Karekare's Star Still Shining

New Zealand: The Piano

"Karekare might be a movie star, but it wears its fame and beauty effortlessly" - Passport Magazine, January 2017.

Karekare's Star Still Shining

By Pennie Hunt

It's easy enough to create media headlines through flattery.

Take a smattering of locations worldwide, put them on your list, declare them 'best in the world' and wait for the media in each country to react with headlines like, 'look everyone, we made the list!'  It worked here in New Zealand when Passport Magazine published its 25 Best Beaches in the World last week.  Justifiably or not, Karekare Beach, backdrop to Jane Campion's The Piano, features as no. 2.

Yes, Karekare is a gorgeous beach. But so many beaches in New Zealand are just as beautiful, like for example Cathedral Cove, another filmic beach.

What makes the trip to Karekare so special for many is the fact that it featured in a film they love (I'll put myself in this category, for sure). In the mind of a film tourist, Jane Campion elevated Karekare Beach to a mythic place. Those images of Ada playing her beloved piano on the beach as Flora dances in her fairy wings - that's what is playing in our minds as we look out at the roiling surf.  And then come the questions like - how did they do it?  How many takes until the shot with the piano landing on the beach was achieved? Where was the camera?  The melding of fantasy and reality on location is always fascinating.

So the question of whether Karekare is one of the world's best beaches seems to me a little beside the point. The Piano is one of my favourite films, so if I was coming to New Zealand, it's a beach I wouldn't miss. But if you're not a fan, don't worry, there's plenty more beaches around the corner.



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