The Dominion
April 21, 2001

Honorary Doctorates for Jackson and Walsh
Staff Reporter

Film makers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh are to be jointly awarded honorary Doctorates of Literature by Massey University.

The couple stand on the brink of international fame for the Wellington-shot nearly-$700 million epic, the Lord of the Rings, which Jackson is directing and Walsh co-writing for the screen.

But the couple are also recognised for their long collaboration on films, which has been going on for more than 10 years. Their credits include Heavenly Creatures, based on the Christchurch Parker-Hulme murder case, Meet the Feebles, Braindead and the spoof documentary, Forgotten Silver.

Among many awards for the films, Heavenly Creatures won a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for an Oscar - best screenplay at the 1994 Academy Awards.

The Massey citation reads: "Peter Jackson is the public face of the partnership and is acknowledged as New Zealand's leading film maker, committed to the development of the industry in this country.

"In 1998 he purchased the National Film Unit, New Zealand's only one-stop, post-production film processing laboratory. Fran Walsh is a graduate of Victoria University; she has wide experience as a script writer, has been a board member of the New Zealand Film Commission and has mentored many screen writers."

Wellington's Massey campus principal Bruce Phillips said many New Zealanders - in particular, many of Massey's design graduates - had found employment in creative enterprises that would not have existed without the pair.

"This is the knowledge economy at work and Wellington owes them a huge debt. It is a debt that the university, and the College of Design, Fine Arts and Music in particular, is pleased to acknowledge."

In their letter of acceptance, Walsh and Jackson described their degrees as "a great honour".