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Auckland, New Zealand, already a world-class film and television production hub, has boosted its capacity with the launch of two new state-of-the-art sound stages. The facilities were unveiled Thursday at Auckland Film Studios in Henderson by Auckland’s mayor Wayne Brown and Screen Auckland manager Matt Horrocks, along with New Zealand’s minister for arts, culture and heritage, Carmel Sepuloni.
At approximately 22,000 square feet each (2,000 square meters), the expansion means Auckland Film Studios now has five stages totaling more than 80,700 square feet (7,500 square meters). The year-long construction project was made possible by $20 million (NZ$30 million) in funding from the New Zealand Government, with the remaining $5 million (NZ$7.5 million) from studio owner, the Auckland Council.
Screen Auckland manager Matt Horrocks says the new stages were built to meet the growing demand of the past five years for studio space and quality content — despite the interregnum of the pandemic. The two new stages are already booked, with a production due to start work there in the new year. Recent projects to shoot at Auckland Film Studios have included The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Amazon Prime) and Sweet Tooth (Netflix).
“Auckland has earned a reputation for the world-class studios, coupled with highly-skilled crew,” says Horrocks. “These studios were designed with the input of senior screen producers who understand the needs of premium productions, making this an attractive proposition in a start-of-the-art space that is only 30 minutes’ drive from the city centre and sought-after west Auckland coastline locations.”
Sound stage space in Auckland has grown to more than almost 345,000 square feet (nearly 32,000 square meters) in the past decade, as demand from Hollywood and regional productions has grown.
The new stages were gifted the name “Te Pūtahi’” (“to join and intersect”) by the local Māori iwi, Te Kawerau a Maki, as a place where people will meet to make creative works for the world stage, according to Screen Auckland.
Auckland’s Mayor Brown added: “Auckland is proud to have played a critical role in the development of New Zealand’s screen production industry. The two new stages mean AFS can now cater for much larger single productions, or multiple smaller productions at once. They strengthen AFS and Auckland as a screen destination at a time when New Zealand’s global reputation for big budget productions is growing.”
The mayor says the expansion is expected to deliver hundreds of high-skilled screen production jobs and additional support for the region’s more than 2,000 screen production-based businesses.
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