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It’s one click on your remote or other device away – it’s Freeview.
It’s one click on your remote or other device away – it’s Freeview.

FreeviewDecember 3, 2018

The Freeview documentary guide to getting smarter

It’s one click on your remote or other device away – it’s Freeview.
It’s one click on your remote or other device away – it’s Freeview.

You’ve already met the new Freeview On Demand – now it’s time to get acquainted with the documentaries on it. Tara Ward has you sorted.

Don’t listen to what your parents told you, because watching television definitely makes you smarter. It’s especially true for a good documentary, which can enrich your life, challenge your thinking and fill your brain with new and unusual experiences. Or, in the case of Jennifer Lopez: Dance Again, it’ll just make you want to put on a spangly jumpsuit and sing ‘Let’s Get Loud’ until the end of time.

Luckily for us, Freeview On Demand is filled with a huge variety of local and international documentaries. A quick browse through the ‘News and Factual’ category brings up short docos like Hayley Sproull’s new Cystic Sisters, international sports biography Being Serena, stunning nature series Our Big Blue Backyard, and historical documentaries like Hikoi the Land March. There are more shows about Meghan and Harry than you can shake a royal sceptre at, and if you love a good Nigel Latta investigation, you’ve come to the right place.

Basically, there’s something for everyone. The world around us is waiting to be discovered, so let’s check out some of the best documentaries available on Freeview on Demand.

A User’s Guide to Cheating Death

Friends, we live in a toxic world, and it’s hard to know to survive without locking ourselves in a cryotherapy chamber and steaming our vaginas until the end finally comes. Luckily for us, Health Law Professor Timothy Caulfield is here to dive into the tsunami of health and wellness products on today’s market, to see if any of these controversial ideas will actually prolong our lives.

From detox diets to cosmetic surgery, Caulfield throws these pop-culture wellness methods up against old mate science to see what sticks. He debunks some of the weirder stuff, discovers whether it’s possible to capture the fountain of youth, and learns what health means to different people.  You probably won’t cheat death by watching, but you’ll definitely think twice about booking in for that festive butt implant.


Chuck on your camouflage pants and commando roll into Intake, a fly-on-the-wall documentary series that follows a new intake of Māori youth as they undergo the New Zealand Army’s gruelling 16-week Basic Training course. The training is tough, the recruits are pushed to their physical and mental limits, and not everyone will graduate. Intake captures all the trials and triumphs of these life-changing four months, as the recruits evolve from civilians to soldiers.

Knives Out

Who knew New Zealand had a national butchery team? Meet the Sharp Blacks, a bunch of passionate and dedicated meat experts competing to win the 2018 World Butchers’ Challenge.

The Sharp Black’s world of competitive butchery is intense. It’s filled with secret strategy meetings, hours of practice at undisclosed locations, an incredible promotional video and some fierce trans-Tasman rivalry. Who will slice and dice their way to the top? Does the victor wear a crown of sausages? Knives Out is a brilliantly bonkers watch that feels like a top-tier sports documentary series, thanks to the genius use of narrator Keith Quinn.


Award-winning doco Stan follows the deeply personal journey of musician, actor and general Kiwi legend Stan Walker as he battled stomach cancer. Cameras followed Walker and his whānau for nine months during his treatment, capturing every raw and emotional moment.

Stan is as unflinching as it is inspiring.  It rated through the roof earlier this year, and it’s easy to see why; this is one of 2018’s best documentaries about one of New Zealand’s best loved personalities, filmed during an incredibly vulnerable time of his life.

Both Worlds

Each episode of Both Worlds follows one New Zealander aged between 18-30 at an important moment in their lives. The seventh and final season includes dancer, writer and youth advocate Ernestina Bonsu Maro, as she performs at a spoken word event, and Vogue dancer Jake Tamata, as he prepares to debut his first public show.

Both Worlds features young, talented Kiwis dealing with issues like teen parenting, LGBTQI identity and environmental sustainability. It’s an intimate and personal documentary series that offers an insight into what culture, community and identity means today, and shows that our future as a multi-cultural nation is incredibly bright.


Discover the stories and issues behind Aotearoa’s significant taonga in Artefact, a history series presented by historian Dame Anne Salmond. Each episode focuses on a different topic like travel, trade, and music, and Dame Anne weaves the powerful stories of famous and lesser known artefacts around each theme.

It’s a fascinating journey around New Zealand and the world, as Dame Anne connects with the people and the stories that brings these objects to life.  Artefact shows how taonga link us to our past, our present, and future, and is a must-see for all Kiwis.

This content was created in paid partnership with Freeview On Demand. Learn more about our partnerships here

Freeview On Demand is supported on new Smart TVs, connected boxes and recorders. Call 0800 FREEVIEW or visit for more information.


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