The Dominion

April 6, 2000

'Rings' Foolery Upsets Kids
Dominion Reporter

A radio station's April Fools' Day prank that lured children into bogus film auditions has parents enraged.

The call by King Country Radio to auditions for something called "The Rings" upset children -- and Lord Of the Rings administrators.

Up to 20 children performed songs and dances in Taumarunui on Saturday before the radio staff told them: "You have been very good, but we've been very bad. It's April Fools' Day, and you've been had."

But instead of laughing, some parents got angry. Some, still believing there was a Lord of the Rings involvement, vented their spleen on the film company.

Film spokeswoman Claire Raskind said the film crew had been inundated by calls from parents.

"Some of the children were apparently devastated when they found out . . . we didn't support they [station's] actions."

Station manager Aroha Rudkin said that, with hindsight, it regretted the hoax, which had been aimed at the parents, not the children.

"You don't like to see kids upset . . . we are sincerely sorry."

To "put things right" the station is holding a professionally judged voice test for children, the winner to receive a copy of The Lord of the Rings signed by cast members.