The Last Samurai (Filming Location)

Moki Road
Uruti, Taranaki
This heartland Taranaki 'blink and you will miss it town'actually boasts a star studded recent heritage. In 1984, Uruti was the chosen location for filming of Vincent Ward's film Vigil, which was the first New Zealand film ever chosen for the Cannes film festival.

In 2003, the same place hit Hollywood bigtime as part of the set for 'The Last Samurai', starring Tom Cruise.
A whole Japanese village was built on a hillside here at Uruti and Mount Taranaki featured as 'Mount Fuji'. Other locations throughout Taranaki including the New Plymouth port, Pukekura Park and Mangamahoe Forest. A cast and crew of Japanese and Hollywood movie folk rolled in to New Plymouth and changed the way Taranaki saw itself. A commercial tour is available.

Samurai counts among New Zealand's early successes as a filming location. Nevertheless the town has found it easy to return to it's roots and the school roll remains at 13.

The area's other claim to fame is one of New Zealand's longest and least stable road tunnels. At 200m, the Uruti Tunnel on Uruti Road, connecting the Pehu Valley with SH 3. It took seven years to construct and opened in 1923. Signs warn against walking through, and stopping is prohibited. It is reported to look like a mine shaft with a propped up timber ceiling. See the Youtube below instead of risking it yourself.


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