For filmmakers, Bethells Beach has a lot to offer - a remote black sand beach, huge dunes, a lake, native bush, and a supportive local community. But as its popularity has grown with film producers, there have been occasional flashpoints over their environmental impact.
A Taylor Swift music video shoot on Bethells Beach has contributed to stricter rules about filming on its dunes - frustrating some filmmakers who regularly use the popular location.
The production team behind Swift's Out of the Woods video were criticised by some residents and the local board after they took a large number of cars on the beach in 2015 - despite only being given permission for two cars.
There have been restrictions on using cars at Bethells - and all Auckland beaches - since 2013, partly to protect the endangered dotterel habitat. But after growing concerns from the Waitakere Ranges local board about the potential for environmental damage, Auckland Council clarified the rules for vehicle use in February.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) manager of creative industries Michael Brook said productions could now apply for an exemption to take a minimal number of vehicles on the beach during filming. The guidelines recommended no more than four to six "essential" vehicles.
Further changes have also been made, including a requirement to provide maps of vehicle movements and a specific health and safety plan for each shoot.
Brook said that since the new rules came into place, productions had taken place involving more than six cars at a time "with no resulting issues".
But it is understood that some in the industry are frustrated by the new rules, particularly because there had previously been no set limit on car numbers when applying for permits.
The beach is used for film, television or advertising productions roughly once a fortnight, some of them involving hundreds of people and dozens of vehicles.
Waitakere Ranges board member Sandra Coney said the board had already been trying to control car numbers at Bethells and other west coast beaches before the Swift video shoot.
"Taylor Swift was not the beginning. But it was a quite flagrant example of disregarding what we had been trying to do.
"We didn't say to them 'none'. We gave them a number and then they just went on with a much larger number.
"We have made it pretty clear to the council bylaws team that we want vehicles kept to a minimum. There have been, at time, rather gratuitous use of vehicles."
Auckland-based film producer William Grieve said he felt the reaction to the Swift incident had been overblown. He said filmmakers were generally responsible when they used the site, and countless productions at the beach and the lake over the years had not left a trace of damage.
Grieve, the executive producer at Big Pictures, shot a Samsung commercial at the beach in 2013 which featured 400 people and numerous vehicles including a Mad Max-like car and police SWAT cars.
"It was very straightforward. They said you can have half the beach and can't stop public access and I don't think we had any issues."
Coney stressed that the board was highly supportive of the film industry because its economic benefit derived from the natural beauty of the location - rather than altering it. But more needed to be known about the local wildlife so film crews could be properly advised, she said.
"It's not just dotterels. We've got grey-faced petrels on just about every headland from Te Henga around to Titirangi."
Last year, Piha residents were upset when producers of the US TV series The Wilds used high-powered lighting on the beach at night. The filming took place at a remote part of the beach called The Gap, where petrels usually based themselves after dusk.