Regional information

Te Moana a Toi-te-Huatahi, which translates to “The Ocean of Toi of the First Fruits”, otherwise known as the Bay of Plenty, comprises seven districts each with their own unique natural landscapes and rich Māori heritage.

Our filming region

The Bay of Plenty region is situated in the eastern North Island of New Zealand. It has an attractive climate with some of the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand, as well as diverse untapped film locations, from beautiful beaches to thermal wonderlands, snowcapped mountains to forested high country ranges.

The region covers 12,200 km² of land 9,500 km² of coastal marine area and is easily accessible from other New Zealand centres, only two hours from Auckland, and well serviced by road, sea and air transport, cellphone, wireless and wired data networks.

bay of plenty region
bay of plenty region Tauranga


Tauranga is the largest city in the Bay of Plenty region (155,000+ people) and is home to Australasias largest international shipping port.

Backed by the Kaimai Ranges and looking over Tauranga harbour the city is a metropolitan hub. Standing at the entrance to the harbour is Mauao – an extinct volcano. Nearby, a white sandy beach stretched from the coastal town of Mount Maunganui to Pāpāmoa and beyond.

bay of plenty region western bay

Western Bay of Plenty

The Western Bay surrounds Tauranga City, and covers 212,000 hectares of coastal, rural and urban areas.

The main urban/village centres are Waihī Beach, Katikati, Ōmokoroa, Te Puna, Te Puke and Maketu. Rural settlements and horticulture are prominent within the Western Bay as well as the rugged bush clad Kaimai Range which contains rivers flowing to the mudflats of Tauranga harbour.

bay of plenty region rotorua


Situated inland, the Rotorua District is a Māori cultural and tourism hub.

This district is blessed with many freshwater lakes; native, redwood and pine forests; and geothermal attractions. ‘Without a Paddle’, ‘Pete’s Dragon’ and ‘Lost World’ were all filmed in the region.

“It is always rewarding and that one of the coolest things when you make a film is going back to the community and showing it with them, so it was great to have the premiere in Rotorua. “We had such a lovely time in Rotorua, it was really special being there and filming in the community.”

Ainsley Gardiner



Kawerau is a small town in the Tarawera Valley surrounded by a pine forest and rural farmland.

Sitting at the base of the dramatic Mount Putauaki, (or Mount Edgecumbe) the town is mainly run on geothermal power. The Tasman Mill is a large feature of the town.


A coastal town with beautiful beaches and gateway to Whakaari (White Island).

Whakatāne is close to large areas of native forest and is a gateway to the Eastern Bay of Plenty region. Close to the township, Otarawairere Bay was featured in ‘The Seekers’ the first Hollywood production to shoot in New Zealand.


This is the gateway to the East Cape where Taika Waititi’s, ‘Boy’, was filmed.

The raw untouched coasts, forests, and rivers surrounding this area are rich in historical and cultural significance.


South of Rotorua, the town of Taupō is at the centre of the North Island next to the largest lake in New Zealand.

Lake Taupō features geothermal areas, the Huka Falls, and dominant mountains such as Mount Ngāuruhoe which was featured as the ominous ‘Mount Doom’ in Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy.