New Zealand Embassy Beijing, China

New Zealand film

  • More than 150 feature films have been made in New Zealand since 1977. Filmmakers worldwide are drawn to what UK newspaper film critic Ian Nathan described in the The Times as “the hottest movie-making country in the world."
  • The American Film Institute described New Zealand cinema as “one of the wonders of the world, an unparalleled success story."
  • Filming takes place from one end of New Zealand to the other - mountains and fiords, rainforests and lush farmland, magnificent lakes and bubbling mud pools, sandy beaches and craggy coastlines can be found within a few hours.
  • The Lord of the Rings was filmed in more than 150 locations all over New Zealand – a country roughly the size of Colorado, Britain or Japan. The Express on Sunday was equally impressed: “If locations were awarded Oscars, New Zealand would scoop the lot."
  • New Zealand has since doubled for the US, Canada, India, Asia and even ancient Greece. Hollywood blockbuster Vertical Limit was shot in the Southern Alps, which closely resemble the Himalayas.
  • Taranaki was chosen to double for Japan in the 1870s for Tom Cruise’s latest Hollywood feature film The Last Samurai. Film New Zealand worked with regional film promotion organisations to persuade Hollywood director Ed Zwick to shoot in New Zealand.
  • Indian movie producers have also discovered the secrets of New Zealand, shooting more than 70 Bollywood feature movies in New Zealand in the past few years. A key to New Zealand’s attraction has been KURAN New Zealand, a family-owned business base in Christchurch.
  • New Zealanders, rate first-equal with Australians (outside the US) as the top movie-going public – seeing on average 4.5 movies a year.
  • New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Helen Clark, is a major film industry fan. Also the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, she elevated responsibility for The Lord of the Rings to ministerial level and allocated a budget to promote New Zealand as home of Middle-earth.
  • Further international film and television makers are being encouraged to come to New Zealand through expenditure grants from the New Zealand Government. Large budget film and television productions receive a 12.5% production expenditure grant if production costs exceed $NZ50 million, or if at least 70% of the production's budget (between $NZ15 - 50 million) is spent in New Zealand.
  • The New Zealand Government already provides about $100 million a year to the New Zealand film and television industries.
  • The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is making King Kong in New Zealand, and New Zealand director Andrew Adamson (Shrek) is looking to film C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • New Zealand is also known for its own home-grown movies. South Pacific Pictures’ Whale Rider set in a beautiful remote Maori community on the East Coast of the North Island claimed the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, and several other major international awards.
  • Rain, the first feature by Kiwi director Christine Jeffs, also earned acclaim around the world. The Price of Milk won the Tokyo Fantastic Film Festival grand prize and best film award at the Korean Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.
  • Jane Campion’s The Piano made New Zealand film history winning three Academy Awards in 1994.
  • New Zealand also boxes above its weight in providing movie talent to the world. Oscar winners Russell Crowe and Anna Paquin head the list of Hollywood’s Kiwi stars with Lucy Lawless of Xena: Warrior Princess fame and Sam Neill.
  • Temuera Morrison (Never Say Die, Once Were Warriors, Speed 2: Cruise Control) is an actor of Maori descent making an impact on world screens, while Lee Tamahori is a world-renowned director (Die Another Day, Once Were Warriors) and Kiwi writer/director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, The Truman Show) is also a well-known name in Hollywood.
  • More than 30,000 people are employed in film and television production in New Zealand. There is also no demarcation between the crew roles – so a lighting person can help a grip.
  • New Zealand technicians are famous for their innovations and will use alternative techniques - lowering costs for film companies. The art department on Xena recycled material from packing companies rather than buy new timber.
  • New Zealand has also gained a reputation for making award winning television commercials. Commercials have been made here for Kodak, Bank America, Peugeot, Lexus, BMW and Audi.
  • It is also leading the world in television documentary-making. Dunedin-based television production company NHNZ (formerly Natural History New Zealand) has secured an $11 million co-production agreement with the National Geographic Channel. Footage is being shot in 16 countries by 21 production teams.
  • New Zealand production costs are significantly more cost-effective than in Australia and Canada - a direct result of the flexible, deregulated New Zealand environment. The exchange rate is extremely favourable and New Zealand borders are non-restrictive.

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