Film-makers discover Franklin

Scenery attracts attention

Last Updated : 23 Sep 2019
FLB The Gulfoa
A scene from The Gulf being filmed near Maraetai. Image: Screentime and Lippy Pictures.

Franklin's landscapes are increasingly making their way on to television and the big screen thanks to growing interest from film-makers and the cooperation of local communities.

TV3’s six-part crime drama The Gulf – screening on Monday nights – features locations such as Kawakawa Bay, Waiti Bay Reserve, and Magazine Bay, where the production shot in October and November last year.

The show – produced by Screentime and Lippy Pictures – hit TV hot on the heels of TVNZ’s thriller The Bad Seed, which shot some scenes in Karaka in May and June last year.

While Auckland’s west and central city have historically been the mainstay of Auckland’s on-location filming, Franklin is now firmly on the screen industry’s map.

In the year to June, 24 Auckland Council public space film permits were issued for the Franklin Local Board area – providing for 36 shooting days, the biggest production involving more than 200 people, while most had between 20 and 70.

Franklin also starred in the Grand Designs NZ 2019 launch and a range of TV ads for Holden, Subaru, Mercury, NZ Post, Asahi, Hirepool, and BP.

But it isn't  just small screen productions. A major Hollywood producer filmed scenes for a feature film in Hunua, and the feature film Only Cloud Knows shot on location at the petrol station in Kawakawa Bay, Ness Valley Rd in Clevedon, and on Orere-Matingarahi Rd.

In 2016 a Warner Bros/Gravity Pictures unit filmed on-water scenes for The Meg at Waitawa Regional Park – with the movie going on to be a global box office hit.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development's Screen Aucklandworks with the local board, council parks staff and Auckland Transport to process and issue film permits.

Screen Auckland manager Jasmine Millet says: “It’s been great to see Franklin emerge as a screen production destination in Auckland. The word is out in the industry about the area’s unique landscapes, beaches and relatively quiet coastal roads. I’m sure some people who see the region on screen will be inspired to visit for themselves.

“Our job is to work with he board to ensure permit conditions strike the right balance between communities’ needs as filming takes place around them, and Council’s support for an important industry.”

In the 2018/19 year, 617 permits were issued across Auckland – just shy of the annual record – and Statistics NZ data shows Auckland’s thriving production and post-production industry again earned more than a billion dollars in gross revenue.

Under Council’s permit fee system, Screen Auckland returned nearly $3000 from the fees charged in the  Franklin area in 2018/19 to the board. 

Board chair Angela Fulljames says: “The board is excited about the potential for screen production as a contributor to local economic activity in our region.

"We have a diversity of environments that makes us an attractive location, and we are pleased to welcome productions.

"Recognising ourselves and our special places on screen is also bit of a thrill and generates local pride."

Screen production in Auckland supports more than 1600 companies and 3500 jobs. It also boosts business for a range of support industries. In most cases, productions and crews spend directly into the communities where filming takes place.

In the past year, Council permits have been issued for a diverse range of Franklin locations including Omana, Hunua, Duder and Tapapakanga regional parks, Maraetai Wharf, Karioitahi Beach on the west coast, Clevedon, Karaka and Awhitu Peninsula.

“Council appreciates the cooperation of residents who may be briefly affected by short-term road closures, or sections of parks being closed off, when scenes are being shot," Millet says.

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