Pixabay© Pixabay

TV Channels in New Zealand

© Pixabay

What’s on the Box?

You didn’t come all the way to New Zealand to watch TV. But sometimes, the time comes where you find yourself stuck flicking through the channels of your hostel or flat’s TV. Situations might be when you are stranded on Stewart Island on a rainy day, or super hungover and can’t do anything but stare at a digital box.

Although New Zealand’s TV operators, Freeview and Sky, have a broad selection of international channels that you may have seen elsewhere in the world, there are a few New Zealand born-and-bread channels that you can access from any TV with an ‘on’ switch. We’ll give you a quick rundown of the channels: TV One, TV2, TV3, FOUR and Maori Television.

TV in New Zealand

Digital TV in New Zealand comes in the form of Freeview and Sky:

  • The Freeview and Freeview Satellite are made up of three dozens channels including radio stations.
  • The paid TV is Sky, which includes international movie channels, news channels, and entertainment channels, that you are likely to find all over the world.

Television in New Zealand offers a unique and vibrant viewing experience, reflecting the diverse culture and creative spirit of this beautiful country. From gripping local dramas and engaging reality shows to insightful documentaries and world-class international content, New Zealand’s TV landscape is as varied as it is entertaining. In this exploration of television in New Zealand, we dive into the heart of what makes Kiwi TV so special. We’ll look at the most popular shows across various channels, showcasing the creativity and storytelling that resonate with audiences both locally and internationally. Whether it’s a journey through the picturesque landscapes in a home renovation show or a deep dive into compelling Kiwi narratives, New Zealand’s television scene promises something for everyone.

TV Channels in New Zealand© TVNZ

TVNZ 1 (Channel 1)

More than 50% of TVNZ 1’s shows are New Zealand-made, so this is a real chance to get an insight into the Kiwi culture. (Not quite as good as when you get out and see the Kiwi culture yourself through WWOOFing or working with New Zealanders though). Some classic New Zealand shows on TV One are:

  • Breakfast – A morning weekday news and current affairs show gracing the TV screens since 1997.
  • Good Morning – Airing since 1996 (that’s practically historic in New Zealand), Good Morning is a weekday morning lifestyle show.
  • One News – The daily news segment is shown midday and at 6pm daily. It is the channel’s #1 show.
  • Seven Sharp – A half-hour current affairs show broadcast straight after the evening news.
  • Kiwi Living – Friday evening lifestyle show.
  • Love It or List It NZ – Homeowners decide to renovate or sell their homes.

The international shows broadcast consist of UK quiz shows, UK soap operas, and international dramas aimed at an audience of 25-54-year-olds.

You can also watch shows an hour later on TVNZ 1+1 (Channel 6).

TV Channels in New Zealand© TVNZ

TVNZ 2 (Channel 2)

The sister channel to TVNZ 1, TVNZ 2 caters to a younger audience of 18-49-year-olds. Like TVNZ 1, it has heaps of New Zealand-made productions, such as:

  • Shortland Street – New Zealand’s very own soap opera.
  • Motorway Patrol – A documentary series about the New Zealand police officers patrolling the, you guessed it, motorways!
  • Celebrity Treasure Island – Celebrities compete on an island for charity
  • The Great Kiwi Bake Off – Baking competition showcasing NZ’s best home bakers
  • What Now – A children’s TV show on Sunday mornings.

TVNZ 2 is also the home of Australian soap operas, children’s TV shows, and popular UK and USA comedies and dramas.

You can also watch TVNZ 2 shows an hour later on TVNZ 2+1 (Channel 7).

TV Channels in New Zealand© Three

Three (Channel 3)

Three is the alternative to TVNZ 1, directed at the same older audience who want to know a little something about something. Kiwi shows include:

  • 3 News – The daily news at 6pm.
  • The Block NZ – Four Kiwi couples compete to renovate each room of four houses side-by-side in Auckland. The Australian version of the show is also featured on the channel.
  • Grand Designs – New Zealand Kiwis building their dream home.

There’s a whole bunch of international shows too as the channel is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, such as dramas and talk shows. You can watch the schedule an hour later on ThreePlus1 (Channel 8)

TV Channels in New Zealand© Bravo

Bravo (Channel 4)

A compilation of reality TV shows from overseas, including Top Chef, Vanderpump Rules, Below Deck, Shahs of Sunset, Made In Chelsea, Apres Ski, Tour Group, Southern Charm, Flipping Out and the popular Million Dollar Listing and The Real Housewives franchises. Some of the most popular shows on the channel include:

  • Southern Charm – Follows Charleston families amid scandals and traditions.
  • Below Deck – Crew members serving clients on a luxury yacht.
  • Summer House – Friends escape city life for weekends in a summer house.
  • The Real Housewives of Atlanta – Personal and professional lives of Atlanta women.
  • The Real Housewives of New Jersey – Family-oriented housewives in a less lavish setting

It will feel like you never left home. Watch it all again an hour later on Bravo PLUS 1 (Channel 9).

© Maori Television

Maori Television (Channel 5)

The most Kiwi channel of them all, Maori Television has around 80% of New Zealand-made documentaries, news, events coverage, comedies and more. There is a mix of shows in te reo (the Maori language), English and English subtitles.

Popular shows include:

  • Te Kaea – The news broadcast three times on an evening daily.
  • Ahikāroa – A youth drama in te reo Māori about city-based young adults
  • Hunting Aotearoa – A documentary series about hunting in New Zealand and around the world.
  • Native Affairs – Current affairs series.

Maori Television also has a sister channel, Te Reo (Channel 15), where many of the shows are repeated. However, Te Reo is all in te reo and has no subtitles.

Learn more about the Maori culture in 10 Things You Did Not Know About the Maori Culture.

The Best of the Rest

What Other Channels are Free to View on New Zealand TV?

These channels are included in the basic Freeview Satellite.

  • SkyOpen formerly Prime (Channel 10) – This is where you are going to find the best sports coverage in New Zealand, amongst dramas, documentaries, lifestyle and comedy.
  • The Edge TV (Channel 11) – The Edge TV is a televised version of The Edge radio station, predominantly showing music videos.
  • Choice TV (Channel 12) – A lifestyle channel covering topics such as travel, property, garden and cooking.
  • TVNZ DUKE (Channel 13) – Watch NZ fishing shows, UK and US comedies, international dramas and movies.
  • Parliament TV (Channel 31) – Unedited broadcasts of New Zealand’s parliamentary proceedings.
  • Shine TV (Channel 25) – New Zealand’s Christian TV network.
  • Hope Channel (Channel 27) – New Zealand’s other Christian TV network.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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