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Tongariro Nat. Park

Sunday Star Times

March 5, 2000

Rings to Film at Tongariro
Oskar Alley

Permission for crucial scenes of Lord of The Rings to be filmed at Tongariro National Park is expected this week. It is understood Kiwi director Peter Jackson has the green light to film in the area around Mt. Ruapehu, although the Department of Conservation was unwilling to confirm this. Tongariro senior community relations officer Dave Wakelin said the protection of the area's natural beauty was vital.

"It's a world heritage park which we're very proud of and naturally you have in this situation conditions which have been set and we obviously want to keep it that way."

It is understood the Rings team will be granted permission to film on Maori and army land, though some concessions may have to be made. Filming on the $360 million project had already been completed on conservation land in the South Island without incident. Producers had to pay a $50,000 bond, which could be increased to film in Tongariro. Wakelin said the good record would be taken into consideration. "These film companies are very experianced. They know the game, and I think we've had good co-operation from them, which is great."

Rings producer Barrie M Osbourne said he was confident a deal would be struck, but he was happy to follow the application process. He confirmed Tongariro, with it's mountains, desert and rolling mist, was a crucial filming location and not getting permission would be a hindrance. Osbourne said filming in the area would pump millions of dollars into the local economy, with more than 600 cast and crew required at times and local jobs created.