North Otago sunflowers attract film crew


The sunflowers of North Otago have attracted a film crew to the region to make a soft drink commercial for Japanese television.

Curious Film NZ is producing the advertisement but producer Tatsuya Shimada said they could not reveal too much information.

“It’s highly confidential, unlike feature films.”

The crew of more than 50 is in Oamaru for a three-day shoot and will also travel to Waimate.

“We choose Oamaru because of the sunflower fields,” Mr Shimada said.

“I heard sunflower field in Oamaru is the biggest in New Zealand.”

The fields are owned by Mitchell & Webster.

One of the owners, Peter Mitchell, said they had 80ha of sunflowers, which probably made them the biggest sunflower growers in New Zealand.

The sunflowers are grown for Topflite Bird Seed, which is sold in pet shops around the country.

Mr Mitchell said they grew a variety of arable crops, ranging from sunflowers to wheat, barley and ryegrass.

Over the last 20 years, they have had “four to five crews” filming their fields.

“We usually get inquiries most years for a crop, not necessarily sunflowers; it could be wheat and barley and quite often filming doesn’t happen,” he said.

“It’s quite fascinating what lengths companies go to sell their produce.”


BLOOMIN’ BEAUTIFUL: A sunflower in the sunflower field near Totara Estate.

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