Auckland creative industries enrich the cultural and economic life of Tāmaki Makaurau and its diverse communities. The city’s vision is to become a global creative capital.
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s creative industries generate employment for more than 57,500 people and more than half of Aotearoa New Zealand’s $7.8 billion (2022) creative sector GDP. They enjoyed around 5.4 per cent average growth over the five years to 2022, outpacing the rest of Auckland’s economy. The games industry alone earned $407m in the year ending March 2022.
Auckland has an international reputation as a filming destination that offers a top quality, cost-effective and conducive environment for screen production and post-production. There’s a strong talent pool and an extensive range of facilities, as well as easy access to locations. Filming activities are supported by a dedicated film office, Screen Auckland, operating for more than 15 years. Nearly half of all New Zealand screen industry businesses are in Auckland and more than a third of the country’s game developers are located here.
The creative sector in Auckland can be considered an “advanced industry” due to its synergies with the tech sector. The different industries operating within Auckland include: film and television production / post-production / visual effects and animation / advertising and design / gaming / augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) / TV and radio broadcasting / music / performing arts / photography / publishing / architecture / software design.
Spaces and places
Auckland offers a huge choice of production facilities all within a 30-minute drive from the airport or city centre. Auckland Film Studios has hosted dozens of international television series, commercials and feature film productions. A 27ha site and backlot at Kumeu Film Studios features New Zealand’s largest stage area, two water tanks and permanent green screen wall. X3 Studios is the most flexible turn-key studio in New Zealand and was specifically designed for large scale ‘build the world’ productions. Click Studios is a social enterprise coworking space set up for creative tech companies and individuals to rapidly upskill and become internationally focused.
Planning is underway to strengthen and expand Auckland’s creative industries sector through the development of Te Puna Creative Quarter, Henderson. The vision is that Te Puna will be a circuit of creative industries, linking the heart of west Auckland’s Henderson with close by Corban Estate Arts Centre, Auckland Film Studios, integrated services and education providers.
There are competitive government rebates for local and international productions that choose to film in New Zealand. New Zealand Film Commission is responsible for administering the scheme. International productions are eligible for a rebate of 20 per cent of Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure (QNZPE). Productions which can demonstrate they will bring significant economic benefits to New Zealand, can get an extra five per cent uplift. New Zealand productions are eligible for a rebate of 40 per cent of QNZPE. Settings have recently been reviewed to make the rebates simpler to use. The government has also introduced a 20 per cent Game Development Sector Rebate to help grow that industry.
International screen studios and major productions filming in Auckland find a highly experienced local film industry with skilled production professionals and smooth operations.
Incentives are extremely competitive against other countries. Producers can make the most of government rebates for local and international productions.
Locations abound, from urban grit to remote rainforest, sparkling beaches to volcanic cones, tranquil waterfalls to rugged coastlines.
There’s world class infrastructure including huge water tanks, green screens and stages available across multiple film studios.
Auckland’s network of talented screen industry professionals includes experienced cast, crew and production experts, used to working to a range of budgets.
In post-production there are also highly talented visual effects and virtual production professionals and innovators, as well as a dynamic game design and development scene.
Dean Hall is the CEO of one of Auckland’s top game studios, RocketWerkz. Founded in 2015, RocketWerkz secured a strategic investment from Chinese internet giant Tencent the following year. In 2023, Hall joined a Kiwi trade mission to China where he was eager to tap into the world’s largest video gaming market, saying “China effectively offers us the same size of market as the rest of the world”. The company produces the popular Icarus and Stationeers games and believes there’s considerable opportunity to grow gaming revenues in New Zealand. The Rocketwerkz team features alumni from Bethesda, Activision, Wētā FX, Grinding Gear Games, Bohemia Interactive and the worlds of film and animation.