Issue date: 
Friday, 26 February 2021

Ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea!

The three agencies collaborating to deliver the Te Puna Kairangi Premium Fund, the Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund have struck on an innovative leadership model for the Fund.

Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), Irirangi Te Motu New Zealand On Air (NZ On Air) and Te Māngai Pāho (TMP) have announced the appointment of Kay Ellmers and Polly Fryer as Kaihautū o Te Puna Kairangi / Joint Heads of Te Puna Kairangi. Announced in December by the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Hon. Carmel Sepuloni, the $50 million Fund supports Aotearoa New Zealand production of high-quality productions that tell New Zealand stories for global audiences.

Kay Ellmers (Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Raukawa) currently Managing Director of Tūmanako Productions, is an award-winning filmmaker and past recipient of the WIFT Mana Wahine award, and Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori Award for broadcasting Ngā Tohu Reo Māori – Te Ao Pāpāho. She has been a Consultant Commissioner Documentary and Factual programmes for Māori Television, and mentored filmmakers through WIFT’s mentorship programme.

Polly Fryer has recently returned to New Zealand from a two-year stint in Los Angeles as Production and Post Executive at Netflix. Originally from the UK, Polly worked on various productions before moving to New Zealand in 2006. She produced Emmy nominated docu-drama The Golden Hour whilst Head of Production at Desert Road and in 2017-18 produced David Farrier’s Netflix Original series Dark Tourist.

Together, Ellmers and Fryer will report to NZFC’s Head of Production and Development Leanne Saunders, supported by Pou Whakahaere Te O Kahurangi Karen Waaka-Tibble. They have started in the role this week.

Making the announcement, CEOs Annabelle Sheehan, Cameron Harland and Larry Parr said the decision to appoint Joint Heads was an easy one as both women share a passion and advocacy for premium Aotearoa content, with keen eyes for refreshing stories. “Together they represent a bold and progressive future for New Zealand content creators wanting to create content that will appeal to audiences overseas.”

“This is an exciting approach to leadership of an important fund, combining a strong international view with deep local and tangata whenua insight”.

The Agency Heads also especially want to thank NZFC Head of Production and Development, Leanne Saunders and her team, who have overseen the set up and implementation of the Fund; Te Pou Whakahaere Te O Kahurangi, as well as NZ On Air’s Head of Funding Amie Mills and TMP’s Head of Content Blake Ihimaera.

Last updated: 
Friday, 26 February 2021