Northland is the star in a new Air New Zealand video being filmed mainly in the Bay of Islands - although a gorgeous blue 1966 Mustang and a young Shortland Street actor also in the video won't go unnoticed.

Four days of filming around some of Northland's scenic locations will lead to a safety message and road movie lasting just under four minutes in Air NZ's A320 planes and just over four minutes in the bigger 777 300 planes. It will be seen not only on board international flights, but on social media and other broadcasts.

They have a target audience of many millions, said General Manager of Global Brand and Content Marketing Jodi Williams.

Air NZ makes two of the mini-comedies a year highlighting different aspects of New Zealand's culture, sights and talents; the last one starring hapless funny man Rhys Darby.


The company is keeping fairly quiet about the plot of the one now being made, but Ms Williams said it has a travel and adventure theme starting with a flight to Bay of Islands Airport, in Kerikeri, and then a road trip.

We can't give much away, but during the first day's filming session the Advocate was invited to yesterday, Shortie actor Jayden Daniels, who plays Curtis, arrived on that movie-land Air NZ flight.

First, filming took place on board a plane parked on the runway. The next sequence shows Daniels walking out of the terminus, with the flight crew in that superbly photogenic Mustang pulling up and saying something along the lines of, "want another ride?"

In he jumps and off they go.

One of the real-life air crew featuring in the video is Air NZ pilot Louise Maihi, originally from Ahipara and who helped fund her flying career by working as a barmaid at Omapere.
We didn't see any other "famous faces", but the company said the video would feature "both local and international stars".

More than 150 film crew and cast, including extras scouted locally, are involved, Ms Williams said.

She would not say how much it would cost but said although it was an expensive exercise, the entertaining safety videos provided far more in returns than in expenditure.
Those rewards were shared around the regions that feature in the videos, she said.

"As a tourism business Air NZ plays a key role in facilitating inbound travel to our shores, marketing all that our beautiful country has to offer and ensuring that regional centres share in the economic benefits that tourism brings.

"For those of us who are proud to call New Zealand home the video is sure to resonate and evoke a real sense of pride and nostalgia. We hope that it will not just inspire foreigners but also more Kiwis to explore an amazing part of our country."

The Bay of Island's Marketing Group, an arm of Far North Holdings, itself the business and asset company of Far North District Council, has invested in the project. Marketing Group chairman Charles Parker said Air New Zealand's safety videos were a global hit, generating a huge volume of international media coverage.

"You only need to look at the success of the airline's Hobbit and Bear Grylls videos in driving visitation to New Zealand to see the opportunity this next one presents for our region," Mr Parker said.

Far North Mayor John Carter also said the Northland-focused video was a massive opportunity for the region.

The new safety video will be rolled out across the Air NZ fleet before Christmas.