In the News: The Press On-Line – Hobbits in Kepler Mire upset Forest and Bird

by Nov 18, 1999Lord of the Rings (Movies)

Yet another article tracking the struggle Peter Jackson and crew are going to have when filming on protected land.

Hobbits in Kepler Mire upset Forest and Bird

by Rosemarie North

The Press On-Line – November 15, 1999

THE Royal Forest and Bird Society has taken issue with the Department of Conservation for allowing Lord of the Rings filming on protected land.

Conservation Minister Nick Smith announced on Friday that
crews would be allowed to film on National Park land in
Fiordland and Central Otago.

Forest and Bird’s southern conservation officer Sue Maturin
said she was disappointed Lord of the Rings production
company Three Foot Six Ltd had been granted consent to film
in the Kepler Mire in the Te Anau basin.

“Frodo and his hairy hobbit friends with their large attendant
film crews may severely damage sensitive landscapes,” Ms
Maturin said.

Filming in some areas could involve bringing 30 equipment
trucks, 10 caravans and up to 200 staff on to some sites for up
to nine days at a time, she said.

“National Parks are meant to be preserved as far as possible in
their natural state and commercial concessions are supposed to
avoid annoying other park users,” Ms Maturin said.

Forest and Bird had made a submission to the Department of
Conservation against filming in The Kepler Mire.

It pointed out the mire was an ancient string bog, unusual in the
southern hemisphere.

The wetland contained rare and delicate plants and was an
important habitat of the grey duck, New Zealand fern bird and
Australasian bittern.

Filming is expected to take place during the birds’ breeding
season.



“It will be difficult, if not impossible, for film crew and cast to
avoid the sensitive areas and any restoration would severely
detract from the existing natural values,” the submission said.

A spokeswoman for Mr Smith said the crew had to work hard
to get the consents.

A conservation officer would be present constantly when the
crew was working in environmentally sensitive areas and, at
other time, the officer would check on filming several times a
day.



The company had paid a $50,000 bond in case damage was
done and agreed to meet 77 conditions in an extensive
40-page document.

“They’re being really, really careful,” she said.

Under the terms of the consent, battle scenes and extensive use
of horses will not be allowed.

The company will meet Ngai Tahu representatives before
filming starts to gain a Maori perspective on the land.

Other groups were also consulted.

Filming of the $360 million movie trilogy is due to take place
around Te Anau, Fiordland, the Wakatipu basin and Mt
Owen, near Murchison, during the next few months.

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