The Piano – film NZ

Seven weeks ago I was cycling in the pouring rain with snow in my face in the middle of London and now I am here. This is my extended family. It’s pie judgement day. Today is home brew day. Are we gonna go surfing?

You may recognise the rock behind me and the beach in fact, it’s the beach where The Piano was filmed. I will be coming down here, interviewing some of the local people about the impact that the film had on the local community and on New Zealand as a whole.


Karekare beach sits to the western sea side of the Waitakere ranges which rise up to the west of Auckland. I am here to meet with a very special person whose name is Bob Harvey, and he is the Mayor of the Waitakere region and a massive supporter of both the West and Karekare.
Mayor: I am Bob Harvey and I’ve been the lifeguard here for 50 years. I think there’s a huge spiritual significance here that I reckon on this coastline from Karekare to Whatipu.

Something exists which I…. I can’t put my, my finger on. I am so proud it was filmed here, I think Campion did a great job, she was attracted to this beach. It had that kind of mysticism that I am talking about, that spiritual darkness. She crafted an amazingly beautiful movie. The Maori had a… a name for it – The Sea of Women. This is the sea of Tane, women swim on the east coast, men swim on the west coast. You could never look or be a ”westy”, you are an Englishman aboard.
Terrible, look at that!
You look alright to me and maybe some “westy” chick might just throw you into a pit and make you a man.
I am here to meet with Kubi Witten-Hanna who is long-term Karekare resident, bloody good bloke and he also appears in the film, so I am really excited to meet him.
I am a school-careers advisor and I have lived out here at Karekare since I was 18. So I remember the first day they came out when they were scouting and visiting the surf club. They were looking for some older, sort of rough looking characters amongst the surf club members that they could use in the film and I was chosen for that.
Do you think it was a good thing to that they did it hear?
Some people resent the fact, despite that’s it has attracted more people to Karakare, it has I mean, ever since over the last 15 years.
The sand’s built up a lot more since Piano was filmed in the last 15 years. At that time the, you know the waves were breaking on the rocks of the south end as well which is the end the beach where the film was made here and so it had that sort of, high cliff, imposing, sort of rugged, closed in, sort of quality more than any other beaches.
We’ll go down and have a look at some of the sites where filming took place. Francis this is where Aider stopped for a pee just on their way back, way heading back in land with the piano.

That would have been some very embarrassing moment.
Yeah, and the whole time she was around here, looked pretty uncomfortable.
Jane Campion is such a perfectionist. Those, really just a few second when I was involved with her, from the beginning that took three and a half days of filming. But I really admire her direction because she knew exactly what she wanted and she made sure she got it. She was really very positive the whole time but you had to definitely know what she wanted or you’d have to do it again, and again and again.

Just out here is where the boat actually came ashore with Holly Hunter, Adi, Ada sorry in the boat and so on, and the chickens and all of that brought all the luggage to shore all up here.
One thing I was wondering with Holly Hunter, she won the first, the first Oscar ever for anyone with a non-speaking part and probably the only person who will ever win an Oscar and not speak in a movie but she must have had to spend so much time saying nothing.
It was good to talk to her when she wasn’t saying.
All I am saying is that she would have probably been desperate to talk to someone.
Yeah.. She had this real southern brawl, you know, I remember I did something for her at one stage, I gave her a photo, you know that I had taken with my digital camera, you know. ‘Well thank you, you lovely man’
Language – how to say the words properly, so you don’t look like an arse.