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New children’s media content to expand young minds

8 March 2019

NZ On Air is expanding the range of fun and educational interactive content and games for tamariki available on HEIHEI, the online platform created by TVNZ and NZ On Air for children’s content. The investment comes at a time of national discussion around the safety and well-being of children online.

The public media funding agency has just confirmed funding for nine new projects for HEIHEI’s safe, ad-free website and apps. All of the projects have strong cultural connection for tamariki.

In the March funding round NZ On Air called for applications for new games for primary aged children, receiving 29 excellent applications. Seven games have been selected for funding, covering a broad range of genres, and offer fun ways to learn and explore within uniquely NZ contexts.

In addition, through the Canada NZ Digital Media Fund* NZ On Air will support two further new projects for children: Bug Hunter! a web series and game which follows an entomologist as she compares and contrasts the insects of NZ and Canada and encourages children to explore and learn about bugs. And Kids Cookout, a webseries and game which will explore rich multicultural culinary traditions via backyard cookouts.

“Games are a great way to engage children’s brains with a wide range of content that stimulates and educates, but is genuinely fun. It is so important that young New Zealanders have quality content that reflects NZ and helps them understand the world they live in,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

“We are really excited by the response from tamariki to HEIHEI. It truly is a hub for children to explore and enjoy an ever-growing range of content in a safe environment. These investments are a solid contribution to the well-being of young New Zealanders,” Ms Wrightson continued.

NZ On Air will also soon reveal the outcome of an RFP to create a pilot Children’s News offering, an important new addition to the line-up for local children.

It will be one of six initiatives funded from the additional Crown funding provided in the May 2018 Budget. A successful proposal will be selected shortly with a tentative launch date for the new Children’s News service later this year.

*The Canada New Zealand Digital Media Fund, in its fifth year, is a collaboration between NZ On Air and the Canada Media Fund aimed at stimulating co-ventures between producers in both countries to create digital content that transcends borders.

Funding details:


I Spy, Resn for HEIHEI, up to $131,200
Kids race against the clock to find objects and animals within lively illustrated NZ scenes.

Tahi Two, Adrenalin Group for HEIHEI, up to $129,808
A memory game that helps to expand vocabulary and knowledge

Hoko Helper, Vanishing Point Studio for HEIHEI, up to $123,000
A meal/shopping game that teaches users financial literacy and healthy food choices

Riddle + Squizz Eye Spies Learning Game, RDYSTDY for HEIHEI, up to $149,962
A suite of educational toy-like interactions and activities with a focus on exploration and experimentation

Count My Cube, Metia Interactive for HEIHEI, up to $147,500
An educational puzzle game set in a zero-gravity 3D cubic world

Soundboard, Resn for HEIHEI, up to $132,020
A musical toy featuring local artists that allows children to experiment with music and beat creation

Flying Kiwis, Adrenalin Group for HEIHEI, up to $149,331
An arcade game featuring a Kiwi who has to jump and run from a predator

Canada NZ Digital Media Fund

Bug Hunter!, 12 x 8 mins + AR app + online game, The Gibson Group for HEIHEI, up to$220,000
An entomologist compares insects in NZ and Canada and encourages children to explore the bug world around them

Kids Cookout, 8 x 7 mins + game and recipe videos, CAB Productions for HEIHEI, up to $180,000
Children learn about diverse cultures through their foods and backyard cookouts


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