CLBR Backgrounder: New Zealand


In connection with our interview of New Zealand Director Annie Goldson about her film “Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web,” we are providing some basic background about New Zealand and its ties to Hollywood.



New Zealand has a $3.2+ billion film industry.  Much of this is fueled by major film production which peaked at $816 million in 2014 and sparked by Peter Jackson’s filming of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.  Six of the twenty-five highest grossing films of all-time were filmed in New Zealand including #1 Avatar which will be back for sequel filming.

The impact of a single big-budget film can be huge.  The recently released Ghost in the Shell was filmed in Wellington and had a $60 million impact on the local economy.

The films also have fueled increased tourism to New Zealand.  The Hobbit trilogy alone contributed 18 percent of tourist traffic in December 2015.  Jackson paid homage to this influence in this middle-earth inspired safety video for Air New Zealand.

“Avatar” director James Cameron has also done a New Zealand travel promotional video.

New Zealand also has its share of domestic movie that have found success in the U.S.,  including last year’s acclaimed “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and the Oscar-nominated “Whale Rider”.  Below are trailers for both films along with hits  “Once Were Warriors”, “The World’s Fastest Indian” and “Boy.”

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