The world premiere of the Lord of the Rings was held in Wellington, New Zealand today – my hometown. Peter Jackson, the New Zealand director of the Rings trilogy, is from Wellington. He’s the King of Wellington as far as I’m concerned. And NZ’s capital city turned on a beautiful sunny day today for the premiere, temparature in the early 20’s and not a cloud in the sky. Ahh, summer has arrived! I went for a walk down Courtenay Place at lunchtime, down towards the Embassy Theatre where the premiere is being held. I walked past Elijah Wood eating lunch at a sidewalk cafe. I didn’t stare at him. About 3.30pm there was a parade that started on Lambton Quay, where I work. My workmates and I had a great possie, looking down on the Quay. The stars went past in their shiny red cars, accompanied by assorted people and horses in LOTR costumes. As Liv Tyler went past, she looked up at us and I swear she waved directly at me!
But the day really belonged to Peter Jackson. He was interviewed on the Holmes show, which is the most popular nightly current affairs tv show here in NZ. btw my novel character James Hore is closely based on Paul Holmes (along with another popular media personality here, John Campbell of TV3). Anyway, back to Peter Jackson. Holmes questioned him on why he stays in New Zealand when so many other successful kiwis have moved offshore. Peter Jackson said something like: why should I? I was born and brought up in Wellington. It’s my home. I shouldn’t have to go elsewhere to do the thing I love doing – make movies.
So Peter Jackson brought Hollywood to little old New Zealand, a country with 4 million population. He employed thousands of kiwis on the filmsets, took advantage of the breathless South Island mountain scenery, and most importantly gave innovative kiwi companies like Weta (the visual affects team) the chance to make their creative mark on the world. Later in his speech to the crowds gathered on Courtenay Place, Peter Jackson told the story of how the sound affects were all done by a company based in Mirimar. Which is a sleepy middle class suburb in Wellington, New Zealand. Beautiful!