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The location - using Great Barrier Island

Castaway is filmed in Harataonga Bay on Great Barrier Island, here in NZ!

We chat with the Production team in regards to the use of the Island:

Why have Lion/BBC chosen this location?
We searched the world for remote locations that are truly removed from modern day life, that have inspirational natural beauty and will genuinely take our Castaways away from their current experience of life.  We wanted somewhere that is even more remote than the previous experience on Taransay in Scotland.  This fulfils all those criteria and is also aspirational.  It will be a location where the Castaways will be able to reflect on all elements of life in a way few people in the UK are lucky enough to do.

Just how remote will the Castaways be?
Further away that the previous castaway experience on Taransay.  Further away than any other similar experience.  If the decide to swim they will be at sea for days.  If they walk - who knows!

The Castaway programme is supposed to be about people being 'castaway' on a desert island. GBI is inhabited so isn't your programme fake?
We've never said a desert island or a deserted island - the idea is to be castaway from modern life and each individual's life - this location could not be further from both of these.

What is the infrastructure on the island?
The island is without mains electricity.

What amenities on the island will the Castaways have access to?

Will the public have access to the location?
The public will not have access to the actual production area, which is situated on a reserve administered by DOC. It is currently leased as farm land. However, the public will still have access to the adjacent reserve, including footpaths and beach access.

No one will be allowed on the set or in the adjacent production village. This has been agreed with DOC who have granted the concession.

Does the production have the right to ban people from the location?
Yes. For heath and safety reasons.

How do you justify taking over these locations and effectively prohibiting public use of the areas?
The area we are filming in has most recently been leased for use as farm land which the public has not had ready access to. The public areas beyond our set are still totally accessible. No area that is currently used by the public will be shut off.

Any temporary minor structures are all on farm land that is currently used to graze cattle or as practical areas for the tenant farmer.

Every year there are a number of productions filming on conservation land in New Zealand and DOC, whose stipulations the BBC are strictly adhering to, have a wealth of experience in managing these. We did not take the decision lightly but followed our stringent DOC guidelines when processing the application. This included consultation with GBI residents who overwhelmingly supported the application.

Where will the production team be located?
In terms of production we are having to import  large tents to accommodate the facilities along with silent generators.

How much equipment will be brought to the island?
The equipment used is all in 'fly-away' cases that are unpacked, put into temporary tents and then taken off at the end of production.

Will anything you build be permanent or permanently affect the site?
The only permanent after effects will be improvements to the single track gravel access road which has been welcomed by local residents.

Won't the promotion of GBI by the BBC bring large numbers of tourists to the island and destroy its natural beauty?
By world standards, GBI is an extremely remote  location.  In the UK we think of the outer Hebrides and the Isles of Scilly as being remote.  This location is far more remote and isolated than either of those, and the infrastructure is far more basic..  As with any place of outstanding beauty those who like natural beauty will be astounded and prepared to rough it.

So although the programme is being made in GBI this does not mean that the area will be inundated with visitors. There will be people that will seek the island out but the name of the location isn't being referred to in the actual programme. But for most potential international visitors it is more likely to inspire them to visit New Zealand, but not necessarily the island itself.

Research carried out by Tourism New Zealand after the shoot for the Lord of the Rings hit films showed that although the films increased awareness of New Zealand (94% of all visitors to NZ in 2004 were aware the films were shot in New Zealand), the majority of people didn't visit New Zealand just because of the films (93% said that LOTR was NOT a reason for travelling to New Zealand, 6% said that LOTR was one reason for travelling to New Zealand and 1% said that LOTR was either the only reason or the main reason for travelling to New Zealand).

How is the BBC working with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to preserve the area?
Since the first moment that the location was identified we have been working with DOC to identify any areas of potential sensitivity to ensure they are protected. The impact from the filming will be similar to the impacts normally experienced from public use. Any impacts on the area will be quite site specific and short term. The key area is pasture land adjacent to a reserve.

What state will the area be left in when the BBC leave?
The only permanent effect on the area will be improvements to the access road.

As in any production process Lion TV is happy to pay for costs and facilities and costs incurred.

Will islanders be able to cash in on the BBC visit?
With such a large production team we hope there will benefits for locals from the shop to the owners of the accommodation we wil be using to the practicalities such as improvements to the gravel track to the remote location as well as work for some local people on the production.