Entertaining young minds

We will help grow great New Zealanders by providing enriching local content for children that encourages imagination and curiosity.


Children and youth are key audiences for NZ On Air under the Broadcasting Act. We fund content from drama and animation to long-run magazine series, webseries and apps for young people of all ages.

The content we invest in has a clear target audience, demonstrates a sound educational framework and is as good as anything produced in the world. Our funding ensures there is a local option for young people to enjoy amidst the sea of global offerings.

Children’s content in New Zealand is almost entirely dependent on public investment.



May 2018


HEIHEI provides a safe, ad-free environment for New Zealand children aged 5-9 to explore and interact with audio visual content made for them.

Terry Teo

July 2016

Terry Teo

Terry is on a mission to avenge his father’s murder in this witty action drama which makes for great family viewing.


November 2015

Jiwi's Machines

A thrillingly interactive, hilariously physical, clickably scientific web experience for Kiwi kids young and old!

The Barefoot Bandits

February 2016

The Barefoot Bandits

Get the family together and tune into The Barefoot Bandits to see where the adventures of Tane, Fridge and Riley will lead them next!

The Moe Show

September 2015

The Moe Show

A pre-school puppet series that allows the youngest New Zealanders to hear our languages and accents and see our people and places on television.

12 Huia Birds

March 2016

12 Huia Birds

12 Huia Birds is a fully interactive picture book app for children in English and te reo Māori


We have three special goals for children’s content:

  • Funded NZ content will inspire children and champion creativity and engagement
  • Strong partnerships will extend audience reach and improve output
  • NZ children will know where to find freely available NZ content

These goals will influence our investment decisions.

Apply for funding

All funding applications must be made through our online application system, Eric.

Please be aware that all your applications are covered by the Official Information Act - read more here.

HEIHEI - a new home for children's content

In May 2018 we launched HEIHEI, a new online home for children's content, aimed at 5-9 year olds.

The Charter Of Principles underpinning HEIHEI can be read here.

Below is detailed guidance for children's content creators about creating content for HEIHEI.

HEIHEI - Guidance for creators


An overview of the genesis of HEIHEI and the mahi to get it to launch. This section gives you critical information about how HEIHEI came into being, its purpose, and the content framework that guides funding round assessments.

The 2018 application and funding round to submit content for HEIHEI is here. Please note that we also be accepting submissions into the March / May 2019 funding round. To apply for funding, applicants need to first register with ERIC, the online funding application system. Below are the people you can contact about HEIHEI:

  • Glenn Usmar / glenn@nzonair.govt.nz / Responsible for oversight of HEIHEI at NZ On Air with a specific focus on industry partnerships.
  • Anna Currie / anna@nzonair.govt.nz / Lead HEIHEI funding advisor at NZ On Air.
  • Briar Davies / briar.davies@tvnz.co.nz / HEIHEI Senior Digital Producer. Responsible for platform content curation and key producer liaison for live projects.
  • Kate Simmonds / kate.simmonds@tvnz.co.nz / HEIHEI Manager. Co-lead on HEIHEI with Amie Mills and responsible for review, feedback and approval of all HEIHEI commissioned content.
  • Nevak Rogers / nevak.rogers@tvnz.co.nz / Māori and Pasifika Commissioner at TVNZ and key point of content for projects with a strong Māori and Pasifika lens.


Stacey Morrison shares the cultural framework underpinning HEIHEI and talks through examples of HEIHEI content that best embrace the kaupapa. This talk aims to help guide producers to think about how they can incorporate tikanga and te reo into stories.

HEIHEI Launch Campaign & Marketing

The team at TVNZ step us through the marketing campaign to launch HEIHEI, the audiences we’re targeting and what our media strategy is. They also share the creative approach and some of the campaign assets that have been created for the launch. This section is useful for anyone wanting to understand what the HEIHEI brand looks, feels and sounds like.

