Bret: Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson put New Zealand on the map, but he put it on the map as Middle-earth, not as New Zealand.
Jemaine: A lot of what Jackson purports to be true about New Zealand is actually a lie.
Bret: Despite what you may believe from watching The Lord of the Rings, New Zealand does not have a large hobbit population.
Jemaine: At least not as many as he makes out. (Flight of the Conchords)
When travelling around or living overseas, how many people say “Oh, New Zealand! Yes, I know it – I’ve seen the Lord of the Rings movies!” after you tell them where you are from?
I think it is fair to say that while the film adaptations of J.R.R Tolkien’s epic fantasy novel(s) do showcase some of the incredible scenery we have outside our doors, that’s where the references to New Zealand stop. But what films or television series do offer a snap shot of our country as it really is? Is there a single movie that captures completely the very essence of what it means to be Kiwi? Or is every film just one taste from a very diverse pavlova?
New Zealand is producing more and more fantastic films and television series each year which celebrate Kiwi culture and people. Internationally, we are now becoming just as well known for our struggling musical duos in skinny jeans as for our hobbits and whale-riding girls. But surely there is more about us that we can show the world, too. Bro’Town is now being screened in 6 other countries, including Portugal. I personally think everyone needs to meet Cheryl West and her lovely family.
Other essential viewing may be: Black Sheep, Eagle vs. Shark, Secondhand Wedding, No.2, Snakeskin, In My Father’s Den, World’s Fastest Indian, Scarfies, Goodbye Pork Pie, Sione’s Wedding, as well as many more.
If you wanted to introduce someone to your New Zealand through a film or television series, what would you recommend they watch?