A few issues around foreign imports have my attention at the moment.

One is that I am after a new car. I’ve been bidding on cars on auction in Japan, and if successful, it will be sent to New Zealand by boat.

Another is the news that the Tourism industry in New Zealand expects international visitor spending to increase by 48 per cent to $11.1 billion by 2020, with an increase in international visitor numbers to grow from 2.9 million in 2014 to 3.75 million by 2021.

To cope with the expected demand over the next 10 years, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise says we need another 26 hotels.

The numbers for Tourism speak for themselves. But with the unexpected upsurge particularly from China, we are beginning to get swamped, with a corresponding strain on infrastructure. Already, questions are being raised at ground level about how many tourists we can handle, want to, and what the quality of that tourism should be.

Meanwhile in Queenstown, Film Otago Southland head Kevin Jennings (KJ) was recently on Radio New Zealand saying that it’s becoming extremely difficult to find hotel rooms for visiting crews because of tourism demand, and with the cost of accommodation rising because rooms are at a premium, production budgets are blowing out so much that productions are going elsewhere.

In addition to Queenstown, KJ mentioned that Auckland struggles with crew accommodation from time to time. And as many who work in the international production sector in Auckland are aware, the region continues to miss out on international productions while Auckland flounders around from proposed site to proposed site while trying to convince councillors of the value of film and TV and the need to help fund a modern, purpose-built studio precinct. On top of that, with the debilitating effect of the non-competitive film & TV incentives of 2012/13 resulting in many highly experienced crew giving up on the industry or fleeing offshore, there are often crew shortages in key areas.

Domestic production isn’t abating, even with the static funding the industry suffers from—the issue is making it on the funding available when costs have been escalating year on year. Adding to the increase in production activity is NZ content being made with funding from elsewhere and going straight offshore, stimulated by the government incentives.

It’s those incentives that are driving international production here, too. Unless we become significantly uncompetitive against other countries—which could happen—the interest in shooting here will only continue.

It seems at least to me that if everything continues to conspire positively as is happening now, we can expect the amount of production being done in New Zealand to increase.

The New Zealand tourism industry running around intoxicated with its success and still pushing for quantity over quality is only going to exacerbate the woes for productions in New Zealand, domestic and international. A good indicator that a bit of planning could be necessary on our part.

Perhaps it’s time for someone to develop a national film and television strategy that also takes into account the interrelated nature of how we in the New Zealand film and television production sector operate within the overall New Zealand business environment. An overarching strategy should help us head off issues and develop plans that will ensure the New Zealand production sector has a good future as we head toward what looks like a busier one for many of us.

The imported car thing? A bit of a red herring, really. But for information’s sake, in 2015 the Motor Trade Association identified 143,642 used imported vehicle sales. In 2016, I am hoping to add one to the total.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director


Last updated on 26 February 2018


1 June 2016

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ) is excited to announce DEGNZ member and director Jackie van Beek as the recipient of the 2016 International Director Mentorship – Drama with renowned New Zealand director Niki Caro.

Caro will provide one-on-one mentorship to Van Beek on her projects and career, offering genuine insight into creative process and engagement with the industry as a whole, while providing a solid platform upon which to build an international career.

“Jackie van Beek is an exciting film maker with a strong and original point of view, and I’m thrilled to be able to support her in this stage of her career,” said Caro.

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to meet and spend time with Niki Caro. I look forward to discussing directing, parenting and everything in between,” Van Beek said.

Niki Caro is most well known in New Zealand for her hit feature film Whale Rider, which touched audiences worldwide. It was a critical and box office success and earned Kiwi actor Keisha Castle-Hughes an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Caro went on to an international directing career that saw her make films with the likes of Charlize Theron in North Country, Kevin Costner in McFarland, USA, and Jessica Chastain and Daniel Brühl in The Zookeeper’s Wife. Her next film, Callas, is a biopic on operatic singer Maria Callas, starring Noomi Rapace.

