12 / Buzzy Bee

A small pull-along toy, born in an Auckland wood-turning factory in the late 1930s, is probably this country’s favourite piece of kiwiana. With its bright colours, quivering antennae, rotating wings and clackety-clack sound, it proved popular with the post-war baby boomer generation. While it was once rumoured to have been based on an American toy, recent research suggests that the Buzzy Bee is a New Zealand original, designed by Maurice Scheslinger. Its popularity and kiwiana status were guaranteed by a royal appointment in 1983, when it was presented to six-month-old Prince William in Auckland. As an iconic New Zealand symbol, a caricature of the Buzzy Bee was used on the hulls of the Emirates Team New Zealand boats for the America’s Cup campaigns in 2007 and 2013.

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