NewsWire: Hobbit push by council - The Evening Post

Many thanks to Sharon for this article!

Hobbit push by council
By Ann-Marie Johnson
The Evening Post - March 22, 2000

Welcome to Wellington - or should those airport signs read Welcome to Middle Earth?

Wellington, New ZealandWellington could attract both tourists and more film productions by trading on being the main location for the $360 million Lord Of The Rings trilogy, city councillors said today.

Cr Mary Varnham said Wellington could become a major destination for Lord Of The Rings fans if attractions based around the movie were developed. She suggested a museum could be set up and airport signs could promote Wellington as the trilogy's location.

Mayor Mark Blumsky said his recent talks with Lord Of The Rings' executives in the United States to discuss the future of the movie sets were promising, raising the possibility that a "Hobbitville" attraction could be set up.

They had also discussed a proposal by the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, to develop an exhibition based on Lord Of The Rings. The trilogy was creating a "huge" amount of excitement in the film industry, he said.

The discussion followed Mr Blumsky's recent trip to the US to promote New Zealand as a film location.

City development and business committee members agreed the council should approach the Government to discuss ways of promoting the film industry, although some councillors expressed concerns about putting ratepayers' money into such a glamorous but fickle area.

Cr Bryan Pepperell said the council should be concentrating on its core business like drains and roads, but Mr Blumsky said it needed to show leadership and promote economic opportunities for the city.

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