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  • The Last Samurai
  • Wellington- Avatar
  • Mt.Cook -Vertical Limit

New Zealand is popular as an international film making destination for Hollywood as well as Bollywood. Some of the best blockbusters have been shot in New Zealand.

Auckland: The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai is a 2003 American epic drama film directed and co-produced by Edward Zwick, who also co-wrote the screenplay based on a story by John Logan. The film stars Tom Cruise (who also co-produced) in the role of American soldier Nathan Algren, whose personal and emotional conflicts bring him into contact with samurai warriors in the wake of the Meiji Restoration in the Empire of Japan in 1876 and 1877. The film’s plot was inspired by the 1877 Satsuma Rebellion led by Saigō Takamori, and also on the stories of Jules Brunet, a French army captain who fought alongside Enomoto Takeaki in the earlier Boshin War and Frederick Townsend Ward, an American mercenary who helped Westernize the Chinese army by forming the Ever Victorious Army.

The Last Samurai was well received upon release, with a worldwide box office of $456 million. In addition it was nominated for several awards, including the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes and the National Board of Review.

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Christchurch : Narnia The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 epic fantasy adventure film directed by Andrew Adamson co-produced by Walden Media and Walt Disney Pictures and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Bringing to life the classic children’s novel by CS Lewis, this spectacular New Zealand-based film tells the story of the Pevensie children and their adventures in the magical land of Narnia.

Flock Hill Station, near the magnificent Arthur’s Pass in the Canterbury District, was the setting for the climactic final battle between Aslan’s forces and the powerful army of the White Witch, led by the fierce minotaur General Otman. The battle is said to be one of the most spectacular Hollywood has seen yet, with the snowcapped Southern Alps serving as a backdrop as the two sides ride into war. Arthur’s Pass National Park is known for its wild mountain scenery, which includes glaciers and dramatic waterfalls. The Scenic Tranzalpine Express travels over Arthur’s Pass from Christchurch to Greymouth, and the trip is an ideal way to view the park’s rugged alpine scenery.

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Mt.Cook : Vertical Limit

Mt. Cook in the Southern Alps in New Zealand was chosen as a location to shoot the movie simply because it duplicates the Himalayas and suited the filming of the movie completely. It’s one of the few places in the world where you get peak upon peak like the area around K2.

A high-adrenaline tale of young climber Peter Garrett, who must launch a treacherous and extraordinary rescue effort up K2, the world’s second highest peak. Confronting both his own limitations and the awesome power of nature’s uncontrollable elements, Peter risks his life to save his sister, Annie, and her summit team in a race against time. The team is trapped in an icy grave at 26,000 feet – a death zone above the vertical limit of endurance where the human body cannot survive for long.

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Queenstown : I Hate Love Stories

It is a Bollywood film starring Imran Khan and Sonam Kapoor in the lead roles. The film is a romantic comedy, written and directed by newcomer, Punit Malhotra and produced under Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and Ronnie Screwvala’s UTV Motion Pictures. The film was released on 2 July 2010 and went on to become a box office hit. The film was partly filmed in Queenstown, New Zealand.

“Sadka Kiya” song gives a view of the Queenstown Waterfront, New Zealand.

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Rotorua : Lord of the Rings

New Zealand is the stunning location where the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed. The town of Matamata in the Waikato with it’s rolling hills and emerald green grass was the perfect setting for the peaceful Shire region of Middle-earth, home to the village of Hobbiton. This area of New Zealand is one of the richest agricultural and pastoral areas in the world and is characterised as a large fertile basin through which the Waikato River flows. The actual site of ‘The Shire’ set is about 20 minutes out of Matamata on a private farm owned by Ian Alexander.

The Hobbiton movie set has primarily been returned to its natural state, however 17 of the original 37 hobbit holes and other distinctive land marks such as ‘the party tree’ still remain and can be viewed as part of a Hobbiton tour. The Waikato region also offers superb caving and black water rafting. One can also live like a hobbit in the Lord of the Rings set within Hobbiton in the same house as Frodo Baggins depending on the filming schedule. You can relax with a great cup of coffee or a light meal in The Shires Rest Cafe, which is also available for functions, conferences or other occasions.

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Wellignton: Avatar

The production of Avatar partly took place in 4 locations in Wellington, New Zealand; Stone Street Studio, Weta Workshop and Weta Digital. And some filming is done in the warehouse in Porirua City in Wellington (The old Todd Motors Building)- The Stone Street Studio.

Written and directed by James Cameron is Avatar; starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez and Stephen Lang. It is the most technologically advanced work of cinema ever undertaken.

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