New Zealand Embassy Beijing, China

Creativity across all the arts

  • New Zealand’s artistic mastery and creativity have been highlighted throughout The Lord of the Rings trilogy, with New Zealanders working on the technology, the story direction, the costume design and the set design.
  • New Zealand’s creative sectors employ more than 50,000 people in New Zealand, and contribute 3.1% to the country’s GDP. The film and screen production industry has been the fastest growing creative sector, growing 164% between 1997 and 2001.
  • New Zealand’s television production industry is well known as the setting for a number of TV series’ including the Power Rangers, The Tribe, Xena and Hercules. It is also the brainchild of reality TV shows now repeated around the globe – The Chair was sold to more than 22 countries.
  • New Zealand’s television industry also excels in documentary making. NHNZ (formerly Natural History) in Dunedin is one of the world’s leading documentary makers. Its latest effort The Elephant Man is earning high praise.
  • New Zealand’s creative industry includes sectors such as web design and IT development, interactive media and special FX, artists, music, design, publishing and fashion – all of which are recording significant successes internationally.
  • The designer fashion industry is considered the nation’s flagship creative sector internationally. The Lord of the Rings star Liv Tyler shopped at Zambezi, Karen Walker and blossoming Wellington label Starfish.
  • Total New Zealand apparel exports are today $NZ260 million annually, on par with the wine export industry.
  • A major focus for the fashion industry in New Zealand is now the L’OrĂ©al New Zealand Fashion Week, held every October. Key international buyers and fashion media see what around 50 of the country’s top designers have created for the coming seasons.
  • Former The Lord of the Rings costume makers Miranda Brown and Annie Tatton are stamping their mark in mainstream fashion. Brown, one of New Zealand’s leading textile designers, has had her fabrics used by labels Liz Mitchell, Kate Sylvester and Zambezi.
  • Stansborough Fibres, a New Zealand designer knitwear company that made the magic cloaks in The Lord of the Rings, is now exporting their unusual grey Gotland wool and alpacas clothing to the United Kingdom, Italy, Scotland, USA, Canada and Australia.
  • The Jens Hansen Workshop in Nelson, founded in 1968 by the late Jens Hansen, a legendary contemporary New Zealand jeweller, made more than 30 copies of the ring to star in The Lord of the Rings.
  • New Zealand artisans made 48,000 prop items to create the unique culture of the Middle-earth. This included more than 10,000 prosthetic faces, 1800 pairs of hobbit feet and thousands of digital characters, made or mastered in Wellington.
  • Oscar winners and partners Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger began making their special FX in the back room of an old Wellington house, and in 1994 joined forces with Peter Jackson and Jamie Selkirk to form Weta to supply a special FX facility. Weta employs around 150 people for special projects, which have included The Frighteners, Heavenly Creatures, Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules.
  • Oktobor, another New Zealand visual effects, animation and post production studio that worked on The Lord of the Rings, was recently honoured in the 2003 Summit Creative Awards – an international competition recognising creative excellence.
  • New Zealand-authored books are cementing New Zealand’s creative reputation overseas. Fame today spreads across genres - from expatriate Kiwi and Bloomsbury femme fatale Katherine Mansfield, who immortalised New Zealand in her masterpiece stories At the Bay and Prelude, to the worldwide photographic search embodied in the M.I.L.K publications.
  • Kiwi novels are also making their way into the movies, with Maurice Gee’s In My Father’s Den the latest NZ-British co-production.
  • The Lord of the Rings composer Howard Shore recorded parts of the score for the movies with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra has since performed stand-out tribute concerts.
  • Singer-songwriters Bic Runga and Anika Moa have achieved highly sought after releases on US record labels. Hard-rock band Pacifier (formerly Shihad) released their new album in several foreign markets, while young rock bands D4 and The Datsuns have secured high profile releases in the UK.
  • New Zealand musicians are also updating indigenous sounds, mixing the rhythms of Polynesia with international styles like hip-hop, dance and electronica genres. Among indigenous artists making their mark internationally are Che Fu, King Kapisi, Nesian Mystik, Oceania and Moana and the Tribe.
  • New Zealand indigenous art is also revered around the globe. Recently a major exhibition of more than 20 Maori artists sold out at auction on the first day of a month-long exhibition in Canada. The Kiwa exhibition at the Spirit Wrestler Gallery displayed the works of more than 20 Maori artists in wood, ceramics, precious metals, weaving and mixed media.

Growing in acclaim are companies such as Formway Furniture, which sells its Life chair in more than 50 countries after wining best in show at the NeoCon trade fair, and David Trubridge, whose wooden moulded furniture has been a hit in Italy.

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