The Evening Post
February 27, 2001

Capital Debates Middle Earth Title
Staff Reporter

"Welcome To Middle Earth, Wellington - Home Of Lord Of The Rings".

That's the sign that could grace Wellington's major entrances - or not, if some city councillors have their way.

"To describe Wellington as Middle Earth . . . you'd need another sign next to it saying 'Welcome To Cloud Cuckoo Land'," Councillor Alick Shaw said.

Councillors yesterday voted $20,000 for some type of Welcome To Wellington signs, but stopped short of ordering the Middle Earth signs recommended by council staff.

The money will be included in the council's draft 2001-02 budget which will be opened to public comment before final spending decisions are made in June.

Councillor Allan Johnston feared that promoting Wellington as Middle Earth could quickly become "twee" and dated, especially if the Peter Jackson-directed trilogy was not successful.

He wanted signs that would reflect the wide range of attractions in Wellington.

Mayor Mark Blumsky warned against negative comments about the movies while the council was still waiting to hear back from New Line Cinema about the possibility of establishing a Rings museum in Wellington.