A new film showcasing Whakatāne to visitors hopes to give viewers a glimpse of the true essence of the Eastern Bay of Plenty town, by featuring locals enjoying what they love about the place.

Produced with a small budget, unpaid local personalities take viewers on a journey from dawn till dusk, set amongst the area’s stunning scenery and experiences.

Whakatāne District Council Tourism and Events Marketing Advisor Anna Williams said it was important to capture the lifestyle and culture of Whakatāne people as that is what makes the place so special.

“We frequently hear visitors tell us how warm and welcoming locals are which stems from our laid-back way of life and a true appreciation of the beautiful place where we live. To capture this, it made sense to feature local people doing what they love.”

The film was purposely filmed through autumn and winter to highlight Whakatāne and Ōhope as not just a peak-summer destination. Mrs Williams said a core focus for Whakatāne’s destination management planning was to encourage the spread of visitors throughout all seasons.

“Whakatāne locals are incredibly passionate about protecting our place. Our role in this is ensuring we are not overloaded with tourists for only two months of the year.”

Encouraging visitors during traditional off-peak months also supported local business to be viable year-round and Mrs Williams said visitors might be surprised at what Whakatāne had to offer for a winter escape.

“As this film shows, we have an enviable climate which means outdoor activities can be enjoyed throughout the year. Other regions in New Zealand aren’t so lucky. If you want to get away from the hustle for a mid-winter break, you might be pleasantly surprised with what Whakatāne has to offer. The general response from first-time visitors is, “wow you’re so lucky to live here.”

The film titled, “Whakatāne – Our People, Our Place, Welcome,” will be followed by smaller productions telling stories about Whakatāne and its people. Capturing personalities from the whole district, the films aim to reiterate the message of Whakatāne as a place with diverse people and landscapes, resulting in memorable experiences for visitors.