The red carpet was rolled out in Te Puke as the stars of the town's first home-grown movie came out for its world premiere last night.

The Z Nail Gang, a movie about protesters who took on a mining company and won, was filmed in and around Te Puke and Paengaroa and was screened for the first time at Te Puke's Capitol Cinema last night. Cameras flashed as men in suits and ties, women in ball gowns and children in bow ties arrived at the premiere.

A crowd gathered excitedly around the red carpet waiting for the first glimpse of the show while passers-by stopped to take photos and ask about the commotion.

Three hundred guests walked the red carpet to witness the first public screening of the movie directed and produced by Pukehina-based couple Anton Steel and Kylie DellaBarca Steel.


Despite his nerves Mr Steel said he was thrilled by the community's response.

"It was kind of amazing driving up and seeing all these people standing around and realising it was for our film. Tickets have been in hot demand. There's been a lot of bargaining going on," he said. "It's a celebration of everyone that made this."

Mr Steel described the nine-and-a-half months it took to create the movie as a "crazy ride".

"It's beyond my wildest dreams," he said.

Mark Tugendhaft and Nedilka Radojkovich, the inspiration for the story, were excited to see the final product.

The couple and their children were behind the original mining protests in the Coromandel 20 years ago.

"It's really exciting and we can't wait to see it. We're really rapt that Anton's made this film about how communities can win," Ms Radojkovich said.

The timing of the release was perfect with the mining companies again making a bid to explore and drill off the country's coast, Mr Tugendhaft said.


Pongakawa School student Malachi White, 12, played the son of main characters Dave and Mareeka and was excited to finally see the finished product.

"I think it will be really, really cool," he said. "It was a great opportunity."

Long-time Te Puke resident Mike Carr was thrilled by the huge turnout last night.

"I haven't see the little town come together like this since we built the War Memorial Hall in 1960," he said.