Te PukeWood, the tongue-in-cheek name for a serious bid to get more feature films made in Te Puke, has been backed by a movie maker with international credentials.

"It's a nice thought isn't it," Anton Steel said in response to Te Puke joining Bollywood and Wellywood to get a humorous spin-off tag for the world's movie making capital.

Mr Steel, who directed and was now editing the first feature film to be made in Te Puke, saw merit in the campaign by the Te Puke Economic Development Group to lure film makers to the area.

He said making The Z Nail Gang in Te Puke had brought home to him what a wonderful place it was to shoot a film. The light was really consistent and there was a big range of scenery all contained in a fairly small area.


Te Puke was blessed with the same qualities which made Auckland so popular with American film makers except that it was even more compact, he said.

"It would be wonderful to become a beacon for film makers."

Mr Steel said all the professional crew who donated their time to The Z Nail Gang were impressed at the beauty of the locations and how easy it was to shoot a film in the area. Everyone was also impressed with the huge support from the community and local councils.

"The performances were awesome and it looks great," he said of progress so far with the movie that he hoped would be accepted into this year's New Zealand Film Festival.

Mr Steel has been involved in the New Zealand and international feature film industry as a director, assistant director and producer for more than 16 years. His big name credits include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Bridge to Terabithia.

Te Puke EDG managing director Mark Boyle confessed that Te PukeWood was tongue-in-cheek although he did not discount the idea of a Hollywood-style sign going up if the campaign lured more movie makers to the area.

"First we had Hollywood, then Bollywood and Wellywood. It's time for Te PukeWood.

He said it was inspired by The Z Nail Gang which was made on a shoestring and drew people from all walks of life to contribute to its production. Te PukeWood also picked up on Te Puke's "Goodness Grows Here" branding being marketed in Australia and China.


Mr Boyle said Te Puke was infinitely more cost competitive compared with larger centres and its community values was why The Z Nail Gang managed to energise the community in only a few days.

"All of a sudden it came together, so why can't we promote all the values we have in Te Puke and see if it can attract other film makers."

Mr Boyle would be making representations to New Zealand film industry executives on the "Te Puke proposition".

It was easy to make a compelling case for the natural resources and easy access.