Entertainment, media, film and television

We are a leader in entertainment, media, film and television law.  We provide legal advice to broadcasters, new media operators, game developers, funders, producers and post-production agencies on all aspects of screen productions in New Zealand.


We provide seamless legal support for New Zealand screen productions

If you are involved in a screen production in New Zealand, then we have a wide range of experts that can assist you.

We have experience in:

  • Commercial agreements
  • Content regulation
  • Financing and tax
  • Intellectual property including, copyright and trade marks
  • Employment
  • Health and safety
  • Real estate/property.

We are familiar with the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG). We can help you structure productions to comply with the NZSPG requirements and achieve maximum New Zealand tax efficiency.

We collaborate with others to ensure successful project outcomes

We work with other advisers who are familiar with the screen sector and the relevant regimes. These advisers include accountants, insurers, and health and safety consultants.

We regularly collaborate with law firms overseas. We expertly manage the inputs required from a multi-disciplinary international team to ensure successful outcomes.

We work in new media

We are experts in new media and regularly work with content owners to make their material available online.

Our clients come from a range of industries including:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Game development
  • Entertainment
  • Sports
  • Fitness
  • Social media
  • Radio.
How we can help

Production, licensing, content and distribution

  • Assisting with production-related contracts, including cast, crew, writers, composers, and artists, as well as access and location agreements and clearances
  • Checking production templates are appropriate for the production and consistent with New Zealand law
  • Helping to establish production and Errors and Omissions insurance
  • Advising on licensing and distribution agreements, including licences to New Zealand and Australian broadcasters and video-on-demand providers, and other international distribution arrangements
  • Advising on content issues, including script and rough-cut review, censorship issues, broadcasting rules and classification
  • Providing regulatory advice on broadcasting, video-on demand and streaming arrangements
  • Assisting with commercial contracts and contracts for production and distribution technology.

Government support

Helping to obtain appropriate Government funding and support (including through the New Zealand Film Commission), and advising on the relevant criteria and application requirements.

Employment issues and use of independent contractors

  • Advising on the Screen Industry Workers Bill
  • Advising on a range of employment issues, including:
    • drafting and negotiating employment agreements and contracts for services
    • providing advice and representation in collective bargaining
    • assisting in resolving personal grievances and other disputes.


Advising on a range of property issues including drafting and negotiating studio development leases, leases for studios, access licences, access agreements and property licences for studio space and filming locations.

Project financing and tax

  • Structuring and negotiating financing for productions with grant funders and third-party financiers
  • Advising financiers on production financing
  • Advising on tax efficient financing strategies.

Intellectual property

Advising on clearance of rights, chain of title, licensing of third party IP, and IP protection, piracy and infringement.

  • Band 1, Chambers Asia-Pacific, for Technology, media and telecommunications (TMT)
  • Tier 1, Legal500 Asia-Pacific, for Technology, media and telecommunications (TMT)

Work highlights

Advising on a production of a popular US television series

We advised on a production of a popular US television series for a major US broadcaster that was filmed in Queenstown. Our advice ensured that the production was structured to meet the requirements of the US parties as well as the NZSPG, and was tax efficient. We designed the structure to ensure New Zealand goods and services tax (GST at 15%) was refunded instead of being a deadweight cost. This made the production as cost effective as possible. We also helped secure the ability to build and use an outside spa pool at Cardrona Ski field.

Grand Designs New Zealand

We advised the producers of Grand Designs New Zealand, one of New Zealand's most popular television programmes, which is also distributed overseas. The production challenges around this programme are unique, with production following house builds for many months and sometimes years. Our advice has helped the producers to navigate potential issues around health and safety, and clearances (eg where a building project is sold).

Screen Industry Workers Act

We have advised on the Screen Industry Workers Act. The Act provides for a workplace relations framework that will provide clarity about the employment status of people doing screen production work. It introduces a duty of good faith and mandatory terms for contracting relationships in the industry, allows collective bargaining at the occupation and enterprise levels, and creates processes for resolving disputes arising from contracting relations or collective bargaining.

Reality television productions

We have advised on a number of reality television productions made for both New Zealand and international audiences, including Ex on the Beach (Peak edition), MasterChef New Zealand, My Kitchen Rules, Heartbreak Island (filmed in Fiji) and HOMEmade.

International rugby

We have advised on the outside broadcast and production aspects of key international rugby matches played in New Zealand, including All Blacks and Super Rugby games.

Factual television productions

We have advised on a number of factual television productions, including productions filmed at various international locations such as Rachel Hunter's Tour of Beauty and K & K's Kitchen Diplomacy, as well as productions filmed in Australia and New Zealand like Wild Life at the Zoo and SPCA Animal Rescue.

Our team

Philip Wood

Partner, Auckland

Philip specialises in providing commercial, IT, telecommunication, media and television/film sector advice including strategic advice…

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Allan Yeoman

Partner, Auckland

Allan is a partner in Buddle Findlay's Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) team. He specialises in providing…

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Hamish Selby

Partner, Auckland

Hamish specialises in intellectual property and leads the Buddle Findlay intellectual property team…

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Peter Chemis

Partner, Wellington

Peter specialises in employment law, industrial relations and related areas, and leads Buddle Findlay’s national employment team…

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Tony Wilkinson

Partner, Auckland

Tony has a highly regarded practice acting for public and private sector clients. He is the lead tax advisor for Buddle Findlay’s most…

Email Tony Wilkinson