First movie that was shot in New Zealand was launched in 1913. It's called Hinemoa and Gaston Méliès directed it. Principal photography took place in Rotorua, a city on the southern shores of the lake of the same name, in the Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand's North Island.
The Hobbit trilogy, that was also shot in New Zealand stands as the most expensive back-to-back film production with combined costs of $623 million after tax credits.
One of the most well known New Zealand movie sets is Hobbiton, which was built on a ten acre site within a running and very charming sheep and beef farm near Matamata.
If you are a true Tolkien fan you can book a two-hour guided tour. It will show you all the fascinating details on how the Hobbiton set was created.
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, but it’s also known as the centre of Middle Earth. Mount Victoria, in the central city, is where the very first footage of The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in 1999.
Second extremely famous fantasy film that was shot in New Zealand is Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Prince Caspian. Most known movie set of Narnia is Woodhill Forest, a region near Auckland. There the White Witch of Narnia made her first appearance. If you are in New Zealand, visit it, no mather if you are the Chronicles of Narnia fan. It is also a very popular destination for mountain biking.
Do you remember the American version of The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise as the leading character? Well, it was shot in New Zealand too. Much of the filming centred on the hillsides of the Uruti Valley – under the Mount Taranaki, which was slightly remodeled to imitate Japanese countryside life in the 1860s. Mount Taranaki, or Mount Egmont is New Zealand’s most-climbed mountain and a spectacular dormant volcano, so it’s a great destination for hikers.
The 2518-metre-high mountain is one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world. There is a secondary cone, Fanthams Peak with 1966 meters, on the south side. Because of its similarity to Mount Fuji, Taranaki provided the setting for the movie The Last Samurai.
It’s believed that the success of the New Zealand film industry can be attributed to Kiwi ingenuity, creativity, versatility and innovation.