New Zealand tamariki have much to be excited about, with just under $12.5 million in funding confirmed for a raft of new screen and music content including a new daily kids quiz show.

NZ On Air’s latest funding round has backed new and returning shows for broadcast on TVNZ 2, and for the funded ad-free children’s platform HEIHEI.

Something new to stimulate young brains is Brain Busters, to screen on weekday afternoons on TVNZ 2. The family-friendly show will pit 10-14 year olds against each other in games that will test their bodies and brains.

A live-action drama series, to be executive produced by Cliff Curtis, will be developed from the award-winning novel The Legend Of The Bone Tiki. Perennial favourite What Now also returns, as the show continues to take the fun out of the studio and to the kids, with live broadcasts from the road.

Ramping up pre-school content, factual series Code Fun will engage our youngest viewers with digital technology and robotics; Morgan Lives In A Rocket Ship will engage with a new 3D animated series; and the charming Darwin And Newts animation series extends to a third and final season.

Meanwhile on HEIHEI there’ll be seven entirely new projects for kids to explore, and five new seasons of projects that launched this year and delighted child and parent audiences.

Among the new content is Science On Ice, showcasing the importance of NZ’s work in Antarctica; a celebration of the popular K-Pop music genre will teach kids some cool new dance moves in K-Pop Academy, and a Rautaki Māori series that investigates the science, technology, engineering and mathematics behind traditional Māori practices, in Puta Mōhio.

A member of the What Now alumni, Jason Fa’afoi, returns to screens as he pairs talented young performers with well-known musicians to write and record an original song on the ukulele, in Uke Can Do It!, and it's ‘Scooby-Doo’ meets Māoritanga in a new animated mystery-adventure series set in early Aotearoa, in Island Of Mystery.

Along with 12 new music projects funded through the NZ On Air New Music Kids scheme, tamariki will have a tonne of new creative content that connects and reflects them.

“We place a lot of importance on funding content for young minds that will nurture and entertain them. We want our tamariki to grow up hearing our own accent, understanding te reo, and feeling comfortable with identifying as a New Zealander. This is what good public media for children can and should do,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

“We are very fortunate to have some of the best and most creative children’s media content creators right here in Aotearoa,” she continued.

Check out the list below for more details.

Funding details

For TVNZ 2

What Now 2020, 39 x 120 mins, Whitebait Productions, up to $3,253,000

Brain Busters, 150 x 25 mins, Whitebait Productions, up to $2,750,000

The Legend Of The Bone Tiki, 6 x 22 mins, Arama Pictures, up to $1,000,000

Darwin and Newts 3, 24 x 11 mins, Whitebait Productions, up to $1,000,000

Code Fun, 30 x 10 mins, Pickled Possum Productions for TVNZ 2, up to $498,863

Morgan Lives In A Rocket House, 26 x 7 mins, Fuzzy Duckling Media, up to $285,208


The Vloggingtons 2, 16 x 5 mins, Yoozoo, up to $496,639

Tumeke Space 1: Part 1, 5 x 22 mins, Mukpuddy Animation, up to $492,500

Young Riders 2, 24 x 8 mins, Greenstone TV, up to $475,742

K-Pop Academy, 8 x 15mins + 8 x 4 mins, Greenstone TV, up to $370,802

Island Of Mystery, 12 x 6 mins, Adrenalin, up to $360,291

Puta Mōhio, 20 x 9 mins, August & Waititi T/A Kokko Media, up to $340,766

Uke Can Do It!, 10 x 11 mins + 10 x 3 mins, Pop-Up Workshop, up to $299,609

The Drawing Show 2, 13 x 4 mins, Mukpuddy Animation, up to $260,000

Welcome To Cardboard City 2, 10 x 3 mins, Vinewood T/A Foundation Animation, up to $251,850

Yap-Trap, 15 x 2 mins, Peach Prison, up to $129,171

Science On Ice, 5 x 8 mins, Whitebait Productions, up to $120,000

Norbert and Mylo 3, 40 x 0.5 mins, Loud Mouth Productions, up to $71,270

New Music Kids

Songs For Bubbas Vol 3 LP, Anika Moa, Album and visuals, $10,000

Breathe and Pants, Captain Festus McBoyle, Songs and visuals, $10,000

St John series, Chris Sanders, Songs and visuals, $10,000

Little Wild Universe, Claudia Robin Gunn, Album and visuals, $10,000

Singing Author series, Deano Yipadee, Songs and visuals, $10,000

fleaBite Five LP, fleaBite, Album and visuals, $6,500

Slip Slip Slap and other tracks, Judi Cranston, Songs and visuals, $10,000

Magic In Me, Kath Bee, Song and visual, $5,760

Early Childhood Indie LP, Levity Beet, Album and visuals, $10,000

Back Yourself, Moe & Friends, Music video,$5,000

Suzy & Me EP, Suzy Cato, EP and visuals, $10,000

He Pōhutukawa, Takaro Tribe, Music video, $5,000