International location managers Lori Balton, Kent Matsuoka and Dow Griffith spent two days in Auckland recently, hosted by Screen Auckland.

The industry pros are US-based, often working directly for Hollywood studios, finding locations from around the world to match a script or director's brief.

Their visit was part of a New Zealand tour led by Bay of Plenty Film, with support from other regional film offices and New Zealand Film Commission.

Dow said: "We were up in the air – literally, after 14 flights in 14 days. We were treated to highlights by helicopters and small planes, and jetted around from north to south to make sure we saw as much as possible, including memorable and other-worldly locations such as Bethells Beach and Muriwai.”

With local scout David Curtis as their guide, they also walked up Maungawhau (Mt Eden), Takaparawhau (Bastion Point) and checked out Kumeu Film Studios, before Dow pushed his total number of flights to 15 by jumping off the Sky Tower. They even found time for a screening of local film The Breaker Upperers.

Outside Auckland, they notched up visits to White Island, Rotoiti Marae, Mount Tarawera, Tongariro, East Cape, Skipper's Canyon, Mt Somnus, Mt Madeline, Milford Sound and more.

In Dow's words, "We had a fabulous fortnight in New Zealand. It was especially revealing, educational and inspiring. I greatly appreciated all the fresh locations and the personal connections.” 

Kent added: "Thank you for all your gracious manaakitanga.”

The trio are members of the Location Managers' Guild International, a professional organisation of location scouts working to promote that part of the industry and support its members.

To read their report on the tour:

To find out more about LMGI: