Live from Gladstone Road
The green screens and bright lights at Rāngai studios on Gladstone Road are set up for students to take over the airwaves with a career in film and television.
As well as a commercial film and television studio with green screen, motion capture and virtual production technologies, the studio has launched a student-run television show, He Tangata (The People).
The show format is taken from morning entertainment shows like TVNZ’s Breakfast and Three’s The AM Show.
“We really want the students to evolve the format and make it more youthful and pick the topics they know. I don’t think a single one of them is interested in doing weather,” said Rāngai founder and director Shannon Dowsing.
“It’s more of a focus on e-sports than traditional sports, but when we do cover sports it will focus on regional activities, like stuff around the skatepark or waka ama.”
By partnering with motion image company Target3D and Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), Rāngai offers training pathways to allow students to do paid work while studying and getting experience in the industry.
“The cool thing is it’s local. We’re so lucky to have this opportunity,” said Ben Plowman, one of the presenters on the show.
“We have a supportive culture in Gisborne as opposed to a big city,” said Te Hira Horua, who operates the camera.
“So for young people who want to get into the industry, it’s easier to do so in Gisborne.”
Te Hira is enrolling in EIT’s Diploma in Screen Production, and hopes to move into writing and directing in the future.
The goal is to have the show broadcast on Saturday and Sunday mornings next year, partnering with TVNZ or Discovery, the new owner of Three.
“It supports a lot of the students to get the qualifications they need to enter the Level 5 course we’re providing next year,” said Dowsing.
Some students don’t have the Level 3 NCEA results required, so the practical experience in the studio can help get them into the course.
As well as the traditional show in production, students are making content for social media accounts, like TikTok, which have the potential to rack up thousands, if not millions of views when done right.
“We’re always throwing content ideas around on chat groups and we do a big brainstorm session at the start when students come in, which gives us things to research throughout the week.”
The students visit Rāngai every Friday to plan, produce and shoot the show.
There are 13 working in the studio with the addition of new staff to help run the programme.
“We have hired an associate producer to manage that aspect of the show, to work out the content ideas with the students and to flesh them out for the show, as well as finding guests.”
The students are a range of ages.
“We’ve got a mix of 13-year-olds to 25-year-olds working on the show so it’s a really broad range. The students we are able to employ are the ones joining the Level 5 next year so we have got nine students identified for that at the moment,” said Dowsing.
Studio manager Tom Paton said all the eligible students working for Rāngai are paid the living wage.
And television isn’t the only thing going at Rāngai. Soon they will be hosting regional e-sport and drone racing club with tournaments.
The show was helped out with funding from the vaccination roll-out. Each show has a segment on a youth-related topic to do with Covid-19.
One week a student went over applying for the vaccine passport and how the red level in the traffic light system affects youth spaces.
“So far we have been able to provide all our services free to the students and this opportunity, for all eligible students, is paid and for all the others it is work experience.”
Even though they have managed to tap into support, Dowsing said they had plans to make a show anyway.
“We already had the platform and were ready to go and we’re about to produce anyway. We were just fortunate that we gave a genuine rangatahi platform to speak to a new audience.
“We still have to develop that audience and get those followers. It’s an investment that has got a long life.”