Here are some things you should know when you're planning to film in New Zealand
When you arrive in NZ, head to the Vodafone store at the airport (or when you’re passing one,) and pick up a NZ SIM card. They’re NZ$49, and give you 2GB data, 120 minutes calling time locally and to home, and 200 local and international texts. Find out more at http://www.vodafone.co.nz/travel-sim/
Distances may look small on a map, but there are few straight roads and even fewer good highways, so it can take a long time to get where you want to go.
NZ Fixer recommends you contact us about getting a local driver, especially if you have traveled a long way and intend to crack straight into filming.
No production is worth dying on the roads for.
If you are intending to drive yourself, here's some information you should know.
We drive on the left side of the road. KEEP LEFT.
You can’t turn on a red light. Ever.
A solid single line in the middle of the road means you can’t pass.
A solid double line means you can’t pass from either side of the road.
Speed limits are usually 50km/hr in the cities, and 100km/hr in the
country. There are hidden speed cameras everywhere – so stick to the
speed limit and drive to the conditions.
NZ highways have nowhere near as many lanes as in other parts of the
world. State Highway 1 (the main highway running North/South) is mostly
a single lane. There are passing lanes - be patient and wait for them, even if you're in a rush.
The majority of roads are winding (because most places are hilly), and the hill/mountain driving can be pretty nerve-racking at times. Just take it slowly – people are generally pretty patient with tourists.
You should check outthis link for more information about driving in New Zealand.
Taxes and tipping
Taxes are included in the prices of everything in NZ.
Tipping is not common either - so what it says on your bill is generally exactly what you will pay.
For you Canadians, an entrée in New Zealand is an appetizer, not a main course.
What you should try in New Zealand
Coffee. We do really good coffee.
Lamb. There are a lot of sheep, and we like to cook them.
Fish and chips.
Filming in New Zealand
The following information is from the New Zealand Film Commission, and is designed to help you ensure an efficient and successful shoot in New Zealand.
Line production: To help ensure an efficient and successful shoot, we strongly recommend contracting an experienced New Zealand line producer.
Contact NZ Fixer.
Work visas: Please note ALL of your incoming crew and cast/actors/presenters need a work visa. For productions of more than 14 days in duration, letters of non-objection are required from the relevant New Zealand guilds to accompany visa applications. More information is available at the following link and online applications can be completed by scrolling to the end of this page.
Industry guilds: A list of key screen industry associations and guilds is available here.
Location permits: New Zealand is a very popular destination for filming projects of all types and budgets. To ensure New Zealand’s environment and people are engaged with appropriately, all screen productions filming here must work in line with regional and national laws.
Your budget needs to allow for permit fees to be paid at a district council level for locations like public parks and gardens, streets, beaches and reserves. Some waterways including the land near beaches and rivers are within the jurisdiction of regional councils and may require separate or additional permits.
In our national parks, the Department of Conservation - DOC is responsible for filming approvals. Please note DOC fees apply for the processing of applications and on a per person basis for each day of filming.
Permit timeframes: The number of days or weeks for receiving a permit depends on factors like; the site, number of cast/crew/vehicles and, if you require exclusive use of an area for filming. Contact NZ Fixer for help getting permits.
Safety: Please note New Zealand’s Health and Safety legislation changed in April 2016. Guidelines to ensure the safety of all crew including internationals working in New Zealand can be viewed at http://screensafe.co.nz
Cast: The Pink book is a guideline to the engagement of actors/talent in New Zealand.
Filming with drones: We recommend using a drone operator certified by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority to ensure your production is working within the laws and regulations for operating drones in New Zealand https://www.caa.govt.nz/rpas/index.html
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