The Bay of Plenty has been visited by Los Angeles-based film studio executives scouting the region for potential filming locations.

Eight executives representing heavyweights such as HBO, Netflix, Apple TV, Universal Studios, Annapurna Pictures, Legendary Television and Fremantle Media spent two days visiting locations around wider Bay of Plenty as part of a screen famil.

It was organised by film industry group Screen Experience Trust NZ in partnership with the New Zealand Film Commission and Air New Zealand, and was facilitated by Bay of Plenty Film.

The famil aimed to show Hollywood executives the range of filming locations, infrastructure and experienced crew available for international projects in New Zealand.


Executives were shown the Rotorua Redwoods, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Kawerau industrial district, Otarawairere Bay, Maketū Peninsula, Mount Maunganui and Whakaari (White Island).

Mauao. Photo / File
Mauao. Photo / File

The executive vice president of production at Fremantle Media, who requested not to be named, said New Zealand offered a unique array of landscapes that could double as almost anywhere.

"This was eye-opening to me, I knew of the physical beauty but wasn't aware of how diverse the cities are. The depth of crew and facilities makes New Zealand an obvious choice for any TV series."

Bay of Plenty Film chief executive Anton Steel said he had great feedback directly from the group during the trip.

He said the executives were blown away - figuratively not literally - by Whakaari and also by the wide range of "amazing" accessible locations available within a short travel time within the Bay of Plenty.

As a result of the tour, Steel has lined up meetings in Los Angeles.

Tourism Bay of Plenty head of destination marketing Kath Lowe said a film studio in the region would bring business and exposure to the area.

The Bay was an ideal location for a film studio as there was a contrast of scenery within a small area, she said.


Lowe said the Bay was "highly regarded" internationally following the release of 2016 film Pete's Dragon, which featured scenes shot at McLaren Falls.

Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said the visit was a "great opportunity and a good sign" for the industry and young people in Tauranga looking to build a career in film.

He said it was a matter of waiting to see if the visit was progressed into action.

"The proof will be in the pudding."