“We are so pleased to have a Kiwi actively working on the international stage in director Niki Caro, mentoring one of our emerging directing talents,” said DEGNZ Executive Director Tui Ruwhiu. “Jackie will benefit immeaureably, learning from a New Zealander who has been there and done it.”

The International Director Mentorship is an initiative funded by the New Zealand Film Commission and managed by DEGNZ. This latest mentorship is one of a small number awarded over the last two years that has seen filmmaker Tusi Tamasese in a director mentorship with Sundance Artistic Director Gyula Gazdag, docmentary maker Bryn Evans paired with Canadian documentary filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal (Watermark, Manufactured Landscapes), editor Cushla Dillon with expat Kiwi editor Justine Wright (Locke, Iron Lady, The Last King of Scotland), and editor Tom Eagles matched with Australian editor Dany Cooper (Holding the Man, The Sapphires).


For further information, please contact:

Tui Ruwhiu

Executive Director

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ



Jackie van Beek works as an actress, writer and director in theatre and film. She lives with her young family in Auckland.

Jackie comes from a theatre background. She has had a string of plays commissioned and produced, and has devised and toured comedy shows in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

During her time in Australia she began to write and direct short films. A number of them, shot both in Australia and New Zealand, have seen success at festivals nationally and internationally.

Jackie directed her debut feature film, Inland Road, in 2015. The film is currently in post production. She has a number of other features in various stages of development.

Niki Caro graduated from Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 1988, then got a diploma at Melbourne’s Swinburne Film and Television School. Returning to New Zealand, she wrote and directed several short films and TV dramas.

In 1992, her short Sure To Rise was selected to compete at the Cannes Film Festival in France. Caro’s first feature film Memory and Desire was selected for Critics Week at Cannes in 1998. But it was follow-up feature Whale Rider that brought Caro to a large international audience. The film took more than 27 awards, including audience awards for favourite film at Toronto, Sundance and Rotterdam, and best film and director at Seattle. First-time screen actor, 12-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes, was Oscar-nominated for her role in the film as a young East Coast Māori girl struggling to establish her place in her community.

Caro went on to her debut Hollywood feature North Country, starring Charlize Theron. She followed with The Vintner’s Luck, which saw her reunite with Whale Rider star Castle-Hughes.

In early 2015, Caro directed Kevin Costner in McFarland USA. In 2016, she will complete her latest feature, The Zookeeper’s Wife, starring Jessica Chastain and Daniel Brühl, then move on to shoot Callas, a biopic of operatic singer Maria Callas, to be played by Noomi Rapace.

Niki Caro’s work also includes episodes of 90s TV series Jackson’s Wharf, and a number of music videos, including an awardwinning interpretation of Straitjacket Fits song Bad Note for a Heart.

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is a not-for-profit membership organisation that represents Directors and Editors in the New Zealand screen industry. This includes Directors and Editors of feature drama and documentary; television drama, documentary and factual programmes; short films; video art; animation; commercials and web content.

DEGNZ’s two primary roles are advocacy and professional development. We:

  • are dedicated to promoting excellence in the arts of directing and editing.
  • foster collegiality and unity within the screen industry.
  • promote members’ creative and economic rights.
  • work to improve industry working conditions and remuneration.
  • offer professional advice and information on contracts and industry standards and practice.
  • offer professional development events, networking opportunities, career advice, dispute resolution, mentoring, workshops, training, discounts and regular news bulletins for members across all levels of expertise, from novices to seasoned professionals.
  • are a voice for Directors and Editors in influencing policy in the interest of our members. We do this through our membership of the pan‐industry group SINZ (Screen Industry New Zealand), and by making submissions to government and public officials.
  • Internationally work co-operatively with other guilds and we belong to the International Affiliation of English‐Speaking Directors’ Organisations (IEASDO).

DEGNZ is Auckland-based with an office in Grey Lynn.


Contact Details:

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

Level 2, 66 Surrey Crescent

Grey Lynn

P.O. Box 47-294, Ponsonby








Last updated on 10 April 2018