A Masters degree graduate from Waikato University is challenging Māori animators to create more original characters in their programmes that Māori children can relate to.
Kirstin Ross is of Ngāti Kahu descent and her presentation on the topic won top prize at Waikato University's 2015 Te Toi O Matariki Māori Graduate Conference.
She said she noticed after her daughter was born that all of the animation for pre-schoolers on Māori Television was from overseas and nothing was locally made.
Ms Ross said although efforts had been made, Māori animators need to produce cartoons that reflect Aotearoa.
"Especially the stuff that Pania Papa has done in the last few years with cartoons such as: Dora Matatoa, Sponge Bob Taraupoto Whā and Tima Umi Zoomi," she said.
"We've definately taken a step up in our animation that we are showing to our children.
"But, all I'm saying is that we need a dream - ki te kore he moemoeā ka hē te iwi - (if there are no dreams, then we're in trouble).
"We need to let our children dream of seeing themselves on TV, we need to show them things that are familiar to them."