Wellington Airport is backing down from its much-derided decision to build a sign saying “Wellywood” on the Miramar peninsula. It announced today that it has decided to seek “alternative ideas.” Political issues seem to be a part of the backdown. Today’s statement from the airport company says the decision was made “after discussing the issue with Mayor Kerry Prendergast,” who had voted in favour of the sign in her capacity as a Board member of the airport company but who seems to have been surprised by the strength of public opposition.
Press Release – Wellington Airport Limited
Wellington International Airport will seek alternative ideas for a sign celebrating the global success of Wellington’s film industry which it plans to erect at the Miramar cutting.
“There is general agreement that the sign is a good idea and there is a healthy discussion around various design ideas. We are listening and we would like to hear those ideas,” said Airport CEO, Steve Fitzgerald.
The public are invited to put forward alternative ideas on Wellington Airport’s recently launched Facebook site.
Wellington Airport’s proposal is for a “WELLYWOOD” sign; a tongue-in-cheek poke at Hollywood and its sign, which coins a term that has become synonymous with the successful film industry located on the Miramar peninsula.
“Our objectives are for the sign to say “Wellington”, “film” and “global”. We think “WELLYWOOD” does that and so do many others,” said Mr Fitzgerald.
“However, after discussing the issue with Mayor Kerry Prendergast we have decided to see if there is a better way of meeting these objectives. She suggested that we listen to some alternative ideas, given the strength of opinion on it, and we’re happy to do that.”
There has been a tremendous amount of publicity around the announcement of the sign in the local and international media, drawing attention to Wellington and its successful film industry.
The Miramar film enclave is an emerging tourist attraction. Film tours are extremely popular, with around 100,000 people through the Weta Cave in the last year.
“The sign will be one of the first things people will see when they arrive in Wellington; it will not only landmark the heart and soul of New Zealand’s film industry, but be an international tourism attraction in its own right,” said the Airport CEO.