When you think of movies that have been filmed in New Zealand, you’re automatically drawn to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ right? Well it may come as a surprise to find out that plenty of Hollywood blockbusters have borrowed the land of the long white cloud for their filming duties. Check out the list below!
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1) King Kong
Peter Jackson, who also directed The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, returned to New Zealand to film 2005’s global success ‘King Kong’. New York was replicated in Wellington’s lively Lower Hutt, while both Shelly Bay and Lyall Bay were used to bring Skull Island to life.
2) The Piano
Local screen legend, Sam Neill, stars in the thrilling movie about a young woman’s search to regain her beloved instrument, while showcasing Auckland’s own KareKare and Piha Beach. Fun fact: Kiwi actress Anna Paquin won an Oscar for her role in this movie at the age of 11, making her the second youngest recipient ever to receive an Academy Award.
3) The Hobbit / The Lord of the Rings
Everybody knows about this one, right? The epic trilogy of Frodo Baggins taking on the Dark Lord to destroy the ancient ring, taking over 274 days to film. Peter Jackson even constructed an entire movie set specifically for the films, now called Hobbiton, which you can read more about here.
4) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The adventures of four siblings who find themselves transported into another realm was brought to life on the shores of New Zealand. Filming occurred in both the North and the South Islands in Auckland, Canterbury and Purakanui Bay!
5) The Last Samurai
Ever thought Mount Taranaki held a strange resemblance to Mount Fuji? Well, so did Edward Zwick when he cast Tom Cruise to lead Japanese warriors to battle in The Last Samurai. The fields and plains of the Uruti Valley were used to emulate life during feudal Japan and captured the era perfectly.
6) Vertical Limit
New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki, Mount Cook, was the setting for the thrilling movie about a climber who decided to ascend the highest snow peaked mountain in existence. The movie was also directed by Kiwi Martin Campbell!