“It all began with the forging of the Great Rings”. Just as this line began the iconic “Lord of the Rings” film, it also sounded like the beginning of New Zealand’s relevance in the cinematic industry. Filled with beautiful panoramic views, Aotearoa has quickly established itself as one of the world’s top locations for film production.

The country’s secret behind its success in recent years goes far beyond the breathtaking landscapes but also factors the on-screen and off-screen talent and well-equipped production facilities. And it doesn’t end there. Mr Bet NZ hosts top facilities that also take this industry’s influence to a new level. Here, you’ll learn about the magic connection between New Zealand and the film industry.

Brief History of The Film Industry in New Zealand

With the earliest films being made around the 19th century, it took New Zealand a whole century to hop on the bandwagon, with minor local productions being made then.

It wasn’t till the 90s that flightless birds took to the air with astonishing growth. Films like “Once Were Warriors” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy ensured New Zealand was on the travel list of many tourists.

Rise of Weta Digital

Wellington, the capital city, takes the stage as the hub of the country’s film industry. Founded in 1993 by Peter Jackson, Jamie Selkirk, and Richard Taylor, this company was established to create special effects for commercials and television.

In particular, it influences the Lord of the Rings film animation with the way it handled the battle of Middle-earth and the animation of Gollum. Weta Digital set a precedent for many of the world’s VFX companies to follow by creating and using unique technologies. Technologies like MASSIVE were used in crowd simulations, and advancements in motion picture technology allowed them to push the boundaries of VFX constantly.

Peter Jackson’s Legacy and How It Revolutionised the Country’s Movie Industry

If there ever was a ‘Movie Activist,’ Peter Jackson certainly was one at a time when filmmakers opted to leave the country to create their movies and direct. Peter decided to bring and direct three significant films in New Zealand.


He produced titles like The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and King Kong for the country, all of which received critical acclaim. These films, which were produced, raised the popularity of the Kiwis and brought economic prosperity in the form of tourism, also attracting filmmakers to use the country’s beautiful locations in shooting their films.

Ultimate Motion Pictures Straight From Aotearoa

The filming of many of Peter Jackson’s pieces created a breeding ground for producing many other blockbuster movies in the country or for top filmmakers’ collaboration with the country’s Weta Studios. Some of these are:

  • The Lord of the Rings;
  • The Chronicles of Narnia;
  • Mulan;
  • Thor: Ragnarök;
  • Avatar;
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout;
  • Boy;
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

Amazing Actors And Directors From New Zealand

One massive impact of Aotearoa’s prominence in the film industry is the increase in talent emerging from the country. With more resources being pooled towards the film production and theatre arts programs since the making of The Lord of the Rings, hidden gems were allowed to flourish in their trade. Some notable names are:

  • Geoff Murphy: Geoff Murphy is a director considered one of the pioneers of Aotearoa’s film industry. He made waves with popular titles like “Goodbye Pork Pie” and “The Quiet Earth”.
  • Taika Waititi: Taika Waititi is a director who gained fame for his unique style of storytelling and humour in most of his films. Some of his notable works are “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Thor: Ragnarök”.
  • Jane Campion: Jane Campion is a director popularly known for “The Piano” (a title that won the Palme d’Or) and “Bright Star”.

Economic Impact And Importance of the Movie Industry on the Country

New Zealand’s screen sector plays a considerable role in the country’s economy. Its impact helps shape the cultural and infrastructural landscape of the country year by year. Here are the ways the movie sector has propelled Aotearoa:

  • Revenue: New Zealand’s cinematic sector contributes around NZ $3.5 billion annually; this revenue works hand in hand with governmental taxes to aid in promoting infrastructural development for the country.
  • Job Creation: Movie production generates a lot of job openings for individuals of various trades, like actors, directors, designers, make-up artists, and more. This industry employs skilled and unskilled individuals in the country.
  • Tourism: The landscapes used in making many iconic titles have been known to be major tourist attractions for visitors, improving the country’s revenue from tourism.

The Kiwis and Film

The Kiwis have shown you don’t need wings to soar high. With talent, both in front of and behind the camera, New Zealand has undoubtedly shaped global cinema. The country’s movie products are a testament to its unique blend of innovation, natural beauty, and storytelling prowess, a trademark that will only grow as years go by.


Steve is a tech guru who loves nothing more than playing and streaming video games. He's always the first to figure out how to solve any problem, and he's got a quick wit that keeps everyone entertained. When he's not gaming, he's busy being a dad and husband. He loves spending time with his family and friends, and he always puts others first.