Cultural Experience | New Zealand

5 Movies to Watch Before Going to New Zealand

New Zealand has stunning and diverse looks that make it attractive to the film industry. Seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere, so they can shoot snow in July and double as other places around the world.

If you’re about to travel to New Zealand but don’t know what to expect, here are some movie reccomendations to get you ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

1. Lord of The Rings

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If you’re going to New Zealand, chances are that you just maybe might of heard of this one. But in all seriousness, nothing will get you amped up more for New Zealand than those beautiful establishing shots. And if you’re a huge fan there are many tours you can take of the different shooting locations and hobbit sets. You can even tour Weta Cave in Wellington and they’ll give you a run down on how they do all their special effects. There are as many opportunities to geek out as there are pages in all of Tolkien’s novels and if you really want to live the fantasy, you can even follow Frodo’s footsteps and take a hike on Mount Ruapehu– aka Mount Doom.

2. Whale Rider

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This critically acclaimed movie is a great introduction to New Zealand’s Maori culture. About a little girl, who wants to fulfill her destiny within her community despite tradition. It’s got heart, feminism, and of course features New Zealand’s beautiful beaches.

3. The World’s Fastest Indian

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In this movie, Anthony Hopkins plays an adorable old kiwi man who travels to America to fulfill his lifelong dream of setting a landslide record on his beloved motorcycle. Not only is it a great way do get a sense of the kiwi accent (Anthony Hopkins does a great job!) but also the adventurous kiwi spirit. On top of all that, it’s generally a fantastic and heartwarming movie about travel.

4. Once Were Warriors

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Warning: Not for the faint of heart. This movie is heavy, showcasing urban New Zealand in the late twentieth century Once Were Warriors deals with social inequality, gangs, racism, sexism, and domestic abuse. It’s also an excellent film with strong and well-developed characters that will stick with you long after you’ve watched it. It brings up a lot of New Zealand’s social issues and when you’re in New Zealand you’ll notice that kiwis are pretty open to talking about politics. It’s a movie known throughout the country and one of New Zealand’s most important movies.

5. Boy

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This movie is about a young  Maori boy, who happens to be obsessed with Michael Jackson,  getting to know his father for the first time in his life when he returns home to their home on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Another great look into Maori culture, this movie is funny and heartbreaking at the same time. Plus, there is a great dance number with the whole cast combining Thriller with the Haka (the traditional Maori war dance) that’s absolutely amazing.

Jamie Ditaranto

Emerson College | 7 stories

Jamie Ditaranto is a senior at Emerson College majoring Writing, Literature, and Publishing with a minor in photography. She never hits the road without her camera and would rather buy bus tickets than anything else. She will be graduating and on the prowl for new adventures this coming December.


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