Auckland shows all the right moves in Born to Dance

Published: 23 September 2015
Filed under: Filmed in Auckland

Multi-cultural, hip and beautiful Auckland is a star of Born to Dance, a home-grown feature film opening nationwide tomorrow which will show off the region to a global audience.

The hip-hop dance movie had its world premiere earlier this month at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, with sell-out sessions in front of international film distributors and media, and celebrities including hip-hop diva Janet Jackson – and has its New Zealand premiere tonight.

The movie features American actor Kherington Payne and Kiwi singer turned actor Stan Walker, and is the first acting role for lead Tia-Taharoa (Tia) Maipi, an experienced hip-hop dancer. It was choreographed by international dance sensation Parris Goebel, had Peter ‘P-Money’ Wadams as music supervisor, and is the first feature-length film directed by actor Tammy Davis (Outrageous Fortune).

The production was made mostly on location, in Auckland suburbs including Mangere Bridge, Otara, Papakura, Belmont, and Northcote Point, and inner city spots including O'Connell Street and Jean Batten Place. The big dance scenes were filmed at Manukau’s Vodafone Events Centre.

The movie tells the story of a young South Auckland man with a burning dream to become a professional dancer and opens at 60 cinemas around the country today. It has secured international heavyweight distributor Cinema Management Group, which has described Born To Dance as having ‘terrific worldwide box office potential’. It has already been sold in a number of key territories.

The film received support from Screen Auckland, a specialist team within Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) which helps the region’s screen industry to grow and arranges Auckland Council permits for any on-location shoots in public places around the region.

Screen Auckland manager Michael Brook today congratulated the producers, cast and crew of Born to Dance for their exciting feature film: “This is a boom year for the screen production industry in Auckland, with a number of major international and domestic productions highlighting the region’s world-class talent.

“The quality of Born to Dance reflects Auckland’s expert crews, which are particularly good at quick turnaround on-location shoots, the region’s highly capable, adaptable actors and our world-champion dancers and choreographers. Auckland’s unique and diverse locations are also perfect for this kind of shoot.”

Producer Daniel Story says Auckland was an ideal place to shoot the movie: “Auckland is a character in Born To Dance and integral to the story.

“As well as the exceptional industry professionals based here, the beauty and diversity of Auckland’s locations add to the film’s charm and will appeal to international audiences.”

So far this year, Auckland’s screen sector has also had great exposure through the global release of trailers for highly anticipated new television series The Shannara Chronicles, and Ash vs Evil Dead; and the latest series of Power Rangers – all of which were filmed here.

The 2014 year industry economic data released by Statistics New Zealand showed that screen production and post-production in Auckland produced gross revenue of $647 million (nearly half the national industry).

To learn more about Screen Auckland’s activities, go to


(Born to dance cast- Photo approved for use)


For more information please contact:

Chris Gregory, Media Manager ATEED, phone 027 292 3601