Protesters among full houses for film that used Coromandel residents in battle tale

The battle to stop mining on the Coromandel Peninsula came close to civil war at times, so it's perhaps surprising it never inspired a movie - until now.

A crowd-funded, community-driven feature film about the subject had its world premiere in Te Puke at the beginning of the month, and opened in Auckland this week after showings elsewhere in the Bay of Plenty and on the Coromandel.

Its obscure title, The Z-Nail Gang, derives from the penchant for tyre-puncturing of the on-screen protesters who fight back when mining multinational Golia Minerals decides an open-cast gold mine would look good in the local bush.

Billed as "a feelgood comedic eco-drama with a conscience", the film deals in a broad humour - a mining boss in a Stetson is driven around in a stretch limo; a politician says "We're the Government, we don't listen to the people" - that at times undermines its claim to have its message taken seriously.


And its implication that a few punctures and a rap song will be enough to frighten off mining interests runs the risk of being seen as slightly naive.

But the film, directed by Anton Steel and produced by Kyle Dellabarca-Steel, has received full houses in the Bay and ringing endorsements from some of the Coromandel Watchdog veterans.

Erroll Shand, Tanya Horo, Vanessa Rare and Paul Barrett head the cast, many of whom are enthusiastic locals.

Where and when: In selected cinemas now.