HEIHEI User Research

Liz Busch provides in depth insights from the HEIHEI beta user testing sessions with families in Auckland, Whangarei and Christchurch. This talk contains useful findings about the HEIHEI target audiences of parents and tamariki; what they like about the platform, what content they care about and how they would use HEIHEI in their daily lives.

Reaching Asian communities

Mark Russell outlines the work of the Asia NZ Foundation, the changing demographics of the New Zealand population, and how HEIHEI can better reach Asian communities in Aotearoa.

Netsafe - keeping our tamariki safe

Sean Lyons gives an overview of the work that Netsafe does and talks about potential content grants that creators can access for stories which reflect Netsafe values around keeping our tamariki safe online.

ABLE - making content accessible

Wendy Youens shares the work that ABLE does in the industry and how creators can cater to accessibility services in the content they create.

HEIHEI 3rd Party Funding & Upcoming funding round

TVNZ and NZ On Air share guidelines around 3rd party funding of HEIHEI content and talk about the upcoming August / September 2018 funding round in terms of the types of content (genres + topics) that the HEIHEI platform is looking for.

HEIHEI Questions & Answers

The Content Framework

This is the framework that will underpin the project. It outlines the principles and motivations for the project. It will support our content assessment and funding decisions, and feed into the overall strategy.

Can older, pre-published content live on this platform?

If it is still relevant for children aged 5-9 then yes, it can live on HEIHEI. We are identifying the content that might be available. If you have existing content that might be suitable or any other suggestions, we welcome them. Please contact Kate Simmonds.

What is the balance of local vs foreign content?

We do not have a set percentage in mind at this stage. We have said that the site will be “Proudly New Zealand”, both in its look and feel, its values, and of course its content. International content will be carefully selected to complement local.

What about content from other platforms or media providers?

We are keen to work with other platforms and providers wherever possible. This will not be a ring-fenced TVNZ-content platform and we will look to collaborate, integrate and embed content from multiple sources. A commitment from TVNZ is not required for projects that are for the platform only, or for content which is commissioned for another broadcaster or platform.

How will proposals supported by a broadcaster other than TVNZ be treated?

Proposals submitted to NZ On Air that are attached to a non-TVNZ broadcaster will be reviewed separately by NZ On Air and external assessors.

What about Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality?

MR and VR will are harder propositions to fund for HEIHEI as they’re not readily-accessible enough in New Zealand yet to reach a wide audience of children. The options for AR will be dependent on the technical / app solution used to deliver the experience and how that can easily integrate with this brand / platform. Please check out The Green Fairy on HEIHEI to see how this currently works.

Does a series have to have an episodic structure like it does currently for broadcast?

There is no fixed duration or number of episodes required for content on this platform.

Will you fund native apps for smartphones and tablets?

Yes, for the right idea we will.

Will the site be bilingual?

Not entirely. We aim to weave te reo through the content as much as possible and in some cases content may be primarily (or all) in te reo, but the site will not be fully bilingual. Please watch the video of Stacey Morrison talking through the HEIHEI pou to better understand what we are trying to achieve in this area. We will continue to grow and enhance this kaupapa.

Applying / Commissioning

When submitting an application do we need to have an affiliated broadcast partner?

If your application relates to content for the online platform only (and is asking for under $500k in production funding) then you do not need to have a broadcast partner. If you have secured a broadcast outcome, the broadcaster will be able to confirm the broadcast commitment within Eric (the online application system) if selected as your Primary Platform. If you have secured support from any other additional platform, please upload a letter of support from that platform.

How does the application process work?

Applications made through Eric (the online application system) will be assessed by a panel made up of NZ On Air, TVNZ and external assessors. If you are not registered with Eric please register now. Once you're registered and logged in you'll have access to your dashboard, which will show all the open funding rounds, and any applications you have made or have in progress.

For applications for the children's platform - select the Scripted & Factual funding round.

If the content is proposed for the platform only, select “New Children’s Site” as the primary commissioning platform, and all applications will be assessed by the panel.

How will the assessment process work?

