Let’s talk about some films you may know, or be surprised, that actually were shot on location right here in New Zealand! Although, if you have been here before, you may not find it so hard to believe after all. At the end of this post, I’ll even let you know how you can visit some of the film sets and locations. OK, let’s get started!
Beloved children’s book series are often filmed here. There are so many places around New Zealand that look like they are right out of a fantastical world and that makes it a dream for location scouts. It has also helped that some world-class directors who have made these films are from here as well: people like Peter Jackson and Andrew Adamson, kiwis both, often return to shoot on location. In addition to The Lord of the Rings movies, The Hobbit Trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia films all were shot here. So was the Pete’s Dragon remake.
The film The Piano was set in the West Coast, so that’s where they filmed it. Some of the most iconic shots from the movie were shot right on Karekare Beach in Auckland. And, if you’ve ever appreciated the amazing scenery in The Last Samuri, you might be shocked to discover you were not seeing some remote area of Japan. In actuality, it was shot in the Taranaki region of New Zealand!
For horror fans, you may not know this, but parts of 30 Days of Night were shot in Auckland and the Otago region. Peter Jackson also shot the comedy-horror flick The Frighteners here, too. And when Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell wanted to do a reboot of their classic Evil Dead movie in 2013, they chose to shoot here in Auckland!
Speaking again of Peter Jackson, he also chose to shoot his King Kong remake here. You may be thinking, but there are so many famous scenes from New York in that movie! Yes, it is true, although Jackson had help from one of the best effects studios in existence, Weta.
And now that we are on the subject of Weta, I have some news for you. You may never have heard of them specifically, but you will know their work. They were the creative force behind the movie Avatar. Everything from the character design, props, costumes, and even the special effects were handled through Weta’s Workshop and Digital branches (and the sequels are also being filmed here). They also handle the digital animation for The Adventures of Tintin.
If you are interested to see the locations of different movies or TV shows, there are companies who do tours. They are easy to set up, and you can start your quest at here: https://www.tourism.net.nz/region/-new-zealand/tours/film-and-theme-tourssite. If you’re just interested in a list of the films shot here, you can check the Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Films_shot_in_New_Zealand for a really good alphabetical listing.