Post punk revival meets Mommbahto as TVNZ U announces five stand out NZ finalists, whittled down from 400 entries.

Tune is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an up-and-coming Kiwi musician to have their song professionally recorded, produced and played on U for the next 12 months, thanks to Kit Kat.

Now it’s up to the nation to vote for their favourite track. Voting is open from Thursday 13 September to Sunday 7 October 2012 on

Oliver Sealy, U channel manager says, “We were blown away by the amount of talented entries that came through. We can’t wait to see how the voting goes and who will come out on top and become our channel music.” Continue reading »

TVNZ U is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an up-and-coming Kiwi musician to have their song professionally recorded, produced and played on U for the next 12 months, thanks to the Kit Kat team.

Up-and-coming artists have the chance to make some real noise simply by going to and uploading their unsigned tune between now and Friday 31 August.

From a shortlist of finalists, the songs are handed over to the nation to vote for their favourite track. Plus, everyone who votes goes into the draw to win one of fifty prize packs, including a music voucher, Kit Kat goodies and U merchandise. Continue reading »

U viewers voted for their favourite V48HOURS short film in U Presents – V48HOURS 10 of the Best voting competition.

U supports budding filmmakers and celebrated the annual filmmaking competition by bringing you the slickest, smoothest and strangest films, all made within the space of 48 furious hours.

Over Sunday 3rd, 10th and 17th June, U Presents – V48HOURS 10 of the Best took you down memory lane with the all-time, greatest 48HOURS short films ever made. Continue reading »

U Presents – V48HOURS 10 of the Best takes you down memory lane as we bring you the all-time, greatest 48HOURS short films ever made.

Now in its 10th year, we’re celebrating the annual filmmaking competition by bringing you the slickest, smoothest and strangest films, all made within the space of 48 furious hours. Continue reading »

After 7,500 public votes cast and almost 11,000 YouTube views, U and Rhythm and Vines are excited to announce 20-year-old Bachelor of Communications student, Conor Beggs is our R&V Protégé. 

U together with the Rhythm & Vines team, have been looking for the ultimate R&V Ambassador – someone with a love for the festival and enthusiasm to burn, a near obsession with music PLUS on-camera skills – not much to ask right?!

As part of his prize, Conor’s biggest responsibility will be representing the R&V brand at Rhythm and Vines and Rhythm and Alps in Canterbury, as well as festivals in Australia and Europe 2012. And he’s also won himself a weekly slot on U live, the daily LIVE interactive show on U.

Conor was a stand-out throughout the competition and caught the judges’ eye early on with his quirky sense of humour and humble attitude. His entry videos had audiences in stitches, which ultimately helped him to win the ‘Behind the Vines Best Entry Video’.

As the search for the next R&V Protégé drew to a close, the competition was neck and neck between Conor and fellow hopeful, Tim Couch. However the ‘highly quotable’ Conor won over the judges and ultimately received the most votes overall.

“We’re really excited to have such an enthusiastic and creative mind joining the team. R&V is all about people who are passionate about creating a world class event, so it’s great to have an ambassador like Conor on board to help communicate this to the world,” says R&V programme director, Hamish Pinkham.

Special congratulations go out to the top six finalists; Govind Sandhu, Selena Le Fleur, Gil Amir, Magdalena Scheoman and especially runner up, Tim Couch. The calibre of entries was exceptional and the judges were very impressed saying they’re sure all entrants have bright futures in the industry.

Here’s a link to his final video – Conor interviewing Six60’s Ji Fraser before their sold out Auckland show.

Conor will be appearing on U live within the next few days. U is available on Freeview channel 6 and SKY channel 016.

Rose Matafeo is up against four other nominees for the 2012 Billy T Award; including Tom Furniss, Tevita Manukia, TJ McDonald and Guy Williams. 

Auditions took place last week at The Classic, where the 2012 Billy T Award nominees won the judges over by pitching their 2012 show concept, as well as a 7-minute set at a showcase.

Rose says “It’s such an honour to be nominated for the award, especially alongside four other comedians who I consider good friends as well as ridiculously talented performers. This has been something I’ve been working towards since I first started stand-up, so I’m stoked. And nervous. Mostly nervous, but a little stoked as well.”

Inspired by and named after legendary New Zealand comedian – Billy T James, the Billy T Award is an initiative of the New Zealand Comedy Trust, recognising outstanding potential in up-and-coming comedians with the aim of ensuring the continued growth of live comedy in New Zealand.

