THE creators of a new film showcasing Whakatane to visitors hope to give viewers a glimpse of the true essence of the Eastern Bay town, by featuring locals enjoying what they love about the place.

Produced with a small budget, unpaid Eastern Bay personalities take viewers on a journey from dawn to dusk, set amid the area’s stunning scenery and experiences.

Whakatane District Council tourism and events marketing adviser Anna Williams says it is important to capture the lifestyle and culture of Whakatane people as that is what makes the place so special.

“We frequently hear visitors tell us how warm and welcoming locals are, which stems from our laid-back way of life and a true appreciation of the beautiful place where we live,” she says. “To capture this, it made sense to feature local people doing what they love.”

The film was purposely filmed through autumn and winter to highlight Whakatane and Ohope as not just a peak-summer destination. Anna says a core focus for destination management planning for Whakatane was to encourage the spread of visitors throughout all seasons.

“Whakatane locals are incredibly passionate about protecting our place. Our role in this is ensuring we are not overloaded with tourists for only two months of the year.”

Encouraging visitors during traditional off-peak months also supports businesses to be viable year-round and Anna says visitors might be surprised at what Whakatane has to offer for a winter escape.

“As this film shows, we have an enviable climate, which means outdoor activities can be enjoyed throughout the year. Other regions in New Zealand aren’t so lucky. The general response from first-time visitors is, “Wow you’re so lucky to live here.”

The film titled, Whakatane – Our People, Our Place, Welcome, will be followed by smaller productions telling stories about Whakatane and its people. Capturing personalities from the whole district, the film aims to reiterate the message of Whakatane as a place with diverse people and landscapes, resulting in memorable experiences for visitors.

The video can be viewed on You Tube by searching “Whakatane – Our People, Our Place, Welcome”.

A still image from the tourism video, Whakatane – Our People, Our Place, Welcome.