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Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 18:49 GMT 19:49 UK
Lord of the Rings boosts Kiwi capital
Hobbits in Lord of the Rings
Middle Earth: An uncanny resemblance to Wellington
The film versions of the Lord of the Rings' trilogy have pumped about $200m (138m) into the economy of the New Zealand capital city, where much of it was filmed.

The countryside around Wellington was used by director Peter Jackson during filming of the three parts of the novel, which were shot back to back.

Original maps of Middle Earth shows an uncanny resemblance to our geography and coastline

Mary Varnham, Wellington city councillor

"The economic benefits have been considerable," Mary Varnham, Wellington city councillor, told BBC News Online.

The first part of the trilogy is scheduled to be released at the end of the year.

"The making of the film has become so much a part of Wellington there are people who actually believe the city is Middle Earth [the fictional setting of the books].


"Oddly enough, one of the original maps of Middle Earth shows an uncanny resemblance to our geography and coastline."

Elijah Wood in The Fellowship of the Ring
Elijah Wood stars as Hobbit Frodo
Sir Ian McKellen, Sean Bean, Ian Holm and Liv Tyler star in the film version of JRR Tolkien's epic set of novels.

A short trailer for the film was shown at the Cannes film festival earlier this year.

"Director Peter Jackson chose to make the trilogy in Wellington because of the extraordinary film-making infrastructure that exists here," said Ms Varnham.

She added: "Companies specialising in digital effects, miniatures, armour, prosthetics... sound and virtually everything else required are 15 minutes' drive from Jackson's Camperdown studio.

"These are all Wellington companies and people."

More than 2,000 people were employed on the production, many of whom were New Zealanders.

Ms Varnham said: "We're extremely proud of the trilogy and the part Wellington's played in it.

"We believe Tolkien fans are going to be amazed and delighted at the care that has been taken to make the films as true as they could possibly be to the words and spirit of Tolkien.

"This is an absolutely extraordinary production."

See also:

15 May 01 | Film
Cannes preview for Rings
11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Online fans await Tolkien tale
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