Māori Television, Kura Productions and Te Māngai Pāho have partnered to bring the brand new online-first serial drama Ahikāroa to local screens, launching this December.

Ahikāroa is inspired and informed by rangitahi, for rangitahi and brings together some of New Zealand’s most talented creatives for this audacious and taboo-breaking drama. Viewers will be able to engage with the content not only through daily webisodes, but through a language learning website and a television panel show which discusses the plotlines that arise during the series.

Ahikāroa tells the story of three BFF’s; Smooch, Geo and Hemi, urban-raised Māori rangatahi who hack life for maximum fun. These friends break up, make up and rescue one another on the regular, against the backdrop of a new Māori reality. Newcomers Ahorangi Winitana, Turia Schmidt-Peke and Nepia Takuria-Mete have been cast in the three lead roles.

The behind the scenes creative line-up includes well-known performer and artist, Jessica Hansell (aka Coco Solid - Only in Aotearoa, Aroha Bridge) and recent SWANZ nominee Todd Karehana. Former Shortland Street head writer, Joss King serves as script supervisor. Series directors include Hanelle Harris (Baby Mamas Club), Awanui Simich-Pene (Waru) and Kiel McNaughton (Shortland Street, Auckland Daze, Find Me a Māori Bride).

Using a purpose built webpage, viewers will be able to access the series online and in a New Zealand first, these webisodes will then be recompiled into half hour linear episodes which will be transmitted in primetime over a five week period.

The linear series will be supported by the weekly language extension show Ahikāroa After-Hours, which will air after the primetime episodes. The programme will encourage use of te reo Māori through exploring the themes in the Ahikāroa drama.

A further component of the Ahikāroa website will be an immersive te reo Māori extension, developed with the help of Satellite Media, which will support interest in the reo generated by the show and provide educational tools for further language development.

Mike Rehu, Head of Content at Māori Television states, “TV drama in Aotearoa is missing authentic stories and we think Ahikāroa will set a trend for the future for all channels. We are excited to enter into this innovative multi-platform incentive to help support the growth of te reo Māori. We thank Te Māngai Pāho for their faith and support and Kura for their creative, inspirational work so far and look forward to the launch of the series.”

Ahikāroa commences Sunday 10 December with a 10 episode drop at 7.30pm through www.Ahikaroa.nz, with a new episode to premiere each following weeknight. The linear compile broadcast of Ahikāroa, and panel show Ahikāroa After-Hours will air on Māori Television in 2018. See www.ahikaroa.nz and www.maoritelevision.com for more details. 

For more information, image or interview requests, please contact; Leanda Borrett Senior Publicist, Kaiwhakaputa Matua Shanlea Hibbs Junior Publicist P 09 539 7108 M 021 912 935 P 09 539 7013 M 021 737 046 E leanda.borrett@maoritelevision.com E shanlea.hibbs@maoritelevision.com