Kaikōura buzzing with big television crew filming new NZ-based show

A new local TV drama is being made in Kaikōura, pumping money into the local economy and creating a buzz in the small seaside town.

The director and writer chose Kaikōura because of the beauty of the town and the tenacity of its people.

It was a moody, quiet and very cold day in Kaikōura but the main street's abuzz with a large TV crew, dozens of people and props galore.

The show is called Friends Like Her.

"Everybody's talking about it, cause you can see them all around, you don't normally have such big film crews come into town so it's really cool," Destination Kaikōura manager Lisa Bond said. 

And it's great for the residents too, the production using some local crews, local extras and local birdlife.

Writer and executive producer Sarah-Kate Lynch was inspired by a visit to Kaikōura the year following the big 2016 earthquake. 

"I had the religious experience of swimming with the dolphins, watched the whales, met the people here and realised what they had gone through with the earthquake and the tenacity of them," Lynch said.

The plot focuses on a female friendship.

"After any big catastrophic event, some people do well and some people don't and it was an interesting idea to me what they must be like from neighbour to neighbour," Lynch said.

The region's extreme beauty also stayed with her.

"The moment I spent those few days here I thought this is a part of New Zealand I'd somehow love to take to the world," Lynch said.

It's expected to have a large economic impact on the town when it's released, although the benefits are already being felt.

It is using 2126 accommodation nights, in local motels and Airbnbs and another 10 local crew and cast, plus extras.

"Then when they've got their time off they're visiting the retail stores and taking part in activities," Bond said.

The mayor said they have the ideal location for film and TV crews.

"We've got everything, you wanna go from surfing to rock climbing, deserts to swampland, we've got it, it's all here," Mayor Craig Mackle said.

And the friendly locals certainly come in handy.

"They've been so amazing, you could not ask for more enthusiasm, we needed a dinghy one day and somebody basically passing by said 'I've got a dinghy' and bought it over," Lynch said.

Why a dingy and whose baby is this character having? Well, you'll have to wait till next year to watch the six-part series and find out.