Beautiful Auckland - Inspirational video in the time of COVID-19

Before the coronavirus, Auckland tourism leaders had been working on the production of a video extolling the beauty of their city. Now, with the virus among us, the video has been adapted to reflect on the times we are living in and the promise of a return to better days. For anyone planning a visit to New Zealand in the future, this video will inspire them to keep their dreams alive.

A video exploring Auckland, New Zealand's largest city that was created during the coronavirus lockdown has gone viral. 

It's titled Papatūānuku is Breathing (Mother Earth Is Breathing) and was produced by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).

The narrator is an 11-year-old child, who goes by the name of 'Manawanui Makiapoto Mills'.


"Stop. Listen. Papatūānuku (the earth mother) is breathing" she whispers.

Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) is still," Mills says, as she reflects on the peace and quiet that has fallen over the city since the virus changed the way we live.

"Our maunga (mountains) are standing strong. Our moana (ocean) is now louder than ever. 

Our tūī, our kererū (two of New Zealand native birds) now need not fight with the daily hum of our busy lifestyles," Mills continues.


New Zealand Tui.


 New Zealand kererū, or wood pigeon.

"Our people's waiata (music), normally loud and joyful, now soft and distant. Waiting for the right time to rise again."

Within just days of its release on social media, the video has amassed over half a million views from New Zealanders and people in Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. It's even been translated into French and Spanish by "inspired viewers".

The video was made to create a connection and message that reflects the region's unique Māori culture while using existing Auckland footage, ATEED GM Steve Armitage said.

"This is a time of rest, to take a moment to appreciate the stillness and the beauty of our region.

While international visitors are unable to visit our region at the moment, all of Auckland's wonderful experiences will be waiting for the world when the time is right.

We also hope the video is also encouraging for New Zealander's. The message is positive and calming, presenting through an entirely different lens the sacrifice people are making to prevent the spread of Covid-19. We hope it video provides a real boost to our communities and beyond.

We are grateful to all those who collaborated with us on this very special project and gifted us the use of their material.”

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the video is an inspiring depiction of Auckland’s beautiful natural environment.

“As we all play our part in the fight against COVID-19 by staying home and staying local, Papatūānuku (mother earth) is breathing is a heartening glimpse of what we have to look forward to when the lockdown is lifted and a showcase of what our city has to offer,” he said.

You can watch the video HERE.


Student group from the University of New Hampshire explore Whakatiwai, just an hour from Auckland.


The lighthouse at Auckland's Manukau Heads.


Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Apr 19, 2020