When it comes to making movies, Hawke's Bay has it all. The mountain ranges, rivers reaching down to our beaches partnered with nationally significant architectural, rural and town scenes, not to mention a rich history of Maori and European culture.
One would hope then, that our two enterprising National MPs Craig Foss and Chris Tremain would have highlighted this fact to Prime Minister John Key before his controversial trip across the Pacific to woo Hollywood heavyweights.
Film New Zealand's register covering the period from 1977 to 2010, showed only six movies had been made or had scenes filmed in Hawke's Bay. The most recent was This Way of Life, made in 2009, which was the winner of Best Documentary and Best Director (Thomas Burstyn) at the Qantas Film and Television Awards.
While this production must be commended, a look at film productions in other regions showed we're missing out.
In the Taranaki region, for example, there had been 13 movies made during the same period and one of the more notable was The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise, in 2003. Cast and crew spent 18 months in the 'Naki making the movie, no doubt generating returns for the local economy.
The NZ Film office works regularly overseas to encourage international movie makers to our shores and from there it's largely up to regional film offices to take the next step.
The Hawke's Bay Film office was established a couple of years ago and was one of eight in the country including Auckland, Central (Waikato/Bay of Plenty), Taranaki, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.
The office was led by producers Tessa Tylee, Mirabel Brook and Gilly Lawrence. Industry regulations dictate the office may not make money from the work it completes for producers, so it relied heavily on funding from the private or public sectors. So far the Hastings District Council had approved $25,000 in recent years to help the film office promote the region to international movie scouts and producers.
The money was largely being used to upgrade the office's website with images showing off the region's locations ideal for filming.
And the work was beginning to show signs of reward. Two years ago director Alex Galvin came to Hawke's Bay looking for locations to film his new sci-fi movie, Eternity. A number of groups were involved in hosting the production including Film Hawke's Bay which co-ordinated its time here, organised locations and accommodation.
It appears Galvin fell in love with the Hawke's Bay Opera House in Hastings, one of the locations he used, and decided that when the movie was finished it should have its New Zealand premiere inside its theatre in November.
The kudos of hosting the movie, and, hopefully, its actors and producers, could have knock-on benefits for the region. Film Hawke's Bay planned to host location scouts and producers at the time of the premiere to show what the region had to offer. We all know politicians are attracted to cameras, so perhaps our film office would like to invite our MPs to the premiere to walk the red carpet into the opera house. Who knows, maybe Mr Key could be convinced to come along with a few of his new Hollywood mates.