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 36 channels including radio stations.
The paid TV is Sky, which includes international movie channels, news channels, entertainment channels, that you are likely to find all over the world.
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.
- Seven Sharp – A half-hour current affairs show broadcast straight after the evening news.
- Kiwi Living – Friday evening lifestyle show.
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).
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!
- Step Dave – A comedy-drama about a mum and her toyboy.
- What Now – A children’s TV show on Sunday mornings.
- Police Ten 7 – A reality TV show about New Zealand’s law enforcers!
- Neighbours at War – Want to see some grumpy neighbours argue?
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).
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.
- Jono and Ben – A Friday evening news and comedy show.
- Grand Designs – New Zealand Kiwis building their dream home.
- 7 Days – A comedy game show about current affairs.
There’s a whole bunch of international shows too, such as dramas and talk shows. You can watch the schedule an hour later on ThreePlus1 (Channel 8)
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.
It will feel like you never left home. Watch it all again an hour later on Bravo PLUS 1 (Channel 9).
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.
- The Palace – An entertainment documentary following Maori from an Auckland dance studio.
- Hunting Aotearoa – A documentary series about hunting in New Zealand and around the world.
- Native Affairs – Current affairs series.
- Find me a Maori Bride – A comedy mock-reality series following Maori men on their quest to get a bride.
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.
- 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.