Our Other Websites

Ghost in the Shell puts New Zealand in the picture

The release of the epic sci-fi movie Ghost in the Shell has again put the spotlight on New Zealand as a special place to visit. The film opens in New Zealand today.

Starring Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, and Juliette Binoche Ghost in the Shell was filmed primarily at Stone Street Studios in Wellington, with a key scene filmed in downtown Wellington. 

Many of the cast and crew spent months living like locals in the capital and some were able to travel around New Zealand during their breaks. 

René de Monchy, Tourism New Zealand’s Director of PR, Trade and Major Events says Ghost in the Shell is just the latest in a series of big productions being filmed in New Zealand. “It gives us another chance to promote New Zealand and everything we have to offer. It reinforces the fact that we can provide a warm and welcoming place to visit, and highlights our message that everything is easily accessible.” 

Actor Scarlett Johansson, who plays the role of “Major” in the film adaptation of the famous Japanese manga, said Wellington was one of the best cities she’d worked in. “It has an outdoorsy vibe and it is so nice on your days off to be able to walk by the harbour, drive to the mountains or go hiking in the bush.”

On one of her days off she visited Wellington Zoo with her daughter, and came away incredibly impressed. “We are big fans of the Wellington Zoo. It is an awesome zoo and they have a great conservation programme. You can get really hands-on, there are really cool animal encounters, and you can support the conservation programme."

Ghost in the Shell Producer Ari Arad says Wellington has been a perfect location for filming. 

“The nice thing about Wellington is you’re sort of plugged into the heart of some really unspoiled, natural landscape. You don’t have to go very far to see places that only exist here in the whole world and are staggeringly beautiful.”

Films have a powerful influence over people choosing where they want to travel. The Hobbit Trilogy is still responsible for attracting one in five visitors to New Zealand. 

”This is another great opportunity for us to promote New Zealand as a tourism destination with diverse, unique landscapes alongside welcoming people,” said Mr de Monchy.  

Actor Pilou Asbæk “Batou” says for him, visiting Rotorua with his family was a highlight.

“Rotorua is a city full of Maori culture and great activities.  We had a wonderful time luging, visiting the geothermal area and zip lining through the beautiful native bush.” 

Meanwhile Juliette Binoche “Dr. Ouelet” was able to take in the sights of Canterbury. “It was just beautiful. Just to be amongst the elements, the sea, the air, the earth, the animals, the plants, the minerals. It is sort of the essence of creation and it was wonderful to just breathe in and take some time feeling the sun. It is so necessary, especially when you work so hard and travel a lot.” 

New Zealand is the official filming location for Ghost in the Shell and Tourism New Zealand, the New Zealand Film Commission and Paramount Pictures are working together on marketing and PR and activities to support its release. The collaboration comes as a result of New Zealand’s international film incentive programme (the New Zealand Screen Production Grant)”.