Hooray for Wellywood! Sign celebrates NZ films

Hooray for Wellywood! Sign celebrates NZ films

It is one of the world’s most iconic sights, and now New Zealand is set to celebrate its homegrown film industry with its very own version of the Hollywood sign.

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A string of letters 3.5 metres tall will spell out ‘Wellywood’ in the hills of the Miramar peninsula, near Wellington Airport.

The New Zealand capital is the birthplace of some of the most recognisable scenes in modern cinema, from Middle Earth to Pandora.

Several film companies are based on the peninsula, including the award winning special effects crew at Weta – the brains behind Lord of the Rings and Avatar.

The Kiwi film industry pumps $NZ285 million ($A219.64 million) into Wellington each year.

New Zealand film director, Sir Peter Jackson, told The Dominion Post, the sign was a bit of “cheeky fun”.

Tongue-in-cheek humour

“It’s Kiwi tongue-in-cheek humour at its very best,” the Oscar winner said. “But beneath the leg-pulling is genuine pride.

“Several of the most popular films ever made were born in Miramar.

“Within a mile of the sign is the birth place of Middle Earth and Pandora.”

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast said the sign would be one of the first things people flying into the city would see.

“This is the heart and soul of New Zealand’s film industry and… the city is proud of its amazing achievements,” she said in a statement.

However, Hataitai locals, who will see the sign from their homes, told the newspaper the sign was “tacky” and “gimmicky”.

Installation of the sign, which will be paid for by Wellington Airport, is scheduled for June.