Off to New Zealand

Off to New Zealand

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Stunning Landscapes: New Zealand © fkn

After Cornwall's Rosamund Pilcher and Sweden's Inga Lindström, ZDF has found a new dream destination for romantic Sunday TV evenings: New Zealand.

Paradise at the End of the World also turned the actors' world upside down.

Auckland, April 2009. Of course: it's about fate, about love and life stories, about people who have lost and found each other. But the special thing about the films “Longing for New Zealand” and “Paradise at the End of the World”, which ZDF will be showing on May 3 and 10, 2009 (each time at 8:15 p.m.), is the country itself, says director Michael Koch. “It felt like California and Canada had merged into one country. We hope we have succeeded in conveying that fascination with our film.

New Zealand is great. It’s so great that actor Christophe Kottenkamp was always afraid of being played against a wall by nature: “There were days when I came to the set, I held my breath and thought: How am I supposed to play the conflict against such a backdrop?” It was shot between January and March, initially on the North Island, which has dense forests, hot springs bubbling up from the ground and a large number of sheep.

The second story takes place on the South Island, on the Dunedin beach, the refuge of the endangered yellow-eyed penguin. It also plays a role in the love story of marine biologist Julia (played by Elisabeth Lanz) and keeper Matthew (Jörg Schuttauf). In order not to disturb the real animals during filming, Weta recreated a remote-controlled penguin doll. At Weta they are familiar with such tricks. The team was already filming “The Lord of the Rings” and won an Oscar.

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Susan Anbe and Christophe Cottenkamp
Susan Anbeh and Christophe Kotenkamp © Culture

New Zealand, the “Land of the Long White Cloud,” as it’s called in the native Maori language, is no tropical paradise. There’s summer and winter (though in reverse order compared to Europe), sun and sometimes snow. And on top of that, there are lightning-fast weather changes caused by strong westerly winds, dubbed the “Roaring Forties” depending on your latitude. Director Michael Keusch attributes the fact that, at least for the first few weeks of filming, they only had “mercilessly beautiful weather” to the blessing of a Maori chief. “The Maori gods must have been on our side.”

The story of the Te Aroha viewing shows how involved New Zealanders were in the filming of the German team: the North Island town was the location for the first film and for the meeting of landowner Paige Duval (Susan Anbeh) and sheep farmer Adam (Christoph Kottenkamp) who had to change the clocks at the big intersection. No problem for the residents. They simply adapted their rhythm of life to the time of the film.

At 268,000 square metres, New Zealand is roughly the size of Germany, but has the same population as Berlin. “That means people are less stressed and more curious,” says actor Christoph Kottenkamp. “Your kindness and openness is special.” He fondly remembers evenings spent on the veranda in front of the wooden house in Auckland that he shared with his colleague Max Gertsch. “You sit there comfortably, have a glass of wine, and when someone comes over, you can chat.”

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New Zealand is at the other end of the world, or as Christophe Kottenkamp puts it: “We can’t travel further if we want to stay on this planet for 20 hours of flying time and more: ‘It would never have happened to me as a destination,’ admits Susanne Anbe. She considers being offered the role a stroke of luck. ‘It was an adventure trip.’

Christine Hincofer

New Zealand Travel Information

holiday destination

New Zealand is a geographically isolated island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. The closest areas are Australia to the west, New Caledonia, Tonga and Fiji to the north (each about 2,000 kilometres away) and Antarctica to the south (3,000 kilometres). Parts of New Zealand lie directly opposite Spain on the globe, so it is its antipode. New Zealand consists mainly of the North and South Islands, which are separated from each other by the 23-kilometre-wide Cook Strait. Together they are 1,600 kilometres long in a north-south axis.

heading there

Air New Zealand departs twice daily from London Heathrow via Los Angeles and via Hong Kong to Auckland in New Zealand (feeding from seven German airports with Lufthansa). Prices to/from Germany start at €1,036 (also as a round-the-world ticket). The airline flies to 27 cities within New Zealand, so it has the most comprehensive route network in its home country. Book in Or on the toll-free number 0800/1817778.

Travel type

Volcanoes, forests, animals, deserted beaches: New Zealand is a land of natural wonders. It’s a shame to stay in one place. The perfect way to travel the country is to spend a vacation in a motorhome.

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Specialist for New Zealand eg. B. Canossa Tourism. Munich office: Tel: 089/8980780, Online:

New Zealand in Film

ZDF's films, based on the novels of best-selling American author Emily Richards, are filmed in Auckland, Te Aroha and Rotorua, as well as on the beach in the South Island city of Dunedin. The remote island nation became a star in 2001 with the film “The Lord of the Rings”.

more information

Tourism New Zealand, European Office in London, Tel: 0044/207-09301 62, Online:

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