The Goodnight Kiwi is an animated short which has been used to signal the end of nightly broadcasts on Television New Zealand channels. The Goodnight Kiwi features two characters: the eponymous Goodnight Kiwi (later also called TV Kiwi), and his companion, simply known as The Cat. The animation was introduced in 1975 on TV2, and used on South Pacific Television between 1976 and 1980. Between 1980 and 19 October 1994, the animation was screened again on TV2. This animation returned on 6 September 2007 for use on TVNZ 6 when the channel ends transmission at midnight. TVNZ U also used the Goodnight Kiwi at midnight before overnight service.

The short was animated by Sam Harvey (1923–2014),[1] with music arrangement by Bernie Allen and sound by Gary Potts.[2]

Plot and overview Edit

Three different clips have been used through time:

The first version of the clip was used when TV2 first signed off in 1975. In this version, the Kiwi was a director. The cartoon began with the Kiwi yawning in the director's chair. Kiwi wakes up the cat, while a few of broadcasting equipment move away. The Kiwi then goes to the back of the studio, cuts the power and turns on the outside lights. Then the Kiwi put the milk bottle and the cat outside, but without it knowing the cat goes outside again while Kiwi is waving to the audience. Following this, the Kiwi exits the studio, pulling down a shade revealing "GOODNIGHT FROM TV2". This version was thought to only exist in the form of small clips until TVNZ released it online for public viewing on 15 September 2016.[3]

The second version of the Goodnight Kiwi clip was used by South Pacific Television somewhere between 1976 and 1980 and saw the Goodnight Kiwi living in a television camera (his cat had disappeared). After dusting his camera, throwing a blanket on top of it, winking at the audience, and turning out the lights, the kiwi would close the side flaps on the camera and then the South Pacific Television logo (reading "GOOD NIGHT FROM SOUTH PACIFIC TELEVISION") would appear as the music faded out. This version was also thought to only exist in the form of small clips until TVNZ released this version to their YouTube channel on 4 November 2019.[citation needed] During transmission breakdowns, a still picture of the Goodnight Kiwi was often used, in poses including one of sweeping the floor and accidentally smashing one of the television monitors with a broom.[citation needed]

The third and most famous iteration appeared in 1980, and aired on both channels. The one-minute-long animation begins with Goodnight Kiwi and the Cat in the master control room. Kiwi shuts down the screens, and starts an audio cassette playing an instrumental arrangement of the lullaby "Hine E Hine" by Fanny Howie, this is accompanied by a continuity announcer bidding goodnight to viewers, Kiwi walks through the studio while Cat jumps and pulls faces into a camera. Kiwi turns out the lights, puts a milk bottle on the porch and locks the door, while the cat heads upstairs to the studio roof. The Kiwi follows and rides an elevator (presumably just after it had been used by the cat) to the top of a transmission mast. At the top, Kiwi covers himself in blankets (in which the cat was already curled up) and goes to sleep in a satellite dish with the Cat sitting on his stomach. The short closes with the words: "Goodnight from TELEVISION NEW ZEALAND".[citation needed]

There was a slight variation of the ending – from 1989 onwards, the Goodnight Kiwi was only seen on Channel 2 (TV1 adopted its own closedown sequence, featuring the National Anthem) and ended with a voiceover stating "it's goodnight from Channel 2" and displaying the Channel 2 logo. On 19th October of 1994, the last Goodnight Kiwi was broadcast on TV2.[4] On the next day, TVNZ started to broadcast for 24 hours on both TV1 and TV2, so there was no need to use the Goodnight Kiwi cartoon anymore. So it retired. The Goodnight Kiwi clip was used from 1980 to 1994 in its "first era". Later TVNZ revived the Goodnight Kiwi cartoon in 2007 and used to end programming on TVNZ 6 because the channel did not broadcast for 24 hours. The only difference between the original and the TVNZ 6 version was that the cartoon was displayed in 16:9, instead of 4:3, with some parts being cropped. There was also a lower third, which displayed at the end of the cartoon. Lower third displayed: "Goodnight from TVNZ 6".[citation needed]

