Wellington prepares for 'Hobbit' crowds | Pacific Beat

Wellington prepares for 'Hobbit' crowds

Wellington prepares for 'Hobbit' crowds

Updated 17 October 2012, 12:46 AEDT

The countdown is on for the world premiere of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, and Wellington is preparing to roll out the red carpet on November 28.

When the last of the Lord of the Rings trilogy films premiered in 2003, more than 100,000 people squeezed onto the city's enterainment strip to watch the stars arrive. Could it be bigger this time around?

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Celia Wade-Brown, Mayor of Wellington

WADE-BROWN: "The Middle of Middle-Earth" is quite a cool little logo and if you look at the design you'll see right in the middle of the Middle B there's a picture of Wellington Harbour with the Miramar pennnsula right in the middle and, of course, that's the heart of film country for Wellington.

COUTTS: And taking it very seriously. A 500 metre red carpet to be laid out in front of the Embassy Theatre?
WADE-BROWN: Yes, that's a pretty long piece of red carpet and it will be wonderful having Sir Peter Jackson and a number of the stars of "The Hobbit" walking along that. We've got a couple of hours between five and seven. There'll be a whole of stars and not everyone is going to be able to squeeze into Courtney Place. So we're doing a live screen over at a lovely park nearby called Waitangi Park and there's going to be an artisan market of Middle Earth inspired craft work there as well.
COUTTS: Now, the Council is spending around $100 million. Given the fiscally constraining times, is that too much?
WADE-BROWN: One-point-one million, not 100 million.
COUTTS: Is that too much money, given the times though?
WADE-BROWN: Well no, I think it's really important, not just to have a great event on the day, but also there's going to be more than 100 different international media outlets in Wellington that day and we want to tell the Wellington story of talent and technology. We've consulted on spending the money on "The Hobbit" premiere through our budget consultation which we do every year and the monies from the commercial sector and they're very supportive of the Council doing a great job.
COUTTS: Now as I said earlier Mayor, New Zealanders and the New Zealand Government and local council also taking it very seriously. They've gone into it 100%, 100% pure New Zealand changed to 100% Middle Earth?
WADE-BROWN: Yes, and I think the idea of having the promotion by Air New Zealand, the promotion by Tourism New Zealand. I'm delighted to say on the DVD's there's going to be a bit of a travel log as well. It means that we're really going to make the best of a very exciting world premiere.
COUTTS: And the ads that I played at the start of this conversation has actually won a Brunton Ad Impact Award, award to celebrate good efective ad campaigns?
WADE-BROWN: Well, isn't it wonderful to have an advert about something that's. We're taking it seriously, but it's also a marvellous story just to be enjoyed as well. We've all enjoyed some of Sir Peter Jackson's previous films whether it's "The Lord of the Rings" or "King Kong" or, of course, "Avatar" was also made, although not written by Sir Peter or directed, but it was also made in Wellington, so we've got the most up-to-date technological special affects here in the charming little seaside suburb of Miramar.
COUTTS: And the next two "Avatars" may well be filmed there as well. But just moving on very quickly. You're issuing coins and are Customer Services considering issuing a Middle Earth passport stamp?
WADE-BROWN: And I think there's going to be stamps for post and so on as well. I think it's going to be quite an inclusive branding of Middle Earth.
COUTTS: And coins as well, but you can't spend them. Are they going to be just commemorate only?
WADE-BROWN: I would imagine it will be a bit of a waste to spend them.

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