The Bay of Plenty could become the backdrop for future movies with three international movie location scouts visiting the region.

The American scouts arrive next week for a four-day tour of the Bay, visiting locations around Tauranga, Whakatane, Rotorua and Taupo.

Lori Balton, Dow Griffith, and Kent Matsuoka were invited by Bay of Plenty Film, which is involved in a regional film forum named Te Ata. The scouts' itinerary includes a presentation at Otamarakau Marae on May 5.

Their itinerary includes visits to White Island, Mt Tarawera, the Redwoods' Tree Walk, Aratiatia Rapids, the Chateau and Mt Ruapehu, McLarens Falls, Mount Maunganui, Maketu and Kawerau Mercury Energy Powerstation.


Bay of Plenty Film chief executive Anton Steel said the group hoped to impress the scouts with the diverse features of the region, all available within short travel distances of each other.

"Nowhere else can a film shoot snow-capped mountains, glistening lakes, desert roads, prehistoric forests, live volcanoes, and expansive beaches, not to mention cosmopolitan bustling cities, all within two hours' travel time," he said.

"These scouts believe in not only researching world-class locations but also giving back to the industries that host them, which is why their last day will be spent meeting and working alongside the Bay's screen media industry at the inaugural Bay of Plenty Film's Film Forum, Te Ata."

Tourism Bay of Plenty's Kath Low said Bay of Plenty Film did a fantastic job of showcasing the region.

"This region has already experienced the opportunities and benefits from movies being shot here – the most recent being Pete's Dragon," Low said.

"The work Anton is doing will reinforce to the international film fraternity that this is a region rich in natural assets and easily workable film-sets. What we know from working closely with Tourism New Zealand is that the scenes shot during Pete's Dragon at McLaren's Falls were the most favourable of those shot throughout New Zealand (as tested internationally).

"They love the bush scenes, lakes and waterfalls."

Low said the group might also add a historic village, street art, café scenes and beaches into the locations on show.

The scouts:
Lori Balton: Winner of four California on Location Awards. Works include The Lion King (2019), Dumbo (2019), Godzilla (2019), Hot Wheels (2018), Jungle Cruise (2018), A Wrinkle in Time (2018), War for Planet of the Apes (2017), Pirates of the Caribbean (2017).

Dow Griffith: Works include Mulan (2020), Ghost in the Shell (2017), The Promise (2016), After Earth (2013), The Bourne Legacy (2012).

Kent Matsuoka: Works include Bumblebee (2018), The Nun (2018), Under the Silver Lake (2018), and War for Planet of the Apes (2017).