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The Lord of the Rings Good for Region


The Lord of the Rings Good for Region

Despite negative publicity surrounding the tax rebates paid on the production of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, the medium to long term effects of the production can only be positive, says Wellington’s economic development agency Positively Wellington Business.

“The upskilling of local industry, the upgrading of screen production facilities, the growth of production relationships domestically and offshore, and the enhanced reputation of New Zealand talent and crews, are all a direct consequence of the country’s investment in The Lord of the Rings,” says Chris Lipscombe, Creative and Film Sector Manager for Positively Wellington Business.

“Putting aside the direct benefits from the spend to the regional economy, which is estimated to be over $250 million for a production of this size, the benefits of The Lord of the Rings to the industry are significant. It is raising the international profile of New Zealand’s film writing, production and post-production capabilities. That has got to be good for New Zealand.”

A report by NZIER to The New Zealand Film Commission in April 2002 estimated that production expenditure on The Lord of The Rings up to March 2002 was NZ$352 million. During the peak production period, up to 1,500 people per week were being employed, and work shipped out to over 5000 vendors.

Positively Wellington Business is working to build on the foundations laid through the success of The Lord of the Rings through support for industry capability-building and marketing initiatives. “Let’s face it, it’s not perfect,” says Lipscombe. “We still lack the solid base of investors in New Zealand that will allow us to fund our own productions and manage all the associated intellectual property to our advantage. But this is the best chance we’ve had so far to build a sustainable film industry that can hold its own on the international stage.”

Initiatives like the Film Friendly Programme managed by Positively Wellington Business under the FilmWellington brand, with the close cooperation and support of local city councils, also make it easy for film and television producers and crew to film in the region.

Jonty Barraud, film producer at Silverscreen Productions, agrees. Commenting on a recent weekend shoot, Barraud said that he could not have achieved what he did without the help of FilmWellington and the Wellington City Council. “We knew we would get their support and they thoroughly came through for us. Once again we’ve proved that Wellington has much to offer for the value and ease of shooting in this city.”


Positively Wellington Business is an independent trust funded by Wellington, Hutt City, Upper Hutt and Porirua City Councils to develop sustainable businesses and grow wealth and jobs in the Wellington region. Positively Wellington Business has identified four key sectors as critical to regional growth – Film and Creative, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Niche Manufacturing, and Professional Services (including Education). Together with its partners in tertiary education, central and local government, Positively Wellington Business develops and implements business growth strategies in these key sectors to deliver a brighter future for the region.

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