International Toy Company’s Humble Beginnings from Balloons Over Waikato

The strategic partnership of ZURU™ and Balloons Over Waikato has a lot of deep meaning for the company’s heads and founders, and Cambridge siblings, Mat, Nick and Anna Mowbray. The international toy company’s beginnings originated from Balloons Over Waikato, when Mat as a child of 11, won a competition run by the balloon festival where his model design was the only hot air balloon that actually flew.

By the following year, they were creating model kitsets of the winning hot air balloon, called “Airaloon”, from their garage and selling to event attendees.  They eagerly began door-to-door sales around New Zealand before spreading their wings into the international toy market.

ZURU™ has since flourished and now they employ over 400 people across their 10 global offices. Family owned and operated, ZURU™ is now one of the fastest growing toy companies in the world.  ZURU™ brands are distributed and marketed in 121 countries and their products can be found in almost all major retailers.

Innovation and fun is at the centre of all ZURU™ brands. One of their most impressive recent accomplishments was winning the prestigious Toy of the Year (TOTY) award in the Active/Outdoor Toy category for Bunch O Balloons. This innovative water balloon line enables you to fill 35 self-tying water balloons all at the same time and was a top seller over the New Zealand summer.

This is the 3rd year that ZURU™ has been in partnership with Balloons Over Waikato and are honoured to be named partner of the festival’s amazing ZURU™ Nightglow event, where the hot air balloons glow to orchestrated music finishing with an amazing fireworks display.

ZURU™ Bunch O Balloons is also hosting “12 days of ZURU” in partnership with The Hits Waikato, a local radio station, who will be giving away some  great ZURU™ products as a countdown to Balloons over Waikato.


Balloons over Waikato, Hamilton is held from March 22 to 26, with the ZURU™ Nightglow at the University of Waikato on Saturday March 25, Visit for festival information.

For more information on ZURU™ Toys visit