Local celeb-spotters were abuzz in November last year when it was rumoured that megastar Taylor Swift was in town to film a video for her latest single. The clip for Out of the Woods features a scantily clad Swift being pursued by wolves, creeping vines and emotional anguish in locations around New Zealand, including an alpine riverbed and a mountaintop.
The location, which features at the start and end of the video, is the southern end of Bethells Beach/Te Henga, on Auckland's West Coast. In a promo clip on the making the video, Swift describes it as "one of the most - not one of the most, the most beautiful beach I have ever been on in my life. It's so surreal - all of us are just freaking out over it."
Director Joseph Kahn said, "The entire video is basically Taylor is suffering through an emotional landscape of trees and forests and snow and water. All that is a metaphor but it's being done practically on location here in New Zealand."
Kahn, a prolific Tweeter, reported from set that Swift was "bad ass" for putting up with the cold and mud of the shoot, some of which was filmed on a soundstage.
The production came under fire for filming at the beach, with conservationists expressing concern about the rare New Zealand dotterels living there. Local production house Cherokee Productions made a donation to support the birds' breeding programme to mitigate the situation.
Swift was not the only international artist to make a music video in New Zealand last year; American rockers Imagine Dragons took time out while touring here to make a clip for their song Roots, which also featured a beach on Auckland's west coast, as well as the Kitekite Falls in the Waitakeres, Mt Victoria in Devonport and Vector Arena.
Where: Bethells Beach/Te Henga
As seen in: Taylor Swift's music video for Out of the Woods
Starring: Taylor Swift
Director: Joseph Kahn