It may be well known for its starring role in a blockbuster Trilogy about Hobbits and Dwarves, but there’s no shortage of options when it comes to planning events in Wellington.
Dubbed the ‘Middle of Middle-earth’, the Kiwi capital is at the heart of the country’s world famous film industry, as well as New Zealand’s political, cultural and culinary centre.
A recent conference event gave delegates the opportunity to be photographed with some