Established in 1997 the Billy T Award has been a much coveted honour and launching pad into a career in comedy. Previous winners include Ewen Gilmour; Brendhan Lovegrove; Te Radar; Jermaine Clement & Taika Waititi aka Humourbeasts; Paul Ego; Jan Maree; Dai Henwood; Justine Smith; Ben Hurley; Sam Wills aka The Boy With Tape On His Face; Steve Wrigley; Rhys Mathewson; with last year’s winner Nick Gibb from Palmerston North.

The five nominees will be judged on all aspects of their 2012 Festival show, including marketing, promotion and production as well as performance. Final judging will take place at the annual Last Laughs ceremony, as part of the 2012 NZ International Comedy Festival on Sunday 20 May 2012. The winner will take home the prestigious Yellow Towel and a $2500 cash grant from the New Zealand Comedy Trust.

Check out Rose Matafeo on U live, from 4pm daily on U. U is available on Freeview channel 6 and SKY channel 016.

Rhythm and Vines is one step closer to finding its “ultimate R&V ambassador” with the announcement of the top six semi-finalists for R&V Protégé 2011. 

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural R&V Protégé competition, R&V together with TVNZ U are on the hunt for a “roving reporter” for the next 12 months.

The lucky winner will get to go behind the scenes and cover this year’s festival – for both R&V’s Behind the Vines and U. They’ll also get to attend and cover other shows like the upcoming R&V Soundcheck in Auckland and international festivals in both Australia and Europe. And if all that wasn’t enough, the winner will also learn the ropes of TV presenting and get to host their very own weekly segment on U live.

R&V Program Director Hamish Pinkham says organizers were impressed with the calibre of entrants and the effort some went to with their entries.

“From all over New Zealand and as far away as Sydney, we’ve seen some really creative video entries and everything from jazzablading to X Fighters, tattoos and tans. A big thanks to all those who entered and went to so much effort with their entries.”

The six semi-finalists will spend two days in Auckland later this week flying courtesy of grabaseat. While in Auckland they’ll be put through a series of challenges including one at R&V Soundcheck at Vector Arena this Thursday.

They will also get a crash course in TV presenting courtesy of U presenter Connor Nestor, get a behind-the-scenes look at the TVNZ newsroom and be put through their paces by journalist Greg Boyed from ONE News’ Tonight Bulletin, before being interviewed live on U and ZM.

Connor is looking forward to meeting the finalists, being part of the process and seeing who will crack under the pressure during the challenges.

“This is an amazing opportunity for the finalists. It’s not going to be an easy couple of days. They need to be really comfortable in front of the camera and know their stuff. In this job, getting star struck or freezing up, isn’t an option.”

Following their two days in Auckland, the final four will return home where they’ll need to complete a series of challenges. The public will vote for their favourite finalist each week, with the overall winner announced early November.


So without further adieu, here are the R&V Protégé Top Six Semi-Finalists for 2011:


Govind Sandhu, 26, resides Sydney, originally from Queenstown

A Kiwi entrant currently living in Sydney, we love his work at Red Bull and the fact he is passionate about music, festivals and R&V in particular.


Selena La Fleur, 21, from Pakuranga, Auckland

Currently studying Communications at AUT, Selena – seen “jazzerblading” in her entry -loves all types of music and is excited about the breadth of opportunity offered by the R&V Protégé role.


Magdalena Schoeman, 21, from St Albans, Christchurch

While studying to become a presenter, Magdalena also finds time to work as a barista amongst other things. Last year was her first time at R&V for NYE and she can’t wait to go back this year.


Conor Beggs, 20, from Whangaparoa, Auckland

The youngest of the contestants, Connor is half Kiwi half Irish, but with no accent to impress the ladies as he stated in his video. He currently works as a duty manager at a restaurant while studying.


Gil Amir, 27, from Epsom, Auckland

A well-known character around the Auckland University campus, Gill is the current Cultural Affairs Officer at the Auckland University Students Association. Gil’s knowledge of music and enthusiastic personality made him a stand out in the interview process.


Tim Couch, 27, from North East Valley, Dunedin

The drummer in well-known band Knives at Noon, Tim also hosts a show on the Radio One and has worked in local television.


Check out or the R&V Facebook page for the entry videos, plus stay tuned to U for more updates and a half hour special that will air Tuesday 18th October at 8.30pm (repeated Thursday 20th October at 9.30pm).

