A Guide to New Zealand Film Studios; Where Could Power Rangers End Up?

“I also think it’ll be a little different for us this year because we’re not gonna be at the same studio. So, they have to, like, I mean, rebuild sets and all that stuff. So, we were at Studio West for nine months, so that, like, really became our home. Um, and it’s gonna be a little weird to be in the studio. But I’m also very excited about it.”

-Hunter Deno on returning to New Zealand to film, Power Morphicon 2022

Update, Aug 31, 9:10pm: Simon Bennett took to instagram to confirm that Power Rangers Cosmic Fury will in fact film at Auckland Film Studios.

Fans have touted Power Rangers Dino Fury as a season of firsts; first team with two black actors (Russell Curry and Jordon Fite as Red Ranger “Zayto” and Jordon Fite as Gold Ranger “Aiyon”), first black Sixth Ranger (Jordon Fite as Gold Ranger “Aiyon”), first LGBTQ+ Ranger (Tessa Rao portraying Green Ranger “Izzy” and Jacqueline Joe as her girlfriend, “Fern”); and first season since Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers to get a third season.

As Power Rangers Cosmic Fury is a continuation of Dino Fury, it also continues to be a season of firsts: it will be the first season to be produced in Auckland, New Zealand in an entirely different film studio! 

There are many film studios in Auckland that could be the new home for Power Rangers filming, and we are going to look at some of the film studios that Auckland has to offer, and production could move to.  

Editor’s Note: While mulling over the idea for this post, Simon Bennett took to Rangerboard to give a little more details about the reason for the change in studio, so some of the studios you will see here will not work due to size. However, this is a good opportunity to highlight the different studios for those who don’t know how many there are and their unique features. Keep in mind while reading, there are a few studios that have overlap in productions and studios may already be booked with bigger productions. 

Background of Power Rangers in New Zealand

Studio West has been the hub for the Power Rangers franchise since the series moved there in 2002 with the production of Power Rangers Ninja Storm under The Walt Disney Company (Disney). Disney did have a hand in producing Power Rangers Wild Force (alongside Village Roadshow) despite that season being shot in California – they acquired Power Rangers from Saban Entertainment along with other Saban properties when Disney purchased Fox Family.

Producers Doug Sloan and Ann Austen managed to convince Disney to keep Power Rangers running, as they wanted to cancel the show after Wild Force, by pitching the idea of moving the show to New Zealand to keep production costs down. 

Photos of Power Rangers in the Studio West Production Office

Power Rangers Ninja Storm to Power Rangers S.P.D., Village Roadshow was the production company behind the Power Rangers franchise. Starting in Power Rangers S.P.D. the name Ranger Productions Ltd was credited as the production company and would do so until the series’ cancellation after Power Ranges RPM.

When it was announced that Haim Saban bought back the franchise, reported May 12, 2010, the production company for the series was then Power Rangers Productions; starting with producing Power Rangers Samurai and continued through to the recently announced 30th season Power Rangers Cosmic Fury.

It was revealed during the Power Rangers Dino Fury / Cosmic Fury panel at Power Morphicon (which took place from August 26th to 28th; National Power Rangers Day) from the cast that when they return to film the new season in the fall, they would no longer be using Studio West. Executive Producer and show runner, Simon Bennett, took to Rangerboard to give a little bit more information about this decision: 

The owner of Studio West has build an impressive and huge new soundstage on the site. It’s really too big for Power Rangers. The facility is now suited to larger productions.

We didn’t have a lot of stuff stored there, we only hired it for the period we needed it every two years. Most of our stuff is stored in warehouses around Auckland (and there is a lot of it!)

-Simon Bennett on Rangerboard explaining the move from Studio West

Production Studios in Auckland

“Auckland’s fully resourced film studios are adaptable to your production needs, offering plenty of choice in facility type, size, and features. Our main studios cover the full scope of screen production from music videos to feature films, and they are all within a 30-minute drive of the city center and Auckland Airport.”

-Auckland Film Industry
1. Studio West – Site
More photos found here and here

As stated above, Studio West will no longer be the home to production of the Power Rangers series. When this news was first revealed, completion on a 4th, bigger sound stage had been completed on the film studio’s lot and would be available to use in October 2022. It may have seemed that a natural progression would mean to move into that bigger area, especially if this new season is the first to fully be created in collaboration with Netflix, which could potentially mean a bigger budget, so bigger sets or space could be used. This turned out not to be the case as mentioned in the quote above. Studio West has also been used for Disney productions, “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior,” “Avalon High,” “Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off,” and Universal’s “Xena Warrior Princess.” Studio West is close in proximity to Waitakere Ranges and New Zealand’s famed black sand beaches. A fifth studio may be added soon.

Features: Four stages, workshops and office spaces for production, work and paint, carpentry, costume and art departments, prop storage, and post-production facilities.

Thoughts: Confirmed to not be used for the 30th season.

Further Reading: New Zealand’s Studio West Launched Auckland Largest Sound Stage  

2. X3 Studios – Site
More photos found here

X3 Studios is the newest developed studio in Auckland, New Zealand described as a studio created for “build the world” productions created by Xytech Studio Management. This production studio was created to ease the high demand for films that wanted to move to New Zealand to film. There are those in Auckland that are not happy that the film studios are now the lease holder for the Auckland showgrounds area to use the site for events, conventions, and filming activities. X3 Studios has been the home of Jane Campion’s “Power of the Dog,” and the teen show “One of Us is Lying.” X3’s production studio in Wiri is also the home of Netflix’s “Sweet Tooth.”

