Saturday 23 September 2017

City plans Middle-earth name change

Wellington City Council shows a logo designed by Daniel Reeve, who worked on the cartography and calligraphy for The Hobbit trilogy (AP/Wellington City Council)
Wellington City Council shows a logo designed by Daniel Reeve, who worked on the cartography and calligraphy for The Hobbit trilogy (AP/Wellington City Council)

New Zealand's capital is preparing for the world premiere of the opening film in The Hobbit trilogy by laying out the red carpet - which will extend 500 yards through central Wellington - and even renaming the city itself after the trilogy's fictional setting of Middle-earth.

Wellington is planning to spend 1.1 million New Zealand dollars (£550,000) to mark the November 28 premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at the Embassy Theatre.

It is a fitting venue for the movie directed by Wellington resident Peter Jackson and filmed throughout New Zealand.

The Hobbit series chronologically precedes Jackson's acclaimed The Lord Of The Rings trilogy in author JRR Tolkien's imagined world.

"Thousands of people want to come and be part of the fun," mayor Celia Wade-Brown said. She said Jackson has helped create a film industry in Wellington that now employs more than 3,000 people.

Wellington plans to unofficially rename itself "The Middle of Middle-earth" for three weeks before and after the premiere.

It says the name will be widely recognised, reflected on things such as the postmarks on letters and the masthead of the city's main newspaper.

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