Love music? Does the camera love you? If the answer is yes, you might just be the new face of Rhythm & Vines. That’s right, New Zealand’s biggest and best festival is on the hunt for the ultimate R&V ambassador.

Building on the success of last years inaugural R&V Protégé competition, in 2011 Rhythm and Vines, together with U are looking for someone to be a ‘roving reporter’ for the next 12 months.

The R&V Protégé will go behind the scenes and cover this year’s festival – for both R&V’s Behind the Vines and U. They’ll also attend and cover other shows like R&V Soundcheck at Vector Arena later this month and be sent to international festivals in both Australia and Europe! And if that wasn’t enough the winner will also learn the ropes of TV presenting, plus host of a weekly segment on U live.

Rhythm & Vines Creative Director Hamish Pinkham says the Rhythm & Vines Team is excited about running the competition again.

“We’re looking for someone who shares our enthusiasm for Rhythm & Vines, has a passion for all the things that make R&V a world class event and has the ability to communicate what we’re about to the world”.

“It’s great to be teaming up U as well – this really will be an opportunity of a lifetime for the winner”.

Go to for more information and check out U live or for Connor’s tips on ‘what not to do’.

The nitty gritty: 

 The competition runs from 7 – 21 September 2011. To enter, simply post a video at telling us why you should be chosen as this year’s R&V Protégé. 

 The finalists will fly to Auckland courtesy of Grabaseat for two days in late September.

 They will be put through a series of challenges – including covering R&V Soundcheck – and filmed for a special feature to air on U the following month. 

 The top four will return home where they’ll complete a series of challenges over a period of four weeks. 

 Each week, the public will vote for their favourite, with the winner announced early November. 

To launch its new youth TV channel U, TVNZ developed a Facebook® application that is now featured as a global case study on the Facebook Ads Page. 

The Facebook Ads Page has almost 125,000 fans throughout the world and features case studies across a range of industries and brands. Only a handful of New Zealand campaigns have had case studies written about them, and U is the only TV channel in the world to feature on the page.

U’s case study showcases its innovative use of a Facebook application (app) and the strong results from the supporting Facebook advertising campaign. U’s Facebook app was developed to deliver New Zealand’s first (also believed to be the world’s first) “social television” experience, where social networking and broadcast television would collide.

The results have surpassed all expectations. Pre-launch, U had 952 Facebook fans on its page. Just four weeks later the fanbase surged to 10,000. Now the page has over 22,700 fans. U’s posts have been viewed over one million times and U live’s app averages 3,500 uses each week with more than 50,000 total users since launch. 86% of Facebook users are within the target demographic, meaning that the app and the campaign connected U with the right audience.

Since TVNZ launched the channel in March, U has rapidly established itself as a favourite with the youth audience, consistently achieving cumulative numbers of over 1.2 million per month.

TVNZ’s Head of Digital Channels and Digital Media, Eric Kearley says, “U was designed to be more than a TV channel; we aimed to build an interactive multi-platform brand. The brand takes active involvement and inclusiveness as given and Facebook has been key to delivering this to our audience. Having worked with Facebook in the development of the app and the campaign from the very beginning put us a strong position to deliver these exceptional results.”

To read the full case study visit:

U is the official broadcast partner of New Zealand’s largest and most anticipated fashion event of the year – New Zealand Fashion Week 2011. 

New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) will be held from Monday August 29 to Saturday September 3 2011 at the brand new Viaduct Events Centre.

Since TVNZ launched the channel in March, U has rapidly established itself as a favourite with the youth audience, and the place to go to for music, technology and fashion.

U Channel Manager Maria Mahony, says the partnership with NZFW means U will be the go-to channel for the behind-the-scenes look and latest news about NZFW.

“We’re really excited to be the broadcast partner for New Zealand Fashion Week. We’ll be filming U live from the Viaduct Events Centre, with our hosts doing daily LIVE crosses to keep our viewers in the loop with what’s happening throughout the week.

“Plus we’ll be screening highlights of the Fashion shows, both on-air and online at TVNZ Ondemand, as well as offering giveaways and interviews with designers, VIP guests and everyone that makes NZFW the huge success that it is,” Mahony says.

Managing Director of NZFW Pieter Stewart says:

“We’re pleased to take our relationship with TVNZ to the next level and combine the powers of U and TVNZ Ondemand. U is an ideal platform for us to showcase highlights of Fashion Week to a nationwide audience, while TVNZ Ondemand provides an easy way for internet users to view every single show as well as all the NZFW shows of the last two years. We look forward to some great coverage in 2011.”