Planning a trip to New Zealand and looking for some movies to watch to get ready for the journey? You’ll be surprised how many great feature films New Zealand has produced, despite being a such a remote country with a small population of 4.3 million (plus 40 million sheep, cows, deers…). And because responsible travelling means to be aware of your destination’s history and culture, here are two of our favourite New Zealand movies to watch before you visit Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud.

New Zealand Movies to Watch Before Your Trip

Boy (2010)

Boy is a distinctively New Zealand movie that offers some insight into the country’s storytelling and humour. It explores the “painful comedy of growing up and interpreting the world” and shows that “although there is often darkness, there are also little bits of light to encourage hope and hold on to possibility.” Watch the trailer below and, if you like it, buy the movie as DVD – a little audiovisual treasure worth having at home!

Whale Rider (2002)

Directed by Niki Caro, Whale Rider (based on Witi Ihimaera’s novel) is set at the East Coast town of Whāngārā. The movie tells the tale of a young Māori girl, Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes), who challenges tradition and embraces the past in order to find the strength to lead her people forward. A beautiful story worth reading (book) and watching (DVD).

Want more?

If you are into documentaries, don’t miss out the Documentary Edge Festival, New Zealand’s only and Australasia’s premiere international documentary film festival held annually in Auckland and Wellington.

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Movies to Watch Before Visiting New Zealand
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