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Biggest Loser Auckland episode wins Directors Guild of America Award

Auckland is in the limelight in the United States with an episode of the Biggest Loser reality show winning a prestigious Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award.

The Auckland episode - one of two filmed in New Zealand in 2011 - has won the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programmes category over the popular shows of Master Chef, Fear Factor and The Amazing Race.

ATEED supported Tourism New Zealand to host the contestants and crew from this high profile TV show in Auckland in 2011.  The accolade was announced at the 64th Annual DGA Awards Dinner in Los Angeles over the weekend, and is the first win for Director Neil De Groot

ATEED Manager Tourism Jason Hill says it's fantastic for Auckland to take this esteemed title.

"It's an outstanding result and a big win to have Auckland highlighted to the key United States visitor market.  The initial show provided significant profile for Auckland and we expect that this will result in repeat views and interest," he says.

"The profile for Auckland also bodes well ahead of the launch of the pending United Airlines flights from Houston to Auckland."

Promoted in the USA as 'can't miss' an audience of 7.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the Auckland episode of the Biggest Loser last year.

The popular television programme began with the contestants flying Air New Zealand to Auckland. During the show the final nine contestants hit the ground running with a sprint up Auckland's iconic Sky Tower and an adrenaline-pumping SkyJump.  They also sailed an America's Cup yacht and pumped out workouts in the Auckland Domain and on North Head against a backdrop of the Waitemata Harbour.  Finally the couples were put through their paces with a triathlon at Bethells Beach on Auckland's west coast, with the winning pair enjoying a helicopter flight and vineyard lunch on Waiheke Island.

Tourism New Zealand's General Manager Western Markets, Gregg Anderson, said having New Zealand showcased in this way was a major coup.

"To have an episode of The Biggest Loser showcasing New Zealand win a DGA award is very exciting and shows that New Zealand can provide a fantastic backdrop to create reality television."

The United States is Auckland and New Zealand's third largest visitor market behind the United Kingdom and Australia.  Last year there were 149,254. American visitors to Auckland (to December 2011).

Joint media announcement: ATEED and Tourism New Zealand

Notes to editors:

ATEED was established by the Auckland Council to improve New Zealand's economic prosperity by helping lead the successful transformation of Auckland's economy.

For further information please contact:
Jo Mackie, Destination Communications Manager
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Ltd
Ph (09) 979 7062 or 021 227 7062

Leah Phelps, Senior Communications Advisor
Tourism New Zealand
Ph 021 843 896