Media productions and Whanganui River

We love sharing our river with visitors and the world. Find out how you can film in Whanganui in a respectful way.

Te Awa Tupua

Whanganui is special and one of the most beautiful and treasured features of the region is our river. The story of our river, its unique history, its importance in the lives of our people, and its protection for the future are of the utmost importance to us all.

Our river is so distinctly special that its rights have been recognised in legislation. In 2017, Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act was passed in Parliament. This historic bill recognises the special relationship between the Whanganui River and Whanganui iwi. The bill recognises Whanganui River as deserving of the rights, protections and respect afforded a living being. The bill also provides for the river’s long-term protection and restoration.

Te Awa Tupua legislation reflects the unique ancestral relationship of Whanganui iwi and the river. Iwi who live – and who have lived for generations – along the river, hold with it a deep spiritual connection. To Whanganui iwi, the river is seen as a living being inseparable from the people who live alongside it.

One of the intrinsic values recognised in the legislation is “Ko te Awa te mātāpuna o te ora (the River is the source of spiritual and physical sustenance)”. Our sacred river sustains us.

How do we respect the river?

If you want to film on or around the Whanganui River, it is important you take into consideration the overarching importance of Te Awa Tupua. Start by speaking with Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui Group (tangata: people, tiaki: to protect or care for). It is important that you include discussion with Ngā Tāngata Tiaki in plans you have to film or produce media on or around the river in Whanganui. Communication with Ngā Tāngata Tiaki will help you carry out your project with the wealth of knowledge and understanding our special river and region deserve.

Find out more about Ngā Tāngata Tiaki

Plan your project with us

Film Whanganui and Whanganui & Partners welcomes visiting media to our beautiful district. We know the best spots to film and visit, the best way to get around, and how to make your visit as efficient and rewarding as possible. We can help with: detailed information on sourcing and accessing Whanganui locations, assistance securing local crew, assets and logistics including accommodation, catering and facilitation of permits. Film Whanganui also has a growing a crew directory to help visiting productions.

Film Whanganui Guidelines for Filming

Find out more about Film Whanganui

Find out more about Whanganui & Partners

I am the River, the River is me

Te Awa Tupua legislation

Where to stay in Whanganui

For a quick overview of what’s available and to book online, use our accommodation widget.

For expert local advice or further help on your stay, contact our Whanganui isite visitor centre or browse our guides on Where to stay.

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