogue CNN channel.
A current affairs war began between TV1, TV3 and Prime. At the end of 2004 TVNZ decided not to renew Paul Holmes contract for more than a year and subsequently Holmes accepted an offer to present a similar show at 7pm on Prime. TVNZ pretty much showed Paul Holmes the door and instantly re-branded the Holmes show as Close-Up at 7 with Susan Wood as the shows new presenter. Wood had been a fill in presenter on the Holmes show since it started in 1989. At the start of 2005 Close-Up at 7 simply became Close Up and Paul Holmes new show titled Paul Holmes started weeks later with Holmes planting a new tree on One Tree Hill in Auckland, the tree was later removed. Of course TV3 decided to get on the current affairs band wagon and replaced repeats of The Simpson’s with their own current affairs show Campbell Live presented by TV3 news reader John Campbell.
Close Up continued to pull in a well rating audience just as Paul Holmes original show on TV1 had rated, Campbell Live also did quite well. However the new Paul Holmes show on Prime didn’t do well at all in fact Hogan’s Heroes, which was previously on the 7pm timeslot on Prime rated better. Paul Holmes show on Prime was moved to 6pm right after the 5:30pm news on Prime and renamed to Holmes but this just made things worse as most viewers at that time chose to watch the news on TV1 or TV3. By the middle of year the Prime version of the Holmes show was moved to a once a week show at 7:30pm and eventually cancelled.
There was much controversy over the fact that TVNZ were paying their 6pm TV1 newsreader Judy Bailey $800,000 a year. At the end of the year TVNZ decided not to renew Bailey’s contract and the 6pm news in 2006 was presented by Simon Dallow and Wendy Petri.
Freeview was launched in New Zealand a free digital satellite service which allowed viewers to receive free to air channels such as TV1, TV2, TV3 C4, Maori TV and also a couple of radio stations. Prime was however originally excluded.
TV3 began broadcasting in widescreen format on Sky Digital and Freeview.I have to say this is what lead me to upgrade my 25” TV to a 40” TV. The move to widescreen meant all shows were in a letterbox format and older shows designed for a 4:3 format simply appeared as a smaller box I have to say was really annoying, I did manage to switch off widescreen on the Sky decoder but rather annoying when I wanted to watch movies in a 16:9 format.
TVNZ launched a new free to air channel TVNZ 6 and a year later TVNZ 7. The Goodnight Kiwi also was revived on TVNZ 6. Both TVNZ 6 & 7 were initially only available on Freeview. Both channels were public service channels which screened no advertising. TVNZ 7 contained a wide range of news and dcoumentry shows and an hourly 5 minute news bulletin, many shows were locally made.
TVNZ launched their TVNZ OnDemand service allowing viewers to stream shows from their computer. The service was extended to the PlayStation 3 years later.
Southland TV was renamed to CUE TV and began broadcasting on Freeview as well as Sky Digital.
HD TV came to New Zealand in time for the 2008 Olympics which were broadcast in High Definition. However the only people that could watch the Olympics in HD were those that had Freeview HD. Originally when Sky launched their HD service the only channels offered in HD was their Movies and Sports channels, TV3 was offered in HD later that year and TV1 and 2 in 2009. The Freeview HD service is terrestrial which means you need a UHF aerial and a set top box and is not available in all regions.
Prime began broadcasting on Freeview and TVNZ 6 & 7 began broadcasting on Sky Digital.
TVNZ had a go at reviving the Kiwi classic Top Town, however it certainly wasn’t as good as the original the huge difference was that the 2009 version all took place in one location at Jelly Park in Christchurch and due to health and safety issues the whole thing was water based. The original took place on a local sports field of a different New Zealand town each week and competitions were not just water based. The 2009 version was more like the overseas TV Series Wipeout.
TV3 decided to have a go at running a Telethon, TVNZ last ran a Telethon in 1990. The new Telethon was called The Big Night In and raised money for the Kids Can Trust. The producers went to the effort of creating a new song to celebrate a new total but fortunately the classic “Thank you very much for your kind donation” song was used for much of the event. As mentioned earlier the new Telethon took place in Auckland and Christchurch with viewers all seeing the same content, this differed from the early Telethons where each region screened their regions Telethon party.
TV3 launched the very first time shift channel in New Zealand called 3+1, the channel was available exclusively on Freeview and screened the same content as TV3 but one hour behind.
The Sky UHF service was switched off.
New Zealand celebrated 50 years of Television with the main anniversary date being 1st June 2010. To mark the occasion a 6 part documentary series screened on Prime called 50 Years of New Zealand Television aired over 6 weeks. TVNZ ran this advertisement below during May and June 2010 and ran a quiz show titled Cheers to 50 Years of NZ TV on the 1st June. During the middle of June 2010 TVNZ ran a 50 Years of News documentary looking back at TVNZ news and the stories covered over the past 50 years.
TVNZ launched TVNZ Heartland a channel available exclusively to Sky TV customers. TVNZ Heartland screened old episodes of New Zealand made shows from the 60s to more recent shows.
A second C4 channel was launched exclusively on Freeview. The new channel was called C4-2 and played alternative music around the clock with no specialty shows or presenters.
C4 was relaunched as FOUR and the channel was reverted to a general entertainment channel, the transition from a music channel to entertainment had started back in 2008 with the channel running less music shows. The change saw FOUR running infomercials overnight instead of music and kids shows early in the morning and afternoons. C4-2 continued to operate but was renamed to C4 and now played all genres of music around the clock. Overnight C4 continued to play alternative music with the overnight show being called C4-2.
TVNZ 6 was discontinued and replaced with a youth channel called TVNZ U. KidZone which was on TVNZ 6 was moved to TVNZ 7 and a 24 hour KidZone channel launched on Sky.
