More New Zealand Movies


Hunt for the Wilderpeople

With vast areas of untouched wilderness and breathtaking scenery and a booming filmmaking industry, many directors turn to New Zealand as a location for shooting movies. Some of the more notable and most famous additions include The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy and the Narnia movies. Here is a look at some other films made in New Zealand, some of which you may have already seen and not realised the filming location.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) - Directed by Taika Waititi, this charming comedy drama is based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump. The story follows two characters, “Uncle” Hector played by Sam Neill and Ricky Baker, a troublesome young boy without a family played by Julian Dennison, who become the targets of a manhunt after venturing into the wilderness, quickly spiralling out of control and escalating to an exaggerated yet hilarious chase scene towards the end. With plenty of stunning landscape shots and native New Zealand bush, as well as a plethora of heavy kiwi accents and slang, this movie has it's roots set deep in the land of the long white cloud. The movie scored 97% on the Rotten Tomatoes website and has become the highest grossing New Zealand movie, making over $12million NZD.
Black Sheep (2006) - Directed by Jonathon King, this over-the-top and utterly hilarious horror comedy film has gained a small cult following. Due to some genetic experiments gone wrong, the sheep of a family farm become carnivorous beasts who are capable of turning people into half human, half sheep monstrosities after administering a bite. The special effects were done by the people at Weta Workshop, who also contributed largely to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The film received largely positive reviews and multiple awards, including two prizes from the 2007 Gérardmer Film Festival, and the Best Dramatic Presentation at the 2008 Sir Julius Vogel Awards for New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy. The movie showcases some typical New Zealand countryside landscapes and farming culture, particularly among sheep, which greatly outnumber the human population of the country.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014) - Directed by Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords and Taika Waititi, this mockumentary horror comedy film scored 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and is now listed on the websites top 100 comedies of all time. The story follows a group of vampires who live in the country's capital, Wellington, and scour the vibrant nightlife for their victims. The successful reception of the movie has resulted in director Taika Waititi planning a spin-off series based on two minor police characters in the movie in addition to a movie sequel, and an American TV adaptation ordered by FX and set to premier in 2019. The clever blend of traditional vampire values and the contemporary nightlife culture of Wellington shows the capital city in a new light.
The Last Samurai (2003) - Directed by Edward Zwick, this Hollywood movie featuring Tom Cruise has gained international recognition. The movie was actually not filmed in Japan, but in the Taranaki region of New Zealand. This is because Mt Taranaki resembles Mt Fuji as a stratovolcano, and also because there is dense forest surrounding the mountain which closer resemble ancient Japan than the towering metropolis cities that surround Mt Fuji today. While some shots were filmed in Kyoto and Himeji, the majority was filmed in New Zealand.
Whale Rider (2002) - Based on the novel of the same name by Witi Ihimaera and directed by Niki Caro, this movie dives deep into indigenous Maori culture. The plot follows a twelve year old Maori girl who wishes to become the chief of her tribe, but due to the tribe's traditions and her grandfather's beliefs, is denied the role due to her gender. The uplifting tale of family, determination and New Zealand culture has been well received, and it has a rating of 90% on the Rotten Tomatoes website. The novel is set in Whangara, which also became the filming location for the movie. After it's release the lead actress, Keisha Castle-Hughes, became the youngest nominee for the Academy Award for Best Actress, but was later surpassed.


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