'Wellywood' thriving as film permits increase

New figures show "Wellywood" is living up to its name, but Auckland is gaining momentum for production of big and small screen items.

Wellington is still a big player in the industry but Auckland’s also seeing more screen time. Source: 1 NEWS

Figures released to 1 NEWS show 515 permits were issued to film in Wellington, up from 398 in the year to June 2017.

This comes as the Government looks at more ways it can support the growing industry.

Those permits are worth around $93.2 million to the regional economy, but the Wellington screen industry as a whole was worth $685 million.

That figure includes permits, post-production, sound, visual, costumes, props, and set construction.

But Auckland is gaining momentum on the capital. For the 2017/18 year, Screen Auckland issued 605 permits for filming, 567 were issued the year before.

While New Zealand is known for helping produce some blockbusters, the permits were for a range of productions.

In Wellington, the new TV series Wellington Paranormal was one of the permits issued.

Some of the different productions include 13 TV series, 51 short films, 33 commercials, 21 documentaries, two feature films and 102 other projects including music videos, corporate videos, travel shows and web series.

Permits were up 25 per cent on the previous year.

The Wellington Regional Economic Development agency said Wellington has a world renowned reputation as being an easy place to do business.

"Our screen industry is becoming more diverse. The sector is a key part of Wellington’s economy and brings world-class talent and visitors from all over the world to our shores," David Jones, WREDA's General Manager of Business Growth and Innovation said.

That growth is something the Government wants to see more of.

There are already a range of initiatives in place to support the screen sector, including subsidies.

The Government also funds agencies such as the Film Commission, NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho and provides support through the New Zealand Screen Production Grant.

The grant provides cash for film and television. Hunt for the Wilderpeople was one on the films that received the grant.

But the Government plans to take things a step further.

The Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage is looking into the development of a possible "Screen Sector Strategy" which will look at ways to increase the economic contribution to the screen sector.

More details will be made on the strategy as the policy is developed.

Further support showing the industry is likely to keep growing in New Zealand.