Features: 3 stages, the X3 Mega Stage, the stages can quickly be reconfigured using the de-mountable, acoustically treated concrete partition wall system, multipurpose space for office, work rooms, mill, workshop, and storage.

Note, Aug 31: Auckland actor Dallas Barnett – who has not only worked on Power Rangers, but has also worked at the facility as part of Netfliz’s “Sweet Tooth” – had this to say about X3 Studios:

Thoughts: Too big for production of the 30th season, especially the x3 Mega Stage.

Further Reading: New Zealand Studio Space Expands With Opening of X3 Film Studio

Note: Just as an overall nsfw warning, be very, very careful when searching for more information on this studio.

3. Auckland Film Studios – Site
More photos found here

Noted as being one of Auckland’s top film studios in the region, as the studio has been around for 25+ years, Auckland Film Studios has been home to many, many productions over the years. Some of those productions include Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” The Chronicles of Narnia movie series, “Legend of the Seeker,” and Power Rangers Ninja Storm. Located west of downtown Auckland in Waitakere and only 25 minutes from the beach. Two new stages are opening in November.

Features: Three studios, a large green screen, extensive workshops, six large multi-purpose buildings and areas for wardrobe, makeup, art department, casting, catering, construction, greens, props, production office, sound, and stunts.

Thoughts: May already be booked with a larger production, but the distance from areas that Rangers frequently films, it could be a viable option.

Further Reading: Auckland Film Studio Expansion Processds Despite Amazon Departure  

4. Kumeu Film Studios – Site 
More photos found here

Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” and the feature films “The Meg” and Disney’s “Mulan” were filmed at Kumeu Film Studios. Kumeu is one of the film studios that hosts an outdoor ocean surface tank with green screen, and a covered dive tank available for use on the studio lot. Kumeu Studios also features 12 hectares (30 acres) of forest; perfect for some of the scenic shots of Power Rangers. Kumeu Studios is just 25 minutes away from Auckland.

Features: Extensive stage, workshop and manufacturing spaces, production offices, 12 hectares of forest, two water tanks, two sound stages, and a permanent green screen wall. 

Thoughts: Dive tanks may not be of use to Power Rangers, as location shots on Bethells Beach could be used once more, but the on-studio access to forest land may be beneficial to production. 

Further Viewing: Take a Virtual Tour of the Underwater Dive Tank

5. South Pacific Pictures – Site
More photos found here

Home of “Shortland Street,” arguably the most known New Zealand television show to Power Rangers fans. So many Power Rangers actors have appeared on “Shortland Street” whether it was a guest character in an episode, a character with a mini arc, or most notably with Power Rangers Ninja Storm’s Sally Martin and the late Pua Magasiva, series regulars. Close in proximity to a huge number of shooting locations and easy access to the rest of Auckland.

Features: Two purpose-built studios, three production/post-production office spaces and a photo cyclorama/studio, adjoining production office space, including make-up room, wardrobe, and dressing rooms. Onsite cafe, open 5 days per week. The floors are seamless concrete, designed for camera tracking.

Thoughts: “Shortland Street” and other, bigger productions, may corner the market on this studio. And may also be too big for Power Rangers. 

6. Kelly Park Film Studios
More photos found here

A 30-minute drive north of Auckland, Kelly Park Film Studio sits on 3.6 hectares (9 acres) of rolling farmland. The film studio used to be an equestrian center that has access to a pine forest. “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and “Ash vs Evil Dead” are two of the productions that were filmed here. 

Features: Studio lot includes a lake, forest backlot, and access to a pine forest. Lighting grids running along each side of the interior, and convenient anchor points for sets and scaffolding to be secured – Black roof space. An earth floor, where levels can be adjusted to meet production requirements, and a clear span building with no internal walls or columns in the studio area.

Thoughts: Farmland may not be ideal for production of the series, but the forests and lakes may be able to be used for on-location filming.

Further Reading: Subdivison keeps Kelly Park Film Studio

So, where is Power Rangers Productions heading? Who knows? Auckland has so many fantastic facilities for all sorts of production needs that wherever it ends up, with the same cast and crew working on the series, we are in for a good time. Plus, Auckland, over all, has seen a giant swell of demand to film in the area and have been expanding their options to meet said demand since the Covid pandemic started.

Power Rangers Cosmic Fury’s story will take the cast from being the Dino Fury Rangers, to the Cosmic Fury Rangers where they will head into space and go on an adventure through the galaxy. With the many different film studios and locations Auckland has to offer, it will be interesting to see how the story and the sets come to life to give us the 30th season of the Power Rangers franchise.

As there has been no official word of which Sentai, if any, will be adapted for the next season, we can only go off Bennett’s own words that the new season “is its own thing, unlike anything else.” (More of Bennett’s words about what Cosmic Fury will be – Tweet)

Temper your excitement, Ranger fans. Don’t confuse that with him confirming that the season will be all original. He’s just stating that you can’t compare Power Rangers Cosmic Fury with a prior season in the franchise.

If you’d like to do further research yourself, and to see even more of the film studios Auckland has to offer, you can head over to AucklandNZ.com where they’ve got a comprehensive list of film studios in the Auckland area. Furthermore, if you’d like to see all the locations the Power Rangers franchise has used since filming in New Zealand, head on over to Ranger Locations (Twitter / Site).

Stay with The Power Scoop for all your behind the scenes, and production news for Power Rangers, Dino Fury, Cosmic Fury and more – follow The Power Scoop on Twitter and Instagram.