One of the films that cemented Taika Waititi’s standing as a visionary director was the Kiwi classic ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople.’ The movie lays the groundwork for the esteemed director’s foray into the mainstream, big-budget Hollywood flicks like ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and ‘Jojo Rabbit.’ In ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople,’ a nationwide manhunt tries to pin down a son and his foster father who flee deep into the New Zealand bush. The Kiwi film stars Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rhys Darby, and Rima Te Wiata.
‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ makes New Zealand the star of the film. The film takes us on a mesmerizing tour of the New Zealand bush, i.e., its native forests. While ‘Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ comes close, no other film captures New Zealand at its finest as well as ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ does. How does Waititi bring out the magic and splendor of the island country on film? Don’t worry, we have got your back!
Hunt for the Wilderpeople Filming Locations
It’s been reported that approximately 95% of the movie was shot in the magnificent outdoors. The shooting took place over the course of just four weeks, in various locales around New Zealand, and wrapped up in mid-June 2015. Notably, only a single camera was used during the entirety of the filming process. Let’s take a look at the specific filming sites!
A significant portion of filming was carried out in the famed Waitakere Ranges, located in New Zealand’s North Island, where Hec and Ricky spend most of their time while on the run from law enforcement. The Waitakere Ranges spans a staggering 39,500 acres. Across its length and breadth, the Waitakere Ranges is saturated in dense forestry. A copious amount of hiking trails makes filming all the more easy and accessible.
Eventually, an on-foot hunt for the miscreant duo turns into a high-octane car chase sequence as the oddball pair of Hec and Ricky tries to get away from the authorities in a 1984 Toyota Hilux ‘Crumpie’. En route, Hec and Ricky burst forth from the Kiwi bush and onto desolate desert land. Awe-inducing scenes of snow-covered peaks that form the backdrop of this desert were filmed at the Alpine Crossing, Tongariro National Park. Next, exterior shots for Hec’s sprawling farm were filmed in Puhoi, a historic village located on the banks of the Puhoi River. Interiors for the farm were filmed in Suburban Oratia, West Auckland.
Despite pristine locations being at their disposal, shooting was no piece of cake for the ‘Wilderpeople’ team. Shoots were often disrupted or delayed owing to the harsh weather conditions and sometimes even blizzards. Yet, they trudged on. Production designer Neville Stevenson relived the experience, saying, “We’re very lucky to have amazing locations and lots of great nature at our disposal. We went into production embracing the fact it was going to be hard with the weather, and prepared to shoot whatever the conditions.”
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