A Hawke's Bay screenwriter says the region has the potential to become a major film and television production destination, it just has never explored it.
Local group Eastern Screen Alliance have plans to transform the region into New Zealand's next big screen production destination.
They want everything from international productions to locally created stories to thrive.
Eastern Screen Alliance manager Patrick Sherratt said Hawke's Bay had the weather, food, and wine of California, just not the movie-making infrastructure.
"We have the destination but there has been no organisation for the industry to come here or for our own productions to be made yet.
"As Auckland and Wellington are both booked up, we have a unique opportunity to transform Hawke's Bay into a destination for the screen production industry."
The Eastern Screen Alliance is holding a discussion panel tomorrow night in Havelock North with industry professionals Campbell McClean, Eric Stark and Sherratt to decide where to take the idea next.
Sherratt argues the benefits for Hawke's Bay would be huge: creating jobs in industries including building, accommodation and hospitality as well as creating jobs for young EIT screen production students and industry professionals.
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It will also promote Hawke's Bay tourism. "If we created an ongoing series set in Hawke's Bay people will want to visit here," said Sherratt.
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst agrees: "We certainly support the vision for opportunity to make film in Hawke's Bay. It showcases the region and offers employment opportunities for people."
Sherratt believes that Hawke's Bay could attract international productions from the likes of Netflix.
He suggested one way to attract to begin with was to offer sweeteners, like free parking to film crews, to make Hawke's Bay a more desirable location than Auckland or Wellington.
"We look forward to working with all parties to see how we can support them in the future," Hazelhurst said.
The Eastern Screen Alliance, a charitable trust, is also looking for funding partners to join it. Anyone wanting to join can at www.easternscreen.com.