There will be a 5-step assessment process as follows:

  • Applications deadline: 9 August
  • Eligibility review: 10 August – 17 August
    • NZ On Air will compile a long list of projects that clearly meet criteria.
    • Long list sent to assessors.
  • Long-list assessment: 18 August – 25 August
    • Four assessors: three from TVNZ and NZ On Air, plus one external assessor, will agree a shortlist
  • Short list assessment: 28 August – 4 September
    • Short-listed proposals and assessment sheets to Content Advisory Panel assessors including Head of Funding at NZ On Air, GM Digital Content at TVNZ, and two external assessors.
    • Recommendations made to NZ On Air
  • NZ On Air Board approvals: 26 September
  • NZ On Air advises applicants of outcome: 27 September

What’s the story with co-investment?

Co-investment in production budgets remains a priority for NZ On Air where possible. There is no specific amount set: as usual, the amount and source of additional contributions to the production budget will be considered in the assessment of applications.

There are tight sponsorship and co-investment guidelines however because this child-centred site will have a high standard of social responsibility.

TVNZ’s Commercial and Sales teams may also be in a position to help producers. Please contact Kate Simmonds to discuss this further.

What audience data will be available to producers to help them secure other investors in this new world?

We will be transparent about analytics on the site. We aim to provide as much data as possible to producers regarding the use of, views and interaction with their content. For broadcast ratings, TVNZ will approach this as they currently do.

Will $ be ring-fenced for this in the upcoming funding round?

No. There is a stated priority for applications for this 5-9 year old audience that will be for the site, however there is no specifically ring-fenced fund just for this content.

Will there be a development fund?

There will not specifically be development funding for projects intended for the children’s platform. For higher budget productions, where multiple investors are likely to be involved, it may be possible to apply for development funding through the usual approach.

Will the platform be recognised for the SPG?

Initially probably not. However this will be an ongoing conversation and ultimately yes, we would hope it would qualify.

Rights and IP

Who owns the IP?

As always, the producer owns IP in projects proposed by them.

Does any content funded for children have to be on this platform now?

The target audience for this platform is 5-9 year olds. We will prioritise projects that can feature on this platform in original or repurposed form.

We expect any NZ On Air-funded content to be provided free online to the NZ public for at least a year, whether on an exclusive or nonexclusive basis. For HEIHEI, this should be longer. We may negotiate depending on the needs of other investors and genuine potential sales opportunities that the producer can outline.

Exceptions will likely only be made for projects like broadcast children’s drama; namely for content with a shelf life, where other sales are anticipated, and other investors are involved. Producers should put a proposal to us.

What if my content is intended for another platform?

Unless NZ On Air is a minority investor we will expect such content to be made available to the platform in original or repurposed form within a month of first release. On a nonexclusive basis is fine. Producers should discuss this in their application.

What are the mandatory rights required for this content distribution on this platform?

We are asking for a minimum one-year non-exclusive right to distribute the content on this platform. This requirement may be extended beyond one-year depending on levels of investment from NZ On Air. We are still in the process of defining when that one-year window starts in terms of projects that have TV and online outcomes.

Each project will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis if there are wider global distribution opportunities for content.

Will you require exclusivity of content to the platform?

The rights will be different for each project that is creating content for the platform. Exclusivity is unlikely to be a requirement, although there may be conversations around windowing for higher budget productions.

How do we handle music licensing and rights - is this any different to television?

Music licensing should be approached in the same way as you do for television. Make sure you secure online rights for at least NZ for as long as possible.


How will the contracting for funded projects work?

NZ On Air will contract for content for the children’s site on our standard terms and conditions.

When funding is over $200,000 it is an equity investment. This means that we are entitled to a share of any income in accordance with our standard recoupment policy.

There are also NZ On Air accreditation requirements.

A standard funding agreement is used. See producer resources on the NZ On Air website for guidance.


Will the content on the platform be geo-blocked?

Currently, all content on HEIHEI is geo-fenced to New Zealand.