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Taranaki reaps rewards of "The Last Samurai"

Media Release

25 February 2004

Taranaki reaps rewards of "The Last Samurai"

The Tom Cruise movie "The Last Samurai" directly injected nearly $90 million into the New Zealand economy, with more than half captured by the Taranaki region.

A newly-released report, commissioned by Venture Taranaki in partnership with Investment New Zealand and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, shows the multi-million dollar movie project was a major success story for New Zealand.

When flow-on activity generated by the direct spend is taken into account, the film resulted in nearly $196 million of benefit to the country (Taranaki $69 million) and added $91.7 million to GDP (Taranaki $33.4 million).

The economic impact study was undertaken by BERL in Wellington.

"This report shows that the Taranaki region rose to the challenge of a major Hollywood film project - and clearly has the infrastructure to do so again," said Stuart Trundle, chief executive of Venture Taranaki.

The filming of "The Last Samurai" pumped money into more than a dozen industries, with the motion picture, radio and TV services sector directly reaping $40.3 million nationally (Taranaki $12.9 million), according to the report.

Nearly $20 million was directly spent on accommodation and property, virtually all in the Taranaki region; the vehicle/equipment hire industry received $5.9 million (Taranaki $4.1 million) and retailers enjoyed a $5.4 million boost (Taranaki $2.9 million).

"The filming of "The Last Samurai" left a major impression on Taranaki - in terms of both the economic boost and the wave of optimism it brought to the region," said Mr Trundle.

"With more than a third of local businesses providing a product or service to the film company, they developed a determined "can do" attitude and proved they could foot it with the best," he said.

The report shows that the movie project resulted in a major increase in turnover for many businesses - some up to 800% - and created 1400 full time jobs (Taranaki 616) as a result of the film and its flow on activity.

It concludes that the movie industry is a "natural global showcase for New Zealand's talent, creativity and innovation", as well as a "source for foreign direct investment and foreign exchange that creates jobs and infrastructure".


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