Taylor Swift film crew denies harming endangered dotterels in New Zealand shoot

taylor swift

The company accused of harming rare birds in New Zealand while shooting a Taylor Swift video says the singer had nothing to do with the incident.

Campaigners claim Cherokee Films took too many vehicles to Bethells Beach near Auckland and could have crushed endangered Dotterel nests.

The company has issued a statement defending Taylor Swift.

It denies causing any harm to the birds and says the singer wasn't involved in the planning for the video shoot.

"Taylor Swift and her management team were in no way at fault and did not do anything that violated permits or ordinances," said Cherokee Films.

"Cherokee Films has a long history of responsible film shoots across Auckland, including Bethells Beach, where we have filmed many times.

"Our shoots have always been with the guidance and support of the relevant local authority - most recently Screen Auckland and Parks - and landowners.

"In acknowledgement of the concern this has added to those in charge of protecting local Dotterel population Cherokee Films will make a donation to the breeding program as we support your concerns."

Image caption The dotterel is endangered with something like 1,700 left in New Zealand.

Sandra Coney, from the conservation group the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, says Taylor's film team had permission from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) for two vehicles on the beach.

But she reckons there were a dozen vans and four-wheel drives.

"It's really disappointing that such a large number of vehicles would park all over the beach and drive all over the beach," she told Radio New Zealand.

The film company shooting the video has released a map of the areas they filmed on and were allowed access to.

Map of area at Bethells Beach that Cherokee Films were allowed to film on

The statement from Cherokee Films continued: "Cherokee Films were filming at Bethells Beach on Monday 23rd November where a base camp was set up on private land which allowed for access to the beach.

Once on the beach, via the restricted access zone, the film crew presence was always in the hard sand area only - as per the permit
Cherokee Films statement

"We had permission from the landowners and paid a fee for use of the land.

"At all times the film crew adhered to the Dotterel protocol in guidelines provided about the dotterel nesting sites, and at no time were the film crew close to that habitat. No Dotterel were harmed.

"Our filming occurred outside of the Dotterel breeding area (as per referenced map which indicates the area and also the breeding seasons).

"Once on the beach, via the restricted access zone, the film crew presence was always in the hard sand area only - as per the permit."

Bethells Beach near Auckland in New Zealand

New Zealand's Department of Conversation website warns beachgoers to watch out for dotterel nests in the sand near the high-tide mark.

"Because they are so hard to see, nests are sometimes crushed by people, vehicles, horses or stock," it says.

Sandra Coney said she would ask Auckland council to investigate the behaviour of those involved.

Despite admitting she was a fan of Taylor Swift's songs, she said she was in no mood to follow the advice of the singer's biggest hit Shake It Off.

"I don't know whether Shake It Off is the right thing," she said.

"But she's got another song, Wildest Dreams, that says, 'Say you'll remember me.' Maybe I'll do that instead."

There's no word yet on this from Taylor Swift's people.

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