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
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.