The local film production company behind Taylor Swift's Bethells Beach music video has apologised over concerns it disrupted nesting dotterel on the West Coast beach.
Cherokee Films released a statement tonight saying it accepted responsibility, but stressing that "no dotterel was harmed" during filming.
"Taylor Swift and her management team were in no way at fault and did not do anything that violated permits or ordinances," the company said.
Conservationists were upset after it emerged the film company may have breached its filming permits by taking up to 12 vehicles on to the beach, when it only had approval for two.
Permits are issued by Ateed.
The area has a protected zone for the nationally vulnerable dotterels, which nest in September and incubate their eggs for about a month, according to the Department of Conservation.
Cherokee Films confirmed it was filming at Bethells Beach on Monday and said a base camp was set up on private land which allowed for access to the beach.
"We had permission from the landowners and paid a fee for use of the land." It said the film crew adhered to the dotterel protocol at all times, following guidelines provided about the bird's nesting sites.
"At no time were the film crew close to that habitat," Cherokee Films said. "No dotterel were harmed."The filming occurred outside the dotterel breeding area, it said.
"Cherokee Films has a long history of responsible film shoots across Auckland, including Bethells Beach, where we have filmed many times. Our shoots have always been with the guidance and support of the relevant local authority - most recently Screen Auckland and Parks - and landowners.
"In acknowledgement of the concern this has added to those in charge of protecting local dotterel population, Cherokee Films will make a donation to the breeding program as we support your concerns. Cherokee Films is working with Screen Auckland to resolve this issue."
Waitakere Ranges local board chairwoman Sandra Coney expressed her concerns about the impact of filming on the birds on Facebook.
"We are trying to minimise vehicles on beaches for good reasons but at Bethells there are baby dotterels. We have developed a dotterel management plan as there is a heap of filming out there, and we welcome it as economic activity that should leave no footprint, but Taylor's lot did not respect the environment or the conditions of their consent."
The comment was followed by a backlash on social media. But a spokesman for Screen Auckland - part of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) - said he had been assured the crew did not go near the habitat of the dotterel, of which only about 1700 remain in New Zealand.
According to DoC, the newly hatched chicks look a bit like bumble bees with long legs, and become active soon after hatching. On the beach, their nests are easily destroyed by careless feet, dogs and off-road vehicles.
Young chicks, when disturbed, can die from exhaustion as they cannot eat in time or get to their feeding grounds at the water's edge.
Swift's management and record label did not respond to queries about the apparent permit breach.
Screen Auckland's Michael Brook said it was evident, based on the photo in the Herald, that there were more than the permitted number of vehicles on the site during the shoot.
The purpose of the permit application process was to minimise impact on public areas, he said, and in the 2014/15 financial year, Screen Auckland issued 543 Auckland Council permits for filming on public open spaces across the region.
Mr Brook estimated those productions were worth $130 million to Auckland's economy.
• Taylor Swift v baby dotterel