Today, TVNZ and NZ On Air launch their brand new children’s media platform, HEIHEI.
Available as a free website, iOS app and Android app, HEIHEI represents a new and substantial investment in children’s public media, bringing Kiwi kids a digital home where their own stories and environments are acknowledged and reflected.
HEIHEI – te reo for commotion or chicken - is a collaboration between TVNZ and NZ On Air, born from NZ On Air’s comprehensive research and call for proposals. It features new local content and hand-picked international titles for primary-aged children on a safe, ad-free platform.
HEIHEI’s impressive line-up includes new local series and old favourites such as Fanimals, Māia The Brave, Kai Five, 199 Little Heroes, What Now, Darwin And Newts, The Barefoot Bandits, Tamariki Takeover, George And Me and more.
The platform will also serve up web-based games and apps for a number of its series, creating storyworlds for children featuring their favourite characters.
Cate Slater, Director of Content at TVNZ says: “We’re committed to local content and to our youngest viewers. We want to serve up relevant and diverse local content that connects and inspires them, in the way that they want to engage with it.
“We’ve done significant research into children’s viewing habits which drove us to re-think how we deliver content to them on new platforms and with interactivity included.”
NZ On Air Chief Executive, Jane Wrightson adds: “Tamariki are an important audience for NZ On Air – they need stimulating and engaging media in a safe environment. We initiated this project and have committed significant investment because we believe it is the right intervention at the right time.”
“Children are central to HEIHEI. It may be funded by us, constructed and managed by TVNZ, and populated by content creators but it belongs to the children of New Zealand, says Ms Wrightson.
HEIHEI’s steering committee, comprised of TVNZ, NZ On Air and third party experts has ensured the platform was driven by child-centred thinking.
Central to this thinking is a commitment to local content, non-commercial principles, diversity, inclusion and also parental concern around children’s safety and privacy online. The site’s Charter of Principles (link) underpins this.
HEIHEI is available as an iOS app and Android app, or head to www.heihei.nz
The launch event was held at Whoa! Studios in Henderson - the perfect venue for the event. We were delighted to have Minister Clare Curran in attendance, who spoke very supportively of the venture and also Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft.
Feedback so far from kids and parents is overwhelmingly positive.
There are a few people to thank (in no particular order):
- The team at TVNZ led by Amie Mills who have developed and delivered a beautiful platform
- The content creators who have made such fine, engaging content
- The Health Promotion Agency, the first government entity who could see the vision, and co-ventured in HEIHEI’s healthy eating series Kai 5
- Dave Henderson at Whoa! Studios for hosting the launch
- The TVNZ publicity team for organising the launch
- The children who provided input along the way, and those who attended on Saturday and truly made HEIHEI a child-centred platform.
Check out the video of Miriam Dean our Chair, and Minister Clare Curran talking about the development and importance of HEIHEI:
Miriam Dean, NZ On Air Chair, and Minister Clare Curran talk about HEIHEI