$15m is being invested in new local children’s content to create a huge range of fun, engaging, (and don’t tell the kids…educational!) content that reinforces identity.

NZ On Air has made several significant funding decisions to provide content largely aimed at primary aged children that celebrates our unique New Zealand voice.

Most of the content will be found on HEIHEI, the online platform launched by NZ On Air and TVNZ in May this year that provides a safe, ad-free website and apps for children to engage with local stories.

HEIHEI local content will also be captioned online as a trial funded out of additional money allocated as a one-off in this year’s budget. Also from that additional funding pot, a new children’s news project will be piloted in 2019, so younger citizens can understand what’s happening in the world around them, from a New Zealand perspective.

“We are very excited by the opportunity we have to stimulate and engage young minds with this new content. HEIHEI has already proven a huge success with children, so further investment is a no-brainer,” says NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

“It’s crucial our tamariki have the opportunity to engage with local content because it helps develop their sense of identity and belonging, linking directly to well-being. We know that content that is strongly ‘New Zealand’, creative, fun, and yes also educational, is a great investment,” Ms Wrightson continued.

The new content to be found on HEIHEI includes two fun science series; Kitchen Science in which ‘Nanogirl’ Dr Michelle Dickinson mashes science and DIY; and This Might Work! from kinetic superstar Joseph Herscher and his team, who build hilariously complicated contraptions to solve kiwi kids’ annoying everyday problems.

Speak Māori For Kids is a fun instructional series of videos teaching kids and their whanau how to speak te reo Māori and Who Cares…Stare! will answer the questions kids love to ask, demystifying disabilities.

There’s lots of food for the imagination too with The Feijoa Club, a new comedy series set in small town New Zealand about a group of mystery-solving teens and Kiri And Lou 2, a claymation preschool series about two prehistoric dinosaurs and their adventures in an imaginary New Zealand forest.

Celebrating diverse cultures, animated series Tales Of Nai Nai, centres on 7 year old Chinese-New Zealander twins who hang off their grandmother’s every word as she tells her spectacular stories, conveying the beauty and wonder of their Asian heritage. And Tales Of The Moana – The Enchanted Ocean retells Pacific Island mythology.

This round also includes a range of new children’s music funded through the New Music Kids scheme, ensuring children can find all types of multi-media content on HEIHEI.

Funding details


Kiri And Lou 2, 32 x 5 mins, Field Theory for TVNZ 2 and HEIHEI, up to $1,438,691 (plus NZSPG support)

Mystic, 13 x 28 mins, Libertine Pictures for TVNZ 2 and HEIHEI, up to $1,000,000 (plus NZSPG support)

The Feijoa Club, 8 x 10 mins, Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for HEIHEI, up to $500,000

Māia The Brave 3, 20 x 10 mins, Pickled Possum Productions for HEIHEI, up to $498,852

The Barefoot Bandits 3, 5 x 22 mins, Mukpuddy Animation for HEIHEI, up to $490,500

Tales Of Nai Nai, 10 x 10 mins, Becky Kuek & Mukpuddy Animation for HEIHEI, up to $483,400

Tales Of The Moana – The Enchanted Ocean, 10 x 4 mins, Tikilounge Productions for HEIHEI, up to $173.990

Norbert & Mylo 2, 52 x 20 sec, LOUDmouth Productions for HEIHEI, up to $57,200


What Now 2019, 40 x 120 mins, Whitebait Productions for TVNZ 2 and HEIHEI, up to $3,253,000

Fanimals 2019, 200 x 25 mins, Whitebait Productions for TVNZ 2 and HEIHEI, up to $2,750,000

Dance Off, 15 x 15 mins, Pango Productions for HEIHEI, up to $499,885

This Might Work!, 20 x 5 mins, Augusto for HEIHEI, up to $493,213

Young Riders, 12 x 15 mins, Greenstone TV for HEIHEI & TVNZ OnDemand, up to $384,175

Speak Māori For Kids, 50 x 3 mins, Adrenalin Group for HEIHEI, up to $292,463

Kitchen Science, 25 x 5 mins, Greenstone TV for HEIHEI, up to $278,094

Kai Five 2, 20 x 5 mins, Pickled Possum Productions for HEIHEI, up to $270,000

Young Ocean Explorers 2, 90 mins interactive content, Greenstone TV for www.youngoceanexplorers.com and HEIHEI, up to $201,556

George & Me 2, 12 x 2 mins, Attitude Pictures for HEIHEI, up to $160,000

Who Cares…Stare!, 12 x 3 mins, Attitude Pictures for HEIHEI, up to $139,907


Let’s Love Our Sea, song & video, Chris Lam Sam, $10,000

Fun and Funner, album & video, Fun and Funner, $10,000

Give Love At Christmas, song & videos, Kath Bee & Anna van Riel, $10,000

Levity Beet song creation webseries, songs & videos, Levity Beet, $10,000

Matariki Glow Show, videos, Little Green Man Productions, $10,000

Worms and Opoutere, songs & videos, The Nukes, $10,000

Note: Please see the release below for details of the funding for captioning on HEIHEI and a pilot children's news project.