NZ ‘a playground beyond your dreams’ says American star

Bryce Dallas Howard is spreading her love for New Zealand as our newest tourism voice in the US.

The Pete’s Dragon and Jurassic World star has teamed up with National Geographic Travel, directing a trip across New Zealand, exploring spectacular parts of the country. 

A six-part video series and online content follows Howard through the Bay of Islands, Waipoua Forest, Wellington and Queenstown. 

 She will also star in Tourism New Zealand’s digital ad campaigns in the US and Canada and promote New Zealand in media appearances in the US. 

A long-time fan of New Zealand, Howard travelled here in April this year to film the videos which are built around her favourite places and experiences. As creative director, she was heavily involved in mapping the story, including selecting content themes, locations and video style.

She says: “Many people assume New Zealand is too far without realizing that the wealth of experiences the country has to offer makes the travel time completely worth it. I’ve been surprised how quickly the time on that flight passes each time I’ve travelled there. It’s really just a night’s sleep away and once you’re there, you’ve arrived at heaven on earth.” 

 Howard’s lifelong relationship with New Zealand began as a child when she joined her father on a film set in Queenstown. While filming for Disney’s Pete’s Dragon in 2015, Bryce spent time in Wellington, the Bay of Plenty and Southland.

During Pete’s Dragon filming, she lived for a time at Mt Maunganui where her children went to school. She later moved to Tapanui where she lived on a farm and loved it. “When I spend time in New Zealand, I always admire the importance Kiwis place on embracing nature and being outside. Just as much as the setting, it’s this gratitude for the planet and the lifestyle formed from it that makes me love this country so much.”

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen England-Hall says Bryce Dallas Howard is a perfect fit for the role as New Zealand’s tourism ambassador in the United States. “When you have someone of Bryce’s calibre who genuinely loves your country and you pair that with National Geographic Travel, world renowned destination storytellers, magic happens. The videos are very natural and a perfect reflection of the very special experience New Zealand has to offer. 

 “We know from past experience of working with celebrities like China’s Huang Lei or India’s Sidharth Malhotra that their influence through digital and social media can be enormous. There is significant potential to grow the US market which is being helped by the increase in airline capacity and having a tourism ambassador of the calibre of Bryce Dallas Howard is a great opportunity to help grow that market.”

America is New Zealand’s third largest international visitor market. 210,000 Americans took a holiday in New Zealand in the past year (YE May), a 32 per cent increase on the previous year.