Filming Wagner
by Ann Reddecliffe

Tuesday 8th August 2000 Page 1 of 8

On Tuesday August 8th I was lucky enough to see Renaissance Pictures filming part of an episode of Xena. Anyone who ever does see them filming will know that there is a huge amount of luck involved. Most of their filming is done at indoor studios in Auckland or at their privately owned outdoor film site. Occasionally they go on-location, mostly to other privately owned locations, but sometimes they go to a public location.
Look what I found! I was on holiday in Auckland and a big part of my luck came from where I was staying. I was staying at Greenmead Farm on the Bethells Road outside Auckland. I had rented the cottage there.
This was about 5 minutes away from Bethells beach. I was coming home late on Monday night. Bethells Road is a very quiet road late at night, people have already come home from work and the surfers are not going to the beach that time of night. However there was a surprising amount of traffic on the road that night, heading towards the beach. According to the farm owners, that could only mean one thing a film crew was moving into the area.
I was up early the next day and headed off towards the beach to see what was going on. I had been told that if it was the Xena crew then there would be pink arrows with an X on them at various points to show the van drivers where to go.
Look what I found!

Click for large version (750x500 - 46K)
Yes, this was the Xena crew. I headed on into Bethells beach car park. There are three parking bays there and the first two were already full.
I got out of the car and headed for the beach access where I had my first encounter with a security guard.
"You can't go down there", he told me. What!!! "They have planted explosives along the path and it is too dangerous. I can't let you through." The beach is a public area and the path to the beach is all public and the council are even urging people to take care of the dunes because there are a lot of erosion problems. I was told this would be going on for hours. I wasn't convinced, but I wasn't about to argue with this guy, so I just turned round and headed out of the car park by an alternative exit. I climbed over the dunes at the back of the beach to get there. This is all public land, so it was still legal, even if not as environmentally friendly. I got to the beach.
The first unit almost fills the car park
The first unit almost fills the car park

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The beach access path follows a river bed to the sea
The beach access path
follows a river bed to the sea

Click for large version (750x500 - 42K)
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