Goodnight Kiwi (partially found New Zealand TV animated sequences; 1975-1980)
This article has been tagged as Needing work due to its lack of references and the author writing about him/herself in the "Status" section of the article.
A frame from the start of the 1975 version of the Goodnight Kiwi sign-off. Here, the Kiwi is sitting in his directors' chair.
Status: Found (1975 version)
Incomplete (1976-1980 version)
Date found: 14 Sept '16 (1975 version)
Found by: TVNZ
During the 1980s and 1990s, New Zealand television stations One and TV2 would sign off every night with a cartoon of a kiwi (New Zealand's national bird) signing off a TV station, turning off his console, exiting the studio and going to sleep in the television station's satellite dish. However, the sign off's history goes further back to the mid-1970s, before One and TV2 would become a part of TVNZ. Sometime around 1975, TV2 management had noticed that Australian TV station ATN-7 had been signing off with a cartoon of a kangaroo putting her baby to bed every night. Amazed at the uniqueness of the sign-off, management decided to hire then 53-year-old Sam Harvey, a former Disney animator, to animate a cartoon of a kiwi doing something similar to its Australian counterpart. The Goodnight Kiwi would become a national icon of New Zealand, being used nightly in their government-run TV network's sign-offs from June 1975 until the last station went fully 24/7 in October 1994.
The initial version of the Goodnight Kiwi premiered on TV2 sometime in 1975. In this version, the kiwi was a director. Instead of going to sleep in a satellite dish, the kiwi gets out of his chair, races his cat to a power switch, cuts the power to the studio, exits the studio, and pulls down a shade over the exit door's window that states "Goodnight from TV2". Until it was publicly released in September 2016, it was unknown what happened after Kiwi cut the power to the studio.
When TV2 changed to South Pacific Television in 1976, a new version of the Goodnight Kiwi cartoon was animated. This time, the kiwi was far smaller, and the cat was nowhere to be seen. In this version, the kiwi dusts his television camera, then proceeds to go inside the camera, set his alarm clock, and go to sleep in it. This version was used on South Pacific Television all the way up to 1980.
In February 1980, South Pacific Television would once again revert to TV2, which meant the cartoon had to be updated once again. However, unlike the previous two versions, One would also pick up the cartoon to be used for their sign-off. This is the most well-known version of the cartoon and is available on YouTube. Many VHS recordings of the sign-off have been uploaded to YouTube, and TVNZ themselves have uploaded a copy to their On Demand service.
However, the other two versions of this sign-off were not as fortunate. No full versions of either of these versions were made available for several decades. Clips of the initial TV2 version of the sign-off appeared in an October 1994 episode of news show Holmes, as well as the 2009 C4 special, Rocked the Nation 2: Top 100 Pop Culture Stories. Clips of the South Pacific Television version of the sign-off also appeared in said Holmes episode.
For many decades, the likeliness of a fan-recording of the first version of the Goodnight Kiwi was less than likely, as VHS and Betamax would not be released until the late-1970s, and the U-Matic was a rather costly recorder that the average joe couldn't afford. However, a black and white photograph taken from a television set of a 1978 airing of the South Pacific Television version of the cartoon has surfaced online, and the Television New Zealand Archive at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, one of New Zealand's largest media archives, lists that they have digital copies of all three versions of the Goodnight Kiwi.
In 2005, Joseph Pasteris, an American television enthusiast, was researching television sign-offs throughout the world when he discovered the Goodnight Kiwi. Amazed by the idea of a television station signing off the air with a cartoon every night instead of station information and the national anthem as was typical in his own country, Pasteris opted to research the Kiwi more and obtain more information. Soon, Pasteris discovered there were earlier versions of the Goodnight Kiwi, and was disappointed by the lack of further information or footage of the aforementioned earlier versions.
As the years went by, New Zealanders began to upload clips of the earlier versions of the Goodnight Kiwi that had been shown in news programs such as "Holmes" and "Newsnight". Pasteris quickly learned of this, and began to privately produce reconstructions of the earlier versions, such as a 2011 private reconstruction that combined the footage shown in the news programs with title cards describing the missing footage sourced from transcripts and descriptions of the earlier footage that was provided at the time by the New Zealand Film Archive.
Pasteris abandoned the search in 2012, after recovering the footage seemed hopeless to him without traveling halfway across the globe to Wellington to view it at one of New Zealand's media libraries. However, Pasteris' motivation to continue the search would return a few years later, after interest in the sequences slightly grew in the Lost Media Wiki community.
As a result of this, in early-August 2015, Pasteris filed a public request form for a copy of the South Pacific Television version of the sign-off. Several days later, he received an email from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision stating that they were not authorized to make any copies or publicly release their copy in any way due to the fact that TVNZ holds the copyright for the production. After deciding to wait for a little over a year to see what would happen, Pasteris sent another request to Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision about publicizing the footage. Several days later, Ngā Taonga responded with details on how to contact TVNZ to license and acquire archival footage.
On September 14th, 2016, after nearly a month of waiting after contacting TVNZ's Footage Licensing department, TVNZ responded with a link to an upload of the 1975 version of the Kiwi. Pasteris opted to upload the footage to his own YouTube channel (which was soon removed after TVNZ claimed copyright on it, although TVNZ would soon allow future uploads afterwards), which further ignited interest in the South Pacific Television version of the Kiwi. Unfortunately, after TVNZ took down Pasteris' YouTube upload of the short and threatened legal action, the relationship between TVNZ and Pasteris fell apart, with the former refusing to continue searching for the requested material. Feeling hopeless, Pasteris abandoned his efforts for a second time, appreciating the fact he was able to recover one of the two missing versions.
Several failed attempts to renew relationships between TVNZ and Pasteris failed before the latter opted to contact Ngā Taonga once again in January 2019 regarding the South Pacific Television version. A month later, Pasteris received a response that the television archivists had received his request and that work was being done to share the requested material. As of March 1st, 2019, the footage has not yet been uploaded, and Pasteris hopes to have the footage publicly available in the coming weeks.