Some observations concerning New Zealand and the phenomenon ‘The Lord Of The Rings’.

First there is the fact that this country is so unbelievably beautiful and fairy-like, that I wouldn’t be at all surprised to encounter a Hobbit while walking one of the many trails through the mountains.
Secondly, and even more striking, is the solidarity that many of the New Zealanders have with the movie. New Zealand’s current pride is this film. Everywhere you go, you will be confronted with the film. In bookshops you will find books full of directions to where the film was shot, how it was made, about the costums, etc. In the post office you find cards, stamps and phone cards with lovely Hobbits and tough (lovely too) looking Aragons. Air New Zealand calls itself ‘The airline to Middle Earth’ and has on its planes huge images of the characters. On TV no day passes without at least one report about how many awards the film has won and the large audiences it has attracted. And especially during the period prior to the Oscar events (and directly after) whole evenings were spent on the movie. The newspapers seem to report every word that comes out of the mouth of the actors and Peter Jackson. In short, Tolkien's inheritance is present everywhere.
Being the capital and the centre place where the movie was constructed, Wellington takes a leading role in this Lord Of The Rings hype. Arriving at the airport you will be greeted by a gigantic Gollum climbing over the buildings and reaching out to his precious. The streets of Wellington are over-looked by the Nazguls. They sit on top of the high buildings riding their flying dragons. Seemingly ready to strike and devour the unsuspecting pedestrians.

Another fact is that many New Zealanders don't wear shoes. If this is a result of the film, I don’t know, but it is a clear observation that many do just as the Hobbits do. They go around bare footed. Hence there are more and more places in town with special prohibition signs: No shoes,No entry!
Luckily I have not been affected by this Hobbit syndrome but I check my feet daily. Till now no hairs are growing on them.

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