Truckers on roll with film boom

By Susan Edmunds

Movie industry supporters honoured.

McKinney and Smith. Photo / Supplied
McKinney and Smith. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand's booming film industry is giving a boost to an expanding truck rental firm in Auckland.

Jason McKinney and Peter Smith, owners of North Harbour Rentals, are featured in a Film New Zealand ad campaign highlighting how New Zealanders in other industries helped in the production of The Hobbit films.

Their business kits out trucks for use on film sets, as mobile wardrobe and makeup studios.

Two years ago, North Harbour Rentals acquired Cinema Services, one of two Auckland companies providing film crews with the specialist trucks.

McKinney had previous experience in fitting out trucks for film and TV and North Harbour Rentals started acquiring trucks and fitting them out from scratch.

Film trucks make up about 25 per cent of the firm's workload.

McKinney, rentals film services manager, said their work for the film industry had allowed the company to invest in new vehicles and enabled them to increase the size and quality of their fleet, which now included 15 makeup and nine wardrobe trucks.

The business employed nine staff.

It costs at least $150,000, plus the cost of the vehicle, to create a makeup truck. The film crews then pay a monthly rent.

McKinney said it would usually take at least a couple of months to fit out a truck with hand basins, power points, mirrors and lights.

But the call came in for The Hobbit at short notice. "We built them over the Christmas period. We had contractors crawling all over each other."

McKinney said business was expanding rapidly.

Once the firm had built relationships with the film industry, it tended to keep coming back. "We follow them from job to job."

North Harbour Rentals has a branch in Albany but McKinney said it was planning to open branches around New Zealand.

Film New Zealand chief executive Gisella Carr said the organisation was trying to recognise the input ordinary New Zealanders and their businesses had in the film industry.

"It took more than cast, crew and producers to make The Hobbit trilogy happen. It took a huge supporting role from everyday New Zealanders like Jason and Peter, who did their jobs with enthusiasm and great skill."

- Herald on Sunday

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