The Buzzy Bee is a popular toy in New Zealand. It resembles a bee with rotating wings that move and make a clicking noise while the toy is pulled along the ground. Possibly based on an earlier American concept, it was designed and first produced in New Zealand in the 1930s, by Maurice Schlesinger. It became popular during the post-war baby boom. Its bright colours and clicking sound call are familiar to many New Zealanders, making it one of the most well-recognised items of Kiwiana. Since this time however, the Buzzy Bee has branched out into various merchandise including books, jigsaws and clothing.
It received a good deal of free promotion with the visit of The Prince and Princess of Wales in 1983 with their infant son, Prince William of Wales, who played with a Buzzy Bee.
As an iconic New Zealand symbol, the Buzzy Bee caricature was used on the keel of NZL84, one of Emirates Team New Zealand’s entrant yachts for the America’s Cup held in Valencia, Spain, in 2007.
In June 2007, plans were unveiled for a Buzzy Bee stage show “Buzzy Bee’s Big Day Out”. The company behind the show also revealed that they’d made an animated show reel and were finalising details of a distribution deal, and that they hoped to begin work on an animated series for television. The animated TV show Buzzy Bee and Friends has aired on TV2 from 2009.
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