According to New Zealand's The Dominion Post, James Cameron has started shooting scenes for Avatar in the country:

A secret Wellington location was uncovered yesterday where 80 imitation-gun-toting, camo-wearing stuntpeople and actors had gathered for days of rehearsals. RELATED: Avatar 2 Wraps Filming Confirms James Cameron

The men and women had split into pairs to learn how to provide covering fire for their partner. The manoeuvres included plenty of macho shouting and wide-legged posturing.

The $200 million science fiction film stars Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi, Zoe Saldana and Michelle Rodriguez.

Cameron is shooting the film using a new 3D process and will feature a blend of live-action photography and virtual photorealistic production techniques invented by his team. The film will also feature six computer-generated actors known as "synthespians".

Avatar is expected to be released in 2009.