This same cartoon was also used for TVNZ 7, which displayed this same version as TVNZ 6, but with lower third saying: "Goodnight from TVNZ 7". There was also a small alteration later on its final day, saying: "Goodbye from TVNZ 7". The Goodnight Kiwi was the last video ever played on this channel, as TVNZ 7 died with Kiwi's carry on June 30, 2012.[citation needed]

The animation, characters and music are regarded as part of New Zealand broadcasting culture and icons of kiwiana.[5]

Return of the Kiwi Edit

Eric Kearley, head of the TVNZ Digital Channel Launch team at the time, stated in a message board response that the Goodnight Kiwi would return to TV on Freeview on TVNZ 6 which began broadcasting on 6 September 2007 – a move which proved popular with New Zealand television viewers.[6] New Christmas animations featuring the Kiwi and Cat characters were introduced by TV One on 1 December 2008.[citation needed]

It was also the final clip played on TVNZ 7, with the message "Goodbye from TVNZ 7", before the station was shut down at midnight on 30 June 2012, and converted to TV One Plus 1 (now TVNZ 1 +1), a 1-hour delayed broadcast of TV One (now TVNZ 1).[citation needed]

In 2019, the Kiwi returned once more as a TV series. The Goodnight Kiwi Stories featured prominent New Zealanders – including PM Jacinda Ardern – reading children's books in English and/or te reo Māori to help kids get to sleep. The show is only available on TVNZ+ (formerly TVNZ OnDemand).[7]

In popular culture Edit

  • TVNZ referred to the Goodnight Kiwi character as TV Kiwi in its cartoon merchandise. TVNZ produced a variety of Goodnight Kiwi memorabilia in the 1980s, including the magazine TV Kiwi[8] and a book of short stories, TV Kiwi and the Cat.[9]
  • TVNZ 7 presenter Olly Ohlson used the name TV Kiwi for the character and occasionally performed a song 'The T. V. K. I. W. I.' on his afternoon show After School.[citation needed]
  • Clips from, and references to, the Goodnight Kiwi occasionally appear in locally produced television, including an advertisement for the Retirement Commission's website, in which a list of New Zealand's favourite logos appear in a group therapy session.[citation needed]
  • In 2004, composer Victoria Kelly wrote a solo piano piece inspired by this animation for Stephen de Pledge's set of 12 Landscape Preludes.
  • The Goodnight Kiwi was referenced in episode 3 of season 3 of Outrageous Fortune ("Most true, she is a strumpet").[citation needed]
  • The Goodnight Kiwi featured in a set of postage stamps entitled "A to Z of New Zealand", issued in 2008 by New Zealand Post to commemorate New Zealand's cultural heritage.[5][10]
  • The Goodnight Kiwi closedown clip is shown in the New Zealand movie Boy. The movie Boy was set in the year 1984; however, the Goodnight Kiwi clip shown was the version used on TV2 between 1989 and 1994 with the voiceover "Goodnight from Channel 2."[citation needed]

References Edit

  1. ^ "Goodnight Kiwi creator dies". Stuff. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Goodnight Kiwi". NZ On Screen. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Goodnight Kiwi (1975)". TVNZ Footage Licensing. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  4. ^ The Goodnight Kiwi - Holmes 18th October 1994, 30 November 2008, retrieved 14 August 2023
  5. ^ a b "A to Z of New Zealand in stamps". One News. 5 August 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  6. ^ TV fans applaud Goodnight Kiwi's return (+video) at
  7. ^ "Review: Kids' TV show Goodnight Kiwi is short but very, very sweet". 15 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Goodnight Kiwi (1976–94, 2007–)". Kiwi TV. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  9. ^ Williamson, Lyn (1984). TV Kiwi and the Cat. Madeline Beasley (illustrator). Auckland: TVNZ Enterprises. ISBN 0908690053.
  10. ^ "A to Z of New Zealand". New Zealand Post. Retrieved 7 December 2013.

External links Edit