Which Movies Were Filmed in New Zealand?
It wasn’t just The Lord of the Rings that was filmed in New Zealand, you know. There is actually a lot of movies shot in New Zealand making NZ an awesome destination for movie buffs.
With outstanding scenery, the home of world-class directors, and a top production company, New Zealand is a movie buff’s dream. The capital city, Wellington, has been nicknamed Wellywood for its filming locations and for being the home of Weta a special effects and props manufacturer. See the set of Hobbiton in Matamata, the samurai village of the Last Samurai in Taranaki, and a piece of Narnia at Cathedral Cove.
1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Ok, let’s start with the obvious. The Lord of the Rings was entirely filmed in New Zealand the perfect landscapes to depict Middle-earth! Find out The Lord of the Rings filming locations in our guide: The Lord of the Rings Location Guide.
2. The Hobbit Trilogy
Again, if you didn’t already know this you must have been living in a hole much like a Hobbit. We’ve listed some Hobbit locations in 8 “The Hobbit” Locations you Can’t Miss.
3. The Chronicles of Narnia
The majority of the two Narnia movies were filmed in New Zealand. The most recognisable location is at Cathedral Cove, Coromandel. Find out about that and more awesome Coromandel locations in the 15 Coromandel Must-Dos.
4. King Kong
Kiwi director of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit also directed the 2005 remake of King Kong. Wellington was used to represent New York and Skull Island, while the famous Weta Workshop worked on the special effects.
Ok, so Avatar wasn’t shot in New Zealand as such but its special effects, props, conceptual design and costume were the work of the Weta Workshop and Weta Digital. The workshop is in Miramar, Wellington where you can go on a behind-the-scenes guided tour. What’s more, the sequels are being filmed in New Zealand.
6. The Piano
The Piano is set in the West Coast of New Zealand so what better place to shoot the movie than New Zealand? The promotion shot below, for example, is shot on Karekare Beach in Auckland.
7. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Again, Weta Digital is the team behind the animation of The Adventures of Tintin. You can learn more about the behind-the-scenes at the Weta Studios in Wellington.
8. 30 Days of Night
The Vampire horror flick was partially filmed in New Zealand. There are filming locations in the Otago region and Auckland.
9. The Last Samurai
The Taranaki region became Japan in The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise.
10. Whale Rider
The movie about a young Maori girl was filmed where the novel was set: Whangara.
11. The Frighteners
The comedy-horror The Frighteners was the first feature film where Peter Jackson and Weta worked in collaboration.
12. Vertical Limit
The thriller about climbing and falling from mountains was directed by New Zealander Martin Campbell. Filming took place in New Zealand, including the highest mountain: Aoraki Mt Cook.