Tamariki across Aotearoa can let their imaginations run wild with the latest drop of exciting new local shows and games funded by NZ On Air.

$11.2m has been allocated for six games, 15 shows and 20 songs that will be available across HEIHEI.nz (games), HEIHEI on TVNZ OnDemand, TVNZ 2 and a variety of radio stations respectively.

Taiohi Gods follows the adventures of a whānau of teen Māori gods learning to control their powers, while animated series Endling explores a place filled with should-be-extinct creatures and supernatural happenings through the eyes of a young girl.

A new reality series to entertain and educate tamariki is Extreme Cake Sports, where teams compete in sports and maths challenges to obtain ingredients for an epic cake making contest. Also on the competitive side, Life Savers profiles the extraordinary lives of a small group of junior life savers and their coaches as they train for the Oceans 21 competition.

Live-action and animation combine to tell the story of two rejected robots on a quest to return home in the new series Goodbye A.I. Quirky animated series Bird’s Eye View centers on a group of native birds that entertain themselves by observing and commenting on the absurd behaviours of humans.

A raft of original games sure to capture kids’ imaginations are also on their way, with adventure-puzzle game Critters sending players on a New Zealand-wide treasure hunt for kiwiana items, and dress-up adventure game Postcards From Aotearoa inviting players to ready themselves with the appropriate clothing and accessories for visits to epic New Zealand vacation spots.

Mitts, a digital (and less painful) successor to the school yard version of ‘slapsies’ will test kids’ reaction times, while Kunekune Shopkeeper is a simulation game in which a kunekune pig trades fruits with a variety of happy customers.

A digital version of a traditional Māori two-player board game will be shared with the next generation in Mū Tōrere, while the world of The Vloggingtons’ will be expanded through a new last-player-standing game Handle The Jandal.

The weekday TV quiz show Brain Busters returns to TVNZ 2, pitting 10 - 14-year olds against each other in a test of smarts and stamina. Also returning to TVNZ 2, What Now will continue to engross young New Zealand audiences every Sunday morning with fun, games, and plenty of gunge.

New seasons of K-Pop Academy, Young Riders, Code Fun, The Feijoa Club, Suzy & Friends and The Drawing Show are also on the way, along with 20 new songs funded through our New Music Kids fund.

NZ On Air Chief Executive Cameron Harland says the quality of work from local children’s content creators is exceptional and the challenge is to find and engage young New Zealanders with these stories and songs.

“We are currently reviewing our Children’s content strategy, off the back of our recent Children’s Media Use research which showed tamariki are increasingly engaging with global platforms over local."

“We have a responsibility to connect with these audiences in a meaningful way with local content, and see the strategy work as vital to forming new ways to do this. This is a significant challenge for us and many of the platforms and producers we engage with and we hope to have wide ranging engagement and openness from the sector to adapt to the changes we face,” Mr Harland continued.

The children’s strategy review, which will also consider the youth age group, is due for completion in early 2021.

Funding details

Factual - New

Extreme Cake Sports, 10 x 15 mins, Good Times Company for HEIHEI, up to $378,715.

Life Savers, 10 x 10 mins, Scottie Douglas Productions for HEIHEI, up to $300,000.

Factual - Returning

What Now 2021, 40 x 117 mins, Whitebait Media for TVNZ 2, TVNZ OnDemand and HEIHEI, up to $3,253,000.

Brain Busters 2021, 155 x 25 mins, Whitebait Media for TVNZ 2, TVNZ OnDemand and HEIHEI, up to $2,675,000.

Code Fun 2, 30 x 15 mins, Pickled Possum Productions for TVNZ 2 and TVNZ OnDemand, up to $499,053.

Young Riders 3, 20 x 10 mins, Greenstone TV for HEIHEI, up to $477,764.

K-Pop Academy 2, 8 x 15 mins, Greenstone TV for HEIHEI, up to $425,146.

Scripted - New

Taiohi Gods, 8 x 6 mins, Mahi Tahi Media for HEIHEI, up to $499,778.

Bird’s Eye View, 8 x 5 mins, Sweetshop & Green for HEIHEI, up to $344,500.

Endling, 8 x 6 mins, Tomorrow Rain for HEIHEI, up to $325,215.

Weirdos, 12 x 11 mins, Ready Steady Studio for HEIHEI, up to $300,000.

Goodbye A.I., 10 x 8 mins, Foundation Animation for HEIHEI, up to $252,410.

Scripted - Returning

The Feijoa Club 2, 6 x 10 mins, Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for HEIHEI, up to $500,00.

The Drawing Show 3, 13 x 4 mins, Mukpuddy Animation for HEIHEI, up to 260,000.

Suzy And Friends 2021, 53 x 45 mins, Treehut for Various Stations, up to $136,000.


Postcards From Aotearoa, Method Studios for HEIHEI, up to $75,000.

Handle The Jandal, Watermark Creative for HEIHEI, up to $70,000.

Mitts, Resn Global for HEIHEI, up to $70,000.

Critters – An Adventure Puzzle Game, Gamefroot for HEIHEI, up to $69,675.

Kunekune Shopkeeper, Tough Love Tonic for HEIHEI, up to $50,477.

Mū Tōrere, Adrenalin for HEIHEI, up to $45,878.

New Music Kids – up to $10,000 each project

Anna van Riel, Waste Free Wanda

Captain Festus McBoyle, Breathe and Pants

Chester Travis, New Zoo

Chris Lam Sam, The Octopus Song

Chris Sanders, The Songs and The Stories for Kids

Claudia Robin Gunn, Seasons

Deano Yipadee, Deano Yipadee the Singing Author

fleabite, A Pirate Meets a Flea

HMG Kids, HMG Kids

Jed Parsons, Jeff Parsnip

Judi Cranston, Happy Minds

Kath Bee, What’s Bugging You?

Little Ripples, Little Bee

Moana Maniapoto and Paddy Free, Island of Mystery

Moe & Friends, Moe Makes Music

Mr Roberelli, Where’s the Piwakawaka?

Music With Michal, I Feel…

Rainbow Rosalind, The Sign Language Song

The Front Lawn, Kiri and Lou Singalongs 2

The Nukes, The Nukes 2020 project