Demolition begins on Waitaki sets of failed film, Kingdom Come

What was to be a Sea of Galilee fishing village and harbour at Falstone Camp is demolished by Paul Smith Earthmoving employees at Lake Benmore. Photo / Hamish MacLean, Otago Daily Times
What was to be a Sea of Galilee fishing village and harbour at Falstone Camp is demolished by Paul Smith Earthmoving employees at Lake Benmore. Photo / Hamish MacLean, Otago Daily Times

A Timaru contractor has been given the task of shepherding two Waitaki film sets to their final resting place - the landfill.

Paul Smith Earthmoving won the contract for the demolition of the sets for the scrapped biblical film Kingdom Come at Falstone Camp and Elephant Rocks after the law firm representing film company South Vineyard approached the Waitaki District Council in May and formally informed the council ''they were unable to make'' the proposed $180million movie, which stalled with the global financial crisis, ''and that also they were unable to remove the site-works themselves'', council recreation manager Eric van der Spek said.

Part of the Kingdom Come set before demolition started. Photo / Erik Van Der Spek, Otago Daily Times
Part of the Kingdom Come set before demolition started. Photo / Erik Van Der Spek, Otago Daily Times

The independent film about the life of Jesus, which had been tipped to employ up to 400 people, was scheduled to begin filming at the beginning of 2009.

Lake Benmore was to stand in as the Sea of Galilee, and the set at Falstone, the larger of the two sets, including up to 100, largely spray-painted polystyrene, facades, to stand in for the stone, 3000-year-old fishing village Capernaum.

In 2008, the Otago Daily Times reported the set would be removed after filming and the site restored by the end of March 2009.

However, in mid-2009, the ODT first reported Kingdom Come director-producer Dean Wright rejected rumours the biblical epic had been abandoned and the sets would be dismantled.

And then three months later, that the film was ''in hiatus'' while the principal backers continued negotiations for funding with several key sources.

In January 2011, NZPA reported the film's abandoned set on Wellington's Miramar Peninsula had been handed back to the New Zealand Defence Force and dismantled.
The collapse of the film had cost creditors $5.8million.

Mr van der Spek said the council contacted ANZ, which released the South Vineyard bond of roughly $288,000 and the $240,000 contract was awarded.

The council had also collected a ''reasonable amount'' of rent from the company as it remained on the council-owned camping grounds.

The set at Elephant Rocks was on private property.

- Otago Daily Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 08 Dec 2016 18:10:51 Processing Time: 445ms