NZ Film Crew Apologises Over Swift Video

The New Zealand film company behind Taylor Swift’s next video has apologised after a row with conservationists over the shoot downunder.

Photo: John Davisson
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One of the locations during the Nov. 23 shoot was on the ruggedly picturesque Bethells Beach on the West Coast. But it is also the home of the endangered dotterel bird, which is nesting at the moment.

Only 1,700 remain in the country. Veteran environmentalist Sandra Coney, chairwoman of the Waitakere Ranges board, was furious that the permit for the Swift shoot allowed only two vehicles on the beach to protect the birds. But the video crew used up to 12 vans and four-wheelers.

“We have developed a dotterel management plan as there is a heap of filming out there, and we welcome it as economic activity that should leave no footprint, but Taylor’s lot did not respect the environment or the conditions of their consent,” Coney said.

In the wake of a social media backlash, Cherokee Films apologised over concerns.

“Taylor Swift and her management team were in no way at fault and did not do anything that violated permits or ordinances,” the statement said. It added that it had filmed many times at Bethells Beach, and had always followed guidelines provided about the bird’s nesting sites. “At no time were the film crew close to that habitat,” Cherokee Films said. “No dotterel was harmed.” To smooth ruffled feathers, it is making a donation to the birds’ breeding program. Auckland Council confirmed it would take no action against the film crew.