Found this over at Ringbearer. It’s an older article, but one that’s only recently been found:
Tolkien film-makers begin talks with businesses
by David Williams
Otago Daily Times – December 17th, 1999
Queenstown: Film-makers are talking with caterers, technical
crews and construction managers in the Southern Lakes as the
countdown continues towards the biggest cinema production in
the southern hemisphere.
News of Peter Jackson`s $264 million, three-movie deal for Lord of
the Rings broke in August, accompanied by word that locations in
the Southern Lakes and Central Otago would be used.
Producer Tim Sanders, of Wanaka, said from Wellington yesterday
that discussions were tentative at this stage. Crews were not
expected to be working in and around Queenstown until February
and filming work would start later in the year.
“We don`t need lights or catering until we start the filming process
but we have had discussions [with suppliers].”
Initial approaches had been made to construction companies but
set design work had not been completed so more detailed
negotiations were still “a few months away”, he said.
Queenstown was still likely to be the southern base for location
shooting, he said, some- thing that would be decided in February.
From past experience and the budget of the project, he said “a lot
of money” would be spent in the area.
“We will be bringing large numbers of people into town, so all the
accommodation has to be taken care of. We`ll also be hiring lots
of local people to help . . . and there`s always the entertainment
side – everyone spends all their money in town,” he said.
Mr Sanders said making the Lord of the Rings was a “gigantic”
“There are bigger budget films made in Hollywood and very
occasionally in the UK, but I can`t think of anywhere else,” he
“They have this massive infrastructure in which to do their work –
thousands and thousands of suppliers, scores of different camera
rental places – it`s a true industry in Hollywood but it isn`t
anywhere else, and when we`re doing it down here we have to
invent what they`ve already got.”
Everything from quaint villages to costumes, castles and hand
props, had to be manufactured before filming could start.
Mr Sanders said the film was being made in New Zealand because
the country had in a small area what J. R. R.Tolkien`s books
described – rustic countryside, mighty snowy mountains and
volcanoes. But the single most important factor was Peter
“He`s the guy who came up with the idea of doing it now, who put
the idea together and pitched it successfully to the overseas
people . . . He`s why we`re doing it in New Zealand.”