Blurring the Lines, Fantasy is Reality in NZ

Mount Doom from Wikipedia

Tourism New Zealand is poised to ensure that New Zealand cashes in on the forthcoming Hobbit film release.

After the surge in interest generated by the Lord of the Rings films (coming conveniently soon after the September 11 attacks in the US and Helen Clark cashing in by declaring New Zealand a “safe haven”)  New Zealand will be sure to want pull as many golden eggs as possible from out of the Hobbit’s only goose.

It has a lot of money staked in the middle earth venture. Millions of dollars of assistance were given to the film studio and New Zealand sold out its employment law to the studio system to ensure that crucial filming remained in New Zealand (read The Hobbit – it was all about the dollars) If you thought this film was about Hobbits Elves and Dwarfs think again, New Zealand has unashamedly ensured it itself is the star and taking centre stage.

“In November 2012, New Zealand’s stunning landscapes will be centre stage for movie lovers world-wide with the première of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’.  New

However The Hobbit is a kids story book, are children going to be that impressed by sweeping panoramas and brooding mountain shots even if they are in 3D?

Let’s hope that the adult audience isn’t too taken in by scenery that could be found in most continents on the planet. A few good mountain shots and some green grass doesn’t make New Zealand  a good place to emigrate to as the members of the ExpatExposed forum and our Migrants Tales authors will attest. Many migrants find the country backward, cold and intolerant of outsiders.

“New Zealand prides itself on being a friendly, easygoing country, yet for some immigrants and many refugees this green and pleasant land is a toxic environment where they become socially isolated, culturally adrift, wracked by loneliness and homesickness, racially abused and discriminated against by employers...” The Unfriendly Isles NZ Listener magazine.

Read our Welcome Page to find out how New Zealand’s image has been managed right from the start to attract people.

Migrate if you have no other option but remember there is a big difference between fantasy and reality, a pleasant (but expensive and distant) holiday destination may not be suitable as as long term life choice. For every Mount Doom there is a real life Mount Tongariro waiting to erupt.

In a press release issued on Thursday 9 August Tourism NZ said

With just three months to go until the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Wellington, Tourism New Zealand has been working to ensure New Zealand benefits from the increase in international attention.

A creative theme for all activity, Fantasy is Reality has been confirmed to ensure there is a strong connection between the films and New Zealand. Key international media and opinion leader targets have been identified. Advertising schedules are locked in. Broadcast footage, captured.

“One of our most exciting milestones will be reached in late August when the new  100% Pure New Zealand campaign will get its first public airing, drawing together the themes ‘100% Pure’ and ‘100% Middle Earth‘” says Chief Executive Kevin Bowler.

“Our new advertisement will be placed on TV, cinema and on-line, and new pages and imagery will go live on

“This will be the first screening of the latest evolution of the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign and we are pretty excited about it,” he says.

Tourism New Zealand is already well underway with its activity to convert the international attention New Zealand will draw from the movies, into travel.

Kevin says, “International media attention surrounding the films has been growing over the past few months and we have already hosted a number of journalists who are writing specifically about New Zealand as the location for the films.

“We have Hobbit-specific pages on our corporate website, and images on our image library, providing a hub for all the news and information people may need.

“Consumers visiting will already find a “Home of Middle-earth” section offering a range of experiences and products that are based around the filming of The Lord of the Rings.

“We were also thrilled to be a part of the Weta booth at Comic Con in the middle of July, working alongside Air New Zealand, Hobbiton and Film New Zealand to promote New Zealand, to those who attended the exhibition.”

Comic Con is now regarded as the largest comic book and popular arts convention in the world with around 130,000 people attending.

“As we work to leverage The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back again, we will connect the landscapes of Middle-earth with the experiences of New Zealand.

“Through our marketing activity we will show how easy it is to come here, see Middle-earth first-hand, and enjoy all the exciting and fun experiences New Zealand has to offer,” he says.”

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BBC Questions New Zealand’s 100% Pure Image

New Zealand’s economically valuable “100% Pure” brand has been questioned in international media due to the pollution of our rivers and lakes, the Green Party said today.

We must get real about cleaning up our rivers and lakes, because the world is beginning to realise that we aren’t living up to our clean green image,” said Dr Norman.

Dr Norman was responding to John Key’s interview yesterday on BBC News HARDtalk. During the interview (see video above) host Stephen Sackur commented that New Zealand is clearly not 100% Pure and cited that half of New Zealand lakes and 90% of our lowland rivers are classed as polluted… read on

For more about the 100% Pure myth click here

2 thoughts on “Blurring the Lines, Fantasy is Reality in NZ

  1. So, Peter Jackson not only gets cheap labor, but a free marketing campaign, too. Way to go National. But I doubt Labour would have done anything different. Imagine the ammunition piling up against any party that “lost” the Middle Earth franchise.

  2. Funny how New Zealanders got all hot’n’bothered when our American cuzzies put pressure on us to abandon our nuke-free policy.

    But when it came to Middle Earth/Peter Jackson/The Hobbit/LoTR – we dutifully fell in behind the corporate wide-boys from Hollywood.


    Because NZ society is so desperate for national pride that we latched on to a mythical world so we could identify with a runaway success like LoTR.

    The whole Jackson/Warner Bros thing identified the emptiness of pakeha New Zealand culture. (Pakeha don’t seem to want to embrace that which Maori have to offer – unless it’s a bunch of intoxicated young people doing their OE, and performing a rather bad haka for the amusement of locals.)

    LoTR was filmed here and thus Middle Earth became synonymous with NZ. We took the success that went with it as well.

    So when a bunch of uppity actors raised their voices, a kind of mass hysteria/moral panic set in and Actors Equity became a demonised enemy even more hated than welfare recipients.

    The irony here is that without those actors, LoTR could never have happened. It’s not much of a story filming vast swathes of empty countryness, sans hobbits, elves, orcs, whatever.

    It was a collective madness setting in, and Key, Warner Bos, and Jackson played us like musical instruments.

    When a society goes mad, en masse, it’s a frightening thing. It happening in Germany in the 1930s; USA, 1950s with McCarthyism; and Cambodia, 1970s, with the Khmer Rouge.

    Whoever documents the Hobbit Madness in a documentary will produce something that will last a long time in our consciousness.

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