Asia Downunder

11:00am Sunday, March 13 on TV One

Asia Downunder is all about Asians in New Zealand, young and old, featuring topics as diverse as art, business, sport, music, fashion, culture, lifestyle, food and many more. The show also tackles topical and controversial stories such as refugees, racism, immigration, and health.

This year the series continues its coverage with some half-hour documentaries and single-themed programs that provide an even deeper look into Kiwi-Asian concerns. Plus it turns the tables and follows Kiwis living in Asia and explores travel to Asian destinations and uncovers the best places to see and things to do.

In this week’s episode, there’s a story about a Japanese girl called Maho Noboriska, who is first mate on the famous old tall ship, the Soren Larsen. The square rigger is often found sailing in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.

Asia Downunder reporter Geraldine Ramirez explains what makes Noboriska so remarkable, “she’s small, she’s fast, she’s everywhere all the time. Whenever she gets the chance she climbing the rigging up to the top of the 90 foot mast. She impressed the captain so much, he married her, and now they share their home between this beautiful old tall ship as it sails Pacific waters, Tokyo and their European summer home in Scotland.”

Another story is about award-winning Wellington jeweller from The Village Goldsmith, Nigel Wong. Last year he won the national design award with a stunning piece of jewellery, made with diamonds and white gold.

Kadambari Gladding, another show reporter, says of Wong, “as much as he’s an artist, he’s a gadget geek. He loves metals and motors, and when he’s not creating expensive jewellery he’s making and tinkering with model boats and aircraft. He just loves marrying his mind with the miniature.”

Asia Downunder producer Chris Wright says of the show: “The Asian population has been New Zealand’s fastest growing ethnic group for many years. It’s important that their interests are reflected in a television show that is able to reflect everything concerned with life in New Zealand, culture, lifestyle, sport and art.”

The Asia Downunder reporters for the new 2011 series are: Bharat Jamnadas, an experienced journalist who has been with the programme since the very first episode in 1994; Glenna Casalme, a television news reporter from the Philippines who made New Zealand her home three years ago; Milda Emza, a reporter and former television sports presenter from Indonesia; Kadambari Gladding, a film graduate, singer and former model from the Indian coastal state of Goa; and Geraldine Ramirez, a young and motivated reporter who loves getting to the heart of the matter.

11:30am Sunday, February 28 on TV One

Asia Downunder returns for another series looking at what Kiwi-Asians are up to both here and abroad (today at 11.30am on TV ONE).

Join reporters Bharat Jamnadas, Glenna Casalme, Milda Emza and Kadambari Raghukumar, as they cover a range of diverse topics, including art, business, sport, music, fashion, culture, lifestyle, food and more. Asia Downunder also tackles topical and controversial stories such as refugees, racism, immigration, and health.

Producer Chris Wright says, “the Asian population has been New Zealand’s fastest growing ethnic group for many years. It’s important their interests are reflected in a television show that is able to represent everything concerned with life in New Zealand – culture, lifestyle, sport and art. The team are looking forward to 40 episodes where they’re going to do just that.”

Asia Downunder’s diverse team of journalists each bring a unique perspective to the show. Bharat Jamnadas is an experienced journalist who has been with the programme since the very first episode in 1994; Glenna Casalme is a television news reporter from the Philippines who came to New Zealand in 2008; Milda Emza is a former television sports presenter in Indonesia; and Kadambari Raghukumar is film graduate, singer and former model from the Indian coastal state of Goa; she is also an environmentalist who loves all things natural.

“Our definition of Asia extends from Iran in the west to Japan in the east,” says Casalme. “With such a multitude of cultures there’s probably no other New Zealand programme that can draw on such variety for the stories.”

The 2010 season kicks off with dive master Mie Kawai at the Bay of Islands, then heads to Piha with 2009 Lifeguard of the Year, Rob Pidgeon.

Missed an episode of Asia Downunder – full episodes are available online. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.

The ongoing saga over National MP Melissa Lee’s company that produces Asia Downunder and the misappropriation of NZ on Air funds has been reignited after an OIA release which appears to show that she knew about the matter five months earlier than she had said.

The release, obtained by The Standard, brings back to the table the story over $100,000 of NZ on Air funding which TV3 broke back in October.

The Asian population is the fastest growing ethnic group in New Zealand. According to the latest Census figures, New Zealand’s Asian population rose 50 per cent from 238,176 in 2001 to 355,000 in 2006, making Asians 9.2 per cent of the total population. By 2021, the Asian population is predicted to number 14 per cent of the total New Zealand population.

Asia Downunder 2008 will reflect the growing size of the Asian population and the diversity within it. The show examines what Asian New Zealanders think about and why; where and what Asian Kiwis eat; what is popular with Asians; and what Asian New Zealanders hope for in their new home.

This year, Asia Downunder reporters will also take viewers on a journey through some of the most popular Asian destinations for the first time on the show. Find out what to do and see in these countries, what makes these Asian countries exciting, and what makes our Asian Kiwis homesick.

Melissa Lee, the producer of the show, says: “Asia Downunder is about why Asian people do what we do, when, where, how and with whom. It isn’t just a television programme but a bridge connecting our diverse communities – to promote better understanding.”

Sunday 2 March, 8.30am on TV1