Shortland Street off to new shoresMICHAEL FIELD
Shortland Street is moving to Fiji - at least for this year's series climax.
Fiji Airways said in a statement today it had signed a partnership with South Pacific Pictures to have New Zealand's most popular drama shooting in Suva and Nadi.
The storyline would revolve around the Fred Hollows Foundation, which treats eye disease, and the Fiji travel industry.
The regime-owned carrier said it would fly key crew and cast members including Michael Galvin (Chris Warner), Sam Bunkall (Boyd Rolleston), Ria Vandervis (Harper Whitley) and Kerry-Lee Dewing (Kylie Brown) to film a plot.
Fiji Airways chief executive Stefan Pichler said since Shortland Street began screening in Fiji in 1994, it had been a firm favourite and one of Fiji's most popular shows.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for both Fiji Airways and Fijians, and we are thrilled to be able to host the cast and crew of Shortland Street in our country," Pichler said.
Shortland Street's producer Simon Bennett said he was delighted.
"Viewers can be assured the scenes will have a distinctly Fijian feel, as well as all the dramatic elements Shortland Street fans know and love," Bennett said.
Tying in with the Fred Hollows Foundation demonstrated the commitment Shortland Street had to telling stories that reflected important social issues, he said.
Galvin said he was pleased to escape the cold.
"We rarely get to leave 'Ferndale' so we're all very excited to get out there and meet some of our international Fijian fans."
It is not the first time Shortland Street has been filmed in Fiji. In the past big crowds have formed around anything to do with the series.
While it had long been the top-rated soap in Fiji, a couple of Bollywood soaps now rate higher.