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Fijian film deal

15 September 2004

Waitakere is again breaking new ground having signed an agreement with the Fijian Audio Visual Commission which will ensure the city’s buoyant film industry, and the city itself, continues to flourish.

The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) will see Fiji and Waitakere, one of the most proactive filmmaking hubs in New Zealand, working together to meet expanding international film industry needs in the South Pacific.

The agreement was signed this week by the Fiji Audio Visual Commission Chairman Joe Mar and Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey who has been extensively involved in promotion of the film industry and active in encouraging film and television productions into New Zealand.

The agreement is understood to be a first and is expected to reap benefits for Fiji, Waitakere and New Zealand.

“Our local film industry is turning Waitakere into Westiewood and this agreement means we will be able to even more effectively accommodate its ever increasing needs,” says Mr Harvey, also a former Chair and current member of the New Zealand Film Commission.

“Fiji and Waitakere will cooperate to offer film makers the best locations in the two areas, crème de la crème crews and very supportive local environments and economies. I am delighted and proud Waitakere is leading the way in this field.”

In signing the agreement the parties recognise the complementary strengths of their respective production destinations for the servicing of international film productions and seek to work together to attract projects that would benefit from these arrangements.

In particular, Waitakere recognises the accessibility and desirability of unique locations in Fiji not found in New Zealand and the FAVC appreciates the availability of studio facilities and expertise in Waitakere.

Waitakere owns Henderson Valley Studios which has been used for productions such as the popular TV series Hercules and Xena and it is currently hosting the big-budget Disney production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The two organisations intend to develop joint marketing and business initiatives, establish a formal relationship with Film Auckland and help towards the signing of an official co-production treaty between New Zealand and Fiji.

“With the huge success of The Lord of the Rings Triology for NZ and now with Fiji’s high profile as a production location with Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, it makes good sense for us as neighbouring countries to look for synergies to attract more film productions to our part of the world,” Mr Mar says.

“We wish to thank Mayor Bob Harvey for his proactive ‘can-do’ attitude which many have come to recognise as a particular attribute of the Kiwis. The FAVC has been working on developing this type of arrangement with several strategic countries. While the MOU with Waitakere is the first concrete realisation of that aspiration we expect others.”

Mr Mar added that with arrangements such as that signed between FAVC and Waitakere, film producers would have more coherent and wider combinations of choices of locations, facilities, expertise and tax incentives from which they can structure very feasible film production deals.


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