In 1913, "Hinemoa", the first film made in New Zealand, was filmed in Rotorua and today Waiariki Film Studios is bringing studio infrastructure to Rotorua and building this region's industry of the future. Waiariki Film Studios' vision is to establish a world-renowned indigenous film hub, supporting local filmmakers, and growing the New Zealand film industry.
Rotorua is easily accessible from other New Zealand centres, especially Auckland, and offers productions an unrivalled set diversity within short travel times. Based on White Street, your production can access geothermal wonderlands, snowcapped mountains, beautiful beaches, prehistoric native forests, pristine lakes and rivers, bustling cosmopolitan cities and small rural towns filled with Māori culture.
White St Studios
White St Studios, recently used on the $6 million TV Series “Vegas”, is based in the inner city and very close to accommodation and popular regional filming locations such as the Whakarewarewa Forest, and the famous Pōhutu Geyer at Te Puia.
Onsite parking can be supplemented by 1,000m2 of available parking directly next door to the studio at 72 White Street.
Additional production support such as local crew, makeup truck, unit truck, film-friendly accommodation, shooting locations, and more can be sourced through the studio.
Stage 2 & 3 of Waiariki Film Studios
The studios at White Street were created in stage 1 of infrastructure development. Stage 2 sees Waiariki Film Studios working toward the soundstage retrofit of a large-scale warehouse and has received confirmed funding toward this venture. Stage 3 is a green-fields build of the indigenous film-making hub comprising studios, production office, workshop and mill, backlot, local industry venders and workforce development. Waiariki Film Studios has firm partnerships with and support from Rotorua Lakes Council, Rotorua Economic Development, funding trusts, and local iwi in these developments.
Crew base and workforce development
Waiariki Film Studios is committed to increasing the crew depth of the wider Bay of Plenty region in order to service large-scale productions. Already there is an experienced crew base across the region who are either working locally or commuting to the main centres to work on large-scale productions. With Tauranga and Taupō only an hour's drive way, producers can easily supplement the existing Rotorua crew base with these crew in order to service their production's needs. Waiariki Film Studios is happy to make the connections for you. We have successfully partnered with the Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and Greenstone TV to run Tohea, an earn-and-learn apprenticeship that gave 20 local youth the opportunity to get a step up into the industry, and are committed to running programmes like this on all future large-scale productions that shoot in the region.
Meet the team
Waiariki Film Studios is a joint venture between the Steambox Collective Charitable Trust (a collective of Māori screen industry professionals based in Rotorua) and Film Bay of Plenty (the regional film office representing Rotorua, Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty, Whakatane, Taupō, Opotiki, and Kawerau). Both organisations are partnered in governance of the studios, and are committed to growing the local screen media industry through attracting large-scale productions, developing local projects, facilitating shoots, connecting crew with work and building up the skill base and infrastructure of the region.
Rotorua Economic Development is proud to be a key supporter in driving the aspirations of the Waiariki Film Studios, working alongside industry to help realise the potential of the Waiariki region.
Anton has worked in the screen media industry for 24 years and his experience includes feature films, commercials and TV shows. Anton has been a producer, director and assistant director on 35+ drama productions including “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2”, and “Yogi Bear”.
Piripi Curtis (Te Arawa) is currently the managing director and co-owner of Hikoi NZ based in Rotorua and has been producing television for more than 15 years with his flagship show "Hunting Aotearoa" and recently with the TV series “Vegas”. Alongside his board role for Steambox Collective Charitable Trust, he also sits on the boards for Ngā Aho Whakaari, the national representative body for Māori working in screen production.
Lara Northcroft (Te Arawa) is a producer, and owner of Velvet Stone Media. She has produced a variety of content including television series, commercials, short films and International projects. She is passionate about Māori culture and always looks to build capacity and develop local talent. With more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, Lara is committed to the development of Rotorua and the wider region.
Glenn Dougal is the managing director of WAVE Creative Communications Agency and has more than 25 years of international marketing, branding, TV production and communications experience. Based in London and Tokyo for seven years, Glenn has worked for the BBC and Medialink (a specialist Nasdaq listed broadcasting consulting agency) advising large and small companies on marketing and communications campaigns. Glenn also is a director of the charity Legacy Funerals, and chairs Marketing Professionals Bay of Plenty, and Film Bay of Plenty.
Shannon is managing director of Structure Properties, and founding director of Form Building and Developments. He has been involved in the construction sector for more than 25 years, in construction and development throughout the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Auckland. Shannon is passionate about growing the wider Bay of Plenty in sectors that have the potential for ongoing employment and long-term return for the area. He brings broad commercial experience and specific skills that will be helpful in the development and construction of Rainbow Mountain and subsequent development.