Filming begins on drama series about famous Wellington lawyer Mike Bungay
Film crews have descended on a quiet Auckland suburb to shoot scenes for a new drama series about the life of one of the country's most flamboyant lawyers.
Mike Bungay QC, who died in 1993, is the high-profile criminal lawyer who famously defended William Ball Sutch – a man who was suspected of being a Soviet agent.
In May, NZ On Air announced would help fund a five-part series on Bungay to the tune of $3.9 million.
The series covers the life and career of the Wellington lawyer who died at the age of 58. It is called Dear Murderer and draws on a biography of the same title.
In a statement in May, Screentime New Zealand, who are producing the series, said it would "have you roaring with laughter one minute and weeping the next".
"It will not just be a 'crime and trial' piece but, rather, an intimate, personal encounter with one of New Zealand's great and enduring characters."
NZ On Air chief executive Jane Wrightson said: "Audiences will delight in the Dear Murderer story about one of the most flamboyant and outrageous men in New Zealand legal history.
"Stories such as this provide a creative new way to view historical events in New Zealand."
Most famously, Bungay was the lawyer for Sutch, who, on a rainy night in 1974, was arrested near a public toilet in Holloway Rd, Aro Valley.
At the time, Sutch was the chairman of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council and former senior economics adviser to the Savage and Fraser Labour governments.
However, Sutch was suspected of providing intelligence to Soviet diplomat Dimitri Razgovorov.
Bungay was able to get Sutch acquitted, but the case destroyed his client.
This was just one of the many trials Bungay was involved in during his short life.
Screentime New Zealand are covering his life and career between 1960 and 1990.
The filming on and around Colonial Rd on Sunday is for the ten-year period between 1960 and 1970.
In a letter to residents, the production company said it did not want to see any modern vehicles parked on the side of the road.
"If you park your vehicle on the side of the road and it's possible for you to park on your property or elsewhere that would be greatly appreciated."
Filming began at about 3pm and was expected to wrap up at midnight.
One resident said there was about 20 film crew members, and two actors, filming at about 4pm.
The two actors - an older man and a young boy – are believed to be Bungay as a child, and Bungay's foster father.
It is understood they will also be filming a jewellery heist, a car chase and a murder scene, in the same area.
Filming locations on October 9:
• Chelsea Estate Heritage Park (3pm-5pm)
• Colonial Rd – driving shots between about 58 Colonial Rd and Chelsea Sugar (5pm-7pm)
• Around the bridge and ponds by Chelsea (7pm-midnight)