Movie Stars Travel to New Zealand

In recent years, New Zealand has become a hot spot for movie-makers who make the trip to take advantage of the amazing scenery that they can use as backdrops. Filming is about to start on the latest of these, the new Disney film 'A Wrinkle in Time'. The movie's star Reese Witherspoon arrived last week for a pre-filming holiday, with Mindy Kaling & Oprah Winfrey. And they're having a ball !!!
Stars in New Zealand

We found some photos on Instagram and the local press that indicate they are having a great time. 

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Reese in packing mode before she departed the US

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Reese finds a new friend and hangs out with Oprah and Mindy

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Reese and Mindy jump for joy while enjoying the views of Lake Wakatipu, South Islandoprah-nz.jpg#asset:5328:url

Oprah on her way to work this morning


Our New Zealand Vacations Blogs have noted the growing number of movies being filmed in New Zealand. These include 'The Light Between Oceans', 'Pete's Dragon''Hunt for The Wilderpeople''James Cameron, Movie Director' and our mystery 'New Zealand Actor' blog.

For more about movie making in New Zealand, movie buffs will enjoy this article by writer Cheska Bennett as published in Nomads

Movies, New Zealand

"Since Peter Jackson made unprecedented success in Hollywood with his New Zealand films (Lord of The Rings are three of them in case you're from Mars), New Zealand has been placed firmly on the map as the perfect film location, which in turn has done huge things for New Zealand tourism.

Here I have compiled a list of ten of the top films filmed here in New Zealand (in no particular order):

1 Wolverine (2009) - Filmed in the Otago and starring the beautiful Hugh Jackman. Sadly, Jackman's incredible body may have been overshadowed the Otago scenery, however, this gives us the perfect excuse to watch it again.

2 The World's Fastest Indian (2005) - a combination of three killer elements here. A true story about New Zealander Burt Munro from Invercargill, starring my favourite actor Anthony Hopkins, and filmed on the gorgeous black sand shores of Muriwai Beach, 42km from Auckland City.

3 Mauri (1988) - The first feature film from Merata Mita who is well known for her political views and advocate for change, thanks to her traditional Maori upbringing. It was also the second ever feature film to have a female Maori director. The film is a discussion on racism and birthrights within a rural community. It may not be a Hollywood blockbuster but it is still an important film about New Zealand and Maori history.

4 Black Sheep (2006) - Awesome and hilarious light relief comedy horror filmed in Wairarapa and Wellington. The film isn't really made to showcase New Zealand's beautiful landscape but is still a worthwhile mention.

5 Lord of the Rings - The Trilogy (2001-2003) - Had to be mentioned otherwise I may have had a serious backlash, these films have created a whole sub-industry within New Zealand tourism, with tours focused on taking you to all the stunning New Zealand film locations. 

6 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2005) - The film is nowhere near as good as the book but the cinematography and scenery is stunning, thanks to filming locations including Flock Hill - Canterbury, Purakaunui Bay - Otago and Auckland City.

7 Rainbow Warrier (2002) - tells the true story of the bombing and consequent sinking of the Greenpeace ship about to set sail to protest against nuclear testing in France. It's a film that provokes thought, especially in this day and age, and makes you see Auckland Harbor in a different light.

8 Without a Paddle (2004) - Pay attention in this film as it is a walking advertisement for New Zealand's North Island. Film locations include Taupo, Rotorua, Wanganui, Waikato and Wellington. It is also a good backpacker hangover comedy.

9 Whale Rider (2002) - Famous outside of New Zealand for being 'that New Zealand film that won awards', Whale Rider showcases some of the North Island's most stunning coastline, most notably, Whangara on the Gisborne coastline, east coast of New Zealand.

10 The Piano (1993) - Many would be surprised to know that this film offers viewers the best that Auckland has to offer, including both KareKare and Piha beach.

If you're currently in New Zealand and fancy some movie star spotting, then there seem to always be film stars somewhere in the country filming something. Also, keep your eyes peeled when travelling around New Zealand as you could well be standing on some of the famous film locations from your favorite films."

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Feb 16, 2017