Movie being made in Te Puke

A community-resourced feature film based around anti-mining protesters in the Coromandel in the 1980s is being filmed in Te Puke next month.

‘The Z Nail Gang’, described as a feel-good action-comedy, is based on true events about a community united in their fight against mining that threatens their small coastal town.

The film is being directed and produced by Pukehina husband-and-wife team Anton Steel and Kylie DellaBarca Steel.

It will be shot during four weeks, with tentative dates from February 19 to March 16.

“But due to cast availability we may be pushing it back a week later – we will be shooting by the end of February.”

In a meeting at the Settlers Lounge at the Te Puke Memorial Hall today, Anton, who is the director with Kylie as producer, outlined the film and how productions will take place.

Anton says the film will be shot in Te Puke district – and is being made in the Bay of Plenty as a community resource feature film.

“So, the goal is to utilise the skills of the people that live around us; we’re encouraging people to create and use their skill sets and be part of this.”

“Our kaupapa for the film is connect, create, celebrate. We want to connect with people, encourage creativity, and celebrate everyone’s achievements.”

Anton says he came up with the idea of making a film on the Coromandel’s 1980s protests against mining.

“A good friend of mine grew up in the Coromandel and his parents were involved with the anti-mining movement; and, as a 12-year-old, he was one of the first persons to take any direct action against mining prospectors in the Coromandel.”

“That scene is reflected in the movie.”

But Anton says even though the story is about anti-mining, the main focus for the film is telling the story of a disparate community coming together.

“Our byline for ‘The Z-Nail Gang’ is ‘there is gold in the heart of that community’; and that’s also how we’re approaching making the film.”

Anton believes the David versus Goliath-type story is currently topical in New Zealand, with protests against mining explorations happening recently.

“The film that we’re making is an action-comedy; so we’re trying to approach a subject that usually has a lot of angst and anger about it in this country from the viewpoint of humour and to encourage debate amongst people about it.

“This is a film I want people to go watch and laugh and enjoy but also be challenged about their views on both sides of the issue, whether pro-mining or anti-mining.”

The storyline starts with character Ned delivering a letter to local residents of a sleepy coastal country town, informing them Golia Minerals wants to prospect gold on Te Maunga, a hill overlooking the township.

Community opinion is split at a local meeting where Golia CEO, American Ted Bates, brushes off Ned’s concerns about the devastating ecological impact of mining. Aunty, the Maori matriarch, is also vocal in her opposition, while local farmer, The Sheriff, welcomes the promise of economic prosperity, particularly for his unemployed son, Dean.

When prospectors arrive in town, Aunty, Ned and alternative lifestylers Mareeka and Dave argue over the merits of lawful protest versus direct confrontation. While the adults argue, Dave and Mareeka’s young sons, Malachi and Jojo, set off to undertake direct confrontation.

As the story is about a community uniting, Anton says they want it to be an act of community to make it. As result, about 60 per cent of the cast comes from the Bay.

Anton says the film is low budget and will be resourced by both sponsorship and donations from local businesses and the wider community; and next week he’s launching a crowd funding campaign on the NZ Arts Foundation’s Boosted website.

A website and Facebook page are being created for people to get involved or sponsor the film; and people who want to know can email:

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