A Wrinkle in Time films New Zealand vistas

Ava DuVernay’s Disney movie A Wrinkle in Time filmed key scenes on location in New Zealand, featuring the country as a fantastical world.

Ava DuVernay’s Disney movie A Wrinkle in Time filmed key scenes on location in New Zealand, featuring the country as a fantastical world.

Based on a popular book first published in 1962, the story follows a young girl’s adventures as three strange beings send her on a mission to the far reaches of the universe to rescue her missing explorer father.

A Wrinkle in Time films New Zealand vistas
A Wrinkle in Time

The New Zealand leg of the Wrinkle in Time shoot spanned just a few weeks, complementing a production schedule that – unusually for a big-budget feature – focussed on California in a move that was only made possible when Disney secured a historic tax credit payment.

A more expansive planned location shoot for New Zealand was eventually reduced in scale partly because the schedule failed to match the right seasonal conditions. Nonetheless, the country offered key locations that met the team’s needs.

New Zealand is internationally renowned for its mountainous visuals and some of the Disney producers on A Wrinkle in Time had worked there in recent years on the studio’s remake of Pete’s Dragon.

DuVernay and her team needed specifically lush, green locations for their story. This involved ensuring that local vegetation was kept in a similar state from the initial scouts through to the actual shoot dates, a period of time that spanned seasons.

A Wrinkle in Time

Clayton Tikao was the supervising location manager for the New Zealand leg of the film’s shoot.

“Four locations were shot in New Zealand and all on the South Island,” Tikao tells KFTV. “The overall brief was ‘grand and beautiful’. Looks that did not require any imagination, had the ‘wow’ factor and looked ‘otherworldly’.

“The Lake Hawea location (in Otago) was the first of the locations to be locked in. The location was scouted in spring and was of course lush and green. We were scheduled to shoot in February, which is the height of summer in New Zealand so provisions were made to maintain the green nature of our location via irrigation."

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in New Zealand and for local contacts


“Weather conditions conspired against us and the rains stopped earlier than normal so the irrigation required was increased markedly to keep the ground from changing colour," says Tikao. "We ended up irrigating over 50 acres on a hilltop and this presented logistical issues and constant monitoring.

“The scout for this location was extensive. The location brief was an island or small hill in the middle of a lake surrounded by 360 degrees of mountains.”

A sheep farm further north near the town of Twizel provided 30 acres of barley and rye grass fields required for scenes needing long dry grass that would sway gently in the wind.

A Wrinkle in Time

“The final key location was beside a lake called Lake Pukaki near New Zealand’s largest mountain - Aoraki Mt Cook in the middle of the Southern Alps," says Tikao.

“The lake is famed for its bright aqua colour as a result of the glaciers feeding the rivers leading into the lake. Like the Lake Hawea location, extensive irrigation was required to maintain a green grass colour due to the dry summer.”

New Zealand remains a popular international filming location, with generous incentive support making its alpine visuals a more viable production choice.

Tom Cruise has been another recent visitor for the action sequel Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which saw the actor/producer piloting a helicopter for a dramatic aerial chase sequence that was also shot in the country’s Central Otago region.

Images: Disney Enterprises

A Wrinkle in Time films New Zealand vistas
A Wrinkle in Time

Ava DuVernay’s Disney movie A Wrinkle in Time filmed key scenes on location in New Zealand, featuring the country as a fantastical world.

Based on a popular book first published in 1962, the story follows a young girl’s adventures as three strange beings send her on a mission to the far reaches of the universe to rescue her missing explorer father.

The New Zealand leg of the Wrinkle in Time shoot spanned just a few weeks, complementing a production schedule that – unusually for a big-budget feature – focussed on California in a move that was only made possible when Disney secured a historic tax credit payment.

A more expansive planned location shoot for New Zealand was eventually reduced in scale partly because the schedule failed to match the right seasonal conditions. Nonetheless, the country offered key locations that met the team’s needs.

New Zealand is internationally renowned for its mountainous visuals and some of the Disney producers on A Wrinkle in Time had worked there in recent years on the studio’s remake of Pete’s Dragon.

DuVernay and her team needed specifically lush, green locations for their story. This involved ensuring that local vegetation was kept in a similar state from the initial scouts through to the actual shoot dates, a period of time that spanned seasons.

A Wrinkle in Time

Clayton Tikao was the supervising location manager for the New Zealand leg of the film’s shoot.

“Four locations were shot in New Zealand and all on the South Island,” Tikao tells KFTV. “The overall brief was ‘grand and beautiful’. Looks that did not require any imagination, had the ‘wow’ factor and looked ‘otherworldly’.

“The Lake Hawea location (in Otago) was the first of the locations to be locked in. The location was scouted in spring and was of course lush and green. We were scheduled to shoot in February, which is the height of summer in New Zealand so provisions were made to maintain the green nature of our location via irrigation."

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in New Zealand and for local contacts


“Weather conditions conspired against us and the rains stopped earlier than normal so the irrigation required was increased markedly to keep the ground from changing colour," says Tikao. "We ended up irrigating over 50 acres on a hilltop and this presented logistical issues and constant monitoring.

“The scout for this location was extensive. The location brief was an island or small hill in the middle of a lake surrounded by 360 degrees of mountains.”

A sheep farm further north near the town of Twizel provided 30 acres of barley and rye grass fields required for scenes needing long dry grass that would sway gently in the wind.

A Wrinkle in Time

“The final key location was beside a lake called Lake Pukaki near New Zealand’s largest mountain - Aoraki Mt Cook in the middle of the Southern Alps," says Tikao.

“The lake is famed for its bright aqua colour as a result of the glaciers feeding the rivers leading into the lake. Like the Lake Hawea location, extensive irrigation was required to maintain a green grass colour due to the dry summer.”

New Zealand remains a popular international filming location, with generous incentive support making its alpine visuals a more viable production choice.

Tom Cruise has been another recent visitor for the action sequel Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which saw the actor/producer piloting a helicopter for a dramatic aerial chase sequence that was also shot in the country’s Central Otago region.

Images: Disney Enterprises

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