I remember the first movie set I visited.

It was at Whakamaru Reserve and the movie was the Hollywood film Yogi Bear, which had a cast that included Anna Farris, Tom Cavanagh and the voices of Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake.

I remember being excited at the thought that this area I had visited many times before had been transformed into a Hollywood movie set, with Cavanagh and Farris walking around the area, and would be showcased around the world.

New Zealand's picturesque sites are often showcased via the movie industry and our own McLaren Falls has even been the backdrop of scenes shot during Pete's Dragon in recent years.


This site, and others around the Bay of Plenty, could soon be showcased in in future movies with three international movie location scouts set to visit the region.

The American scouts arrive next week for a four-day tour of the Bay, visiting locations around Tauranga, Whakatane, Rotorua and Taupo including White Island, Mt Tarawera, the Redwoods' Tree Walk, Aratiatia Rapids, the Chateau and Mt Ruapehu, McLaren Falls, Mount Maunganui, Maketu and Kawerau Mercury Energy Powerstation.

Having a sense of familiarity with films can make the watching experience even more enjoyable.

Having taken my children to America last year, they loved being able to recognise landmarks on the West Coast as those they had seen in movies. Now, whenever they watch a new film they keep an eye out for any other places that look familiar to them, sparking an in-depth conversation about what they did there and what they remembered about the place.

Let's hope these location scouts pick out some of our beautiful areas as the next backdrop for the next big movie so that millions of people around the world can see what we get to every day — and give children the opportunity to find a link with a place so far away from them.