Coverage of the Freeview HD UHF service was extended to the smaller towns and cities in New Zealand. In Southland a choice was made to broadcast from Forrest Hill as opposed to Hedgehope where the analogue TV and FM radio stations in Southland broadcast from. Broadcasting from Hedgehope meant a large part of Southland including Gore cannot receive the Freeview HD service. Coverage was extended just before the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
TVNZ 7 closed down at midnight on the 30th of June 2012, there was much controversy over the closure of TVNZ 7. With a protest group started called Save TVNZ 7, over 30,000 New Zealanders signed a petition to save the channel. TVNZ 7 was replaced with a time shift version of TV1 called One+1.
Sky TV launched a new pay TV service called Igloo. Igloo was UHF terrestrial service and was only available in the regions where Freeview HD was available. Igloo offered only a few of the Sky channels but did offer pay per view
sports matches. With Igloo customers owned their decoder and were responsible for installing an aerial, this is different to Sky where Sky arranges for the install of a satellite and provides a decoder which must be returned
when cancelling the service.
Igloo was discontinued in 2017 and customers were able to install an update on their decoders to convert the decoder to a Freeview box.
TVNZ made a decision at the end of 2012 to dumb down their 7pm news show replacing Close up with 7 Sharp which contains lighter more trivial news content. 7 Sharp began having a right wing bias from 2014 when Mike Hosking became the show presenter.
TVNZ discontinued their Teletext service. The captioning service available on page 801 was not affected. The Teletext service first came to New Zealand in 1984 and in order to use the service you needed a separate set top box or a TV with built in Teletext. Teletext built into TVs didn't become standard until the 1990s and even then it was the higher end TVs that included Teletext. Teletext was also available on digital platforms such as Sky and Freeview prior to the shutdown.
Analogue TV was shut down in New Zealand, the Hawkes Bay and South Island West Coast were the first regions to shut down the analogue service in September 2012. The remainder of the South Island switched off on April 28 2013, the lower North Island switched off on September 29 2013 and the top of the North Island switched off on December 1 2013 ending all analogue television broadcasts in New Zealand.
Recording of the final analgoue broadcasts seen in the South Island.
TVNZ U was closed down and replaced with a timeshift version of TV2 called TV2+1.
C4 was closed down and replaced with a new music channel The Edge TV, which was run by The Edge FM radio station.
Streaming service Netflix came to New Zealand. Prior to the launch of Netflix many New Zealanders had been accessing the US version of Netflix by using a VPN service which makes their internet connection appear to be from another location. Internet providers Slingshot and Orcon offered a global mode which allowed customers to access content only available in the US. TVNZ, Sky and MediaWorks all took action against Call Plus (owners of Slingshot and Orcon) and the global mode option was eventually discontinued. The New Zealand version of Netflix does not offer the same content as the US version, many shows are not available as the rights to these shows belong to the New Zealand networks.
Sky TV launched their own streaming service called Neon TV as a rival to Netflix. Sky also launched FanPass a sport streaming service which allowed anyone, including non Sky subscribers, to purchase a streaming pass to watch Sky Sports for a day, week or month.
On April 10 2015 Southland's local TV channel CUE TV broadcast for the last time
TV3 made great moves to dumb down their News content in 2015. Just after Campbell Live celebrated it's tenth birthday the show was placed on review with talks of axing the show. The impending removal sparked a massive public outcry with a
petition signed by 100,000 people to keep the show on air. The show enjoyed it's highest ratings during the review period but this was not enough to save the show with MediaWorks management ignoring the complaints and annoucing the shows
end during the 2015 Budget announcement. Campbell Live was replaced with a news current affairs show called Story, presented by Duncan Garner and Heather du Plessis-Allan.
Current Affairs show 3rd Degree was reduced to a 30 minute show on Sunday nights at 6:30pm which also meant a shorter bulletin on Sunday nights, the show was renamed to 3D and axed at the end of 2015.
TV3 rebranded their 3 News show as "Newshub" from 1st February 2016. The Radio Live news service on MediaWorks radio station also became Newshub.
FOUR was closed down and replaced with a New Zealand version of Bravo. The closure of FOUR caused much outrage from parents with young children as FOUR previously had a great lineup of childrens programming, in particular shows for pre-school children.
TVNZ launched Duke a male orientated general entertainment channel. The channel became available in HD from 2018 onwards.
TVNZ rebranded all their channels to start with the name TVNZ and use uniform logos, such as ONE became TVNZ 1, TV2 became TVNZ 2 and Duke became TVNZ Duke.
TVNZ improved their OnDemand service extending to ChromeCast and Smart TVs with content now available in 720p. Live content can now be watch OnDemand as well many shows became available exclusively OnDemand. In response to many New Zealanders choosing to download TV shows before the shows air in New Zealand all networks began screening some shows often the same week as the originating country. A good example was the TV Series The Big Bang Theory, TVNZ often screened episodes the same week as the US and while the show took a break during the summer months the new episodes were still available online the same week as the US.
Current affairs show Story on TV3 is replaced with The Project, an even more dumbed down news show with a magazine style format.
In 2018 TVNZ and Spark won the rights to screen the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Internet provider Spark launched their own streaming service called Spark sport to allow customers to stream the Rugby World Cup live, some games were made available free to air on TVNZ 1. On 21st September 2019 the Spark Sport service was given it's first true test when Spark Sport aired the All Blacks vs South Africa pool match, a decision was made to make the game available live on TVNZ Duke free to air after customers experienced issues with streaming. Pool matches screened the following day were also made available on Duke.
Maori TV and Prime on Freeview became available in HD.