If it weren't for New Zealand the Lord of the Rings trilogy would have been much worse off. Not only is it the home country of director Peter Jackson, it was the majestic nature of the country's topography that brought the world of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth to life. And the series has been a huge boon to New Zealand as well, as many fans travel there to take a journey similar to the one taken by Frodo Baggins. It is a wonderful, awesome symbiotic relationship, and with the release of The Hobbit coming up, one of the nation's biggest cities is celebrating in a big way.
The Associated Press has learned that to celebrate the world premiere of The Hobbit, which will be on November 28th, the city of Wellington, New Zealand will officially rename itself "The Middle of Middle-earth." The title will last for three weeks before and after the premiere. Adding to the celebration, the capital will also have an artisan festival where people can sell trinkets and crafts and there will be a red carpet 500 yards long that will extend through central Wellington (so that people in the city will be able to take part in the celebration. It has been reported that the city will spend 1.1 million New Zealand dollars ($900,000) on the celebration.
As a fan I have to say this is a pretty cool stunt. While it's only for six weeks, which is a blip on the timeline, it will be in the history books that the capital of New Zealand was once known as "The Middle of Middle-earth." It's a lot of money for the city to spend on the event, but given how great the franchise has been for both sides it's hard to find fault in it.
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