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 basic Freeview, Freeview Satellite, is made up of 19 channels including radio stations.
If theTV you are flicking through is a little bit fancier, you will have access to more free channels with Freeview Plus.
Finally, the paid TV is Sky, with international movie channels, news channels, entertainment channels, that you are likely to find all over the world.
TV One (Channel 1)
More than 50% of TV One’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 TV One Plus 1 (Channel 6).
TV2 (Channel 2)
The sister channel to TV One, TV2 channel caters to a younger audience of 18-49-year-olds. Like TV One, 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?
TV2 is also the home of Australian soap operas, children’s TV shows, and popular UK and USA comedies and dramas.
You can also watch TV2 shows an hour later on TV2 Plus 1 (Channel 7).
TV3 (Channel 3)
TV3 is the alternative to TV One, 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 TV3 Plus 1 (Channel 8)
FOUR (Channel 4)
A compilation of comedy, drama and reality TV shows where you can watch all those popular American TV shows you just can’t miss. This includes new episodes and repeats of New Girl, The Simpsons, Family Guy, How I Met Your Mother, Real Housewives, Next Top Model and more.
It will feel like you never left home. Watch it all again an hour later on FOUR 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 POP-UP (Channel 13) – Live sports and other event coverage from around the world.
- Parliament TV (Channel 22) – 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.