TVNZ7 signed off tonight, much to the disappointment of tens of thousands of viewers.
The last news bulletin aired at 11pm with newsreader Susana Guttenbeil wishing all the loyal viewers, who today turned out in their hundreds in a progression up Victoria Street, thanks and farewell.
"And that was your very last news update here on TVNZ7. I'd like to say thank you to all the viewers who have watched us... And to my colleagues - i will miss you all greatly. Ka kite... Tofa soifua.. koe kia.. goodnight and goodbye," Guttenbeil said with all the staff of the defunct public broadcastrer behind her.
After five years of commercial-free programming, funding for the
channel has run out and at midnight it will be no more.
This evening fans of the channel are staging a mock funeral at Auckland's St Matthew in the City, a church nearby to the channel's studio, based inside the TVNZ newsroom.
Hundreds of people are in attendance at the "funeral", including Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.
Tonight's funeral is not the only such protest; processions to mourn the loss of TVNZ7 have taken place across the country this week.
"We're losing something very, very valuable," said Dr Peter Thompson, who lectures in media studies at Victoria University.
"It's valuable educationally, it's valuable culturally, it's valuable democratically."
For the past four-and-a-half years TVNZ7 has offered more than 70% Kiwi-made content; mostly consisting of documentaries, news, science and arts programming.
The channel launched with a Kingmaker Debate in the lead-up to the 2008 election.
When funding ran out for the channel, the National government announced the service would be cut, but by then 1.6 million viewers were tuning in.
Thompson says the channel provided "quite a remarkable schedule".
"It's provided programs about science, the arts, media and politics, and the courts. It's provided a wide range of programmes that are not available on any other channel."
The Save TVNZ7 campaign attracted thousands to meetings and marches, and generated a petition of 38,000 signatures.
Labour broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran says TVNZ put up a strong proposal to save the channel.
"I think it did get some support within Government by some ministers, but others canned it," she said.
Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss told ONE News the groundswell of support has not swayed the decision to can the channel.
Foss said NZ On Air funding ensures all New Zealanders have access to quality Kiwi content, and that the Government is committed to supporting that, rather than fund one particular channel.
It is estimated TVNZ7 cost the Government just over $16 million a year to run, about a third of the budget for Maori TV.