Government reassured Amazon NZ still safe to film Lord of the Rings following Christchurch terror attack - reports

In the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, the Government reportedly had to reassure Amazon that New Zealand was still safe to film its upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series. 

Radio NZ reports a film industry insider says New Zealand has won what will be a profitable deal as the primary filming location for the $1.5 billion production. Scotland, the other location being considered, lost out due to the UK's post-Brexit chaos. 

But Amazon's confidence in New Zealand was shaken after the March 15 attack that killed 51 people, an unprecedented act of violence for the country.

"When New Zealand's status changed there were very high-level talks between the New Zealand Government and Amazon to assure them that it was a one-off event, that New Zealand remains a very safe place for international workers and film crews to work," the insider source says, reports RNZ.

They say the company was quickly reassured and decided to go ahead with basing the production here.

On May 2, Jacinda Ardern had a half-hour phone call with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in which she sought the company's support for the Christchurch Call

The Prime Minister's office says it was one of many similar calls made to tech bosses around the same time, and that no other matters were discussed. 

Amazon secured the rights to film a TV adaptation JRR Tolkien's fantasy in 2017. The show will be set before the famous trilogy, which was famously adapted for the big screen by Sir Peter Jackson in a New Zealand-based production in the early 2000s. 

However, the series - of which Amazon will produce at least five seasons - will not retell The Hobbit, but rather consist of "previously unexplored stories" from the likes of The Silmarillion. 

In December Stuff reported that Amazon was considering moving the Lord of the Rings series away from New Zealand out of concern that Auckland lacked the studio capacity required for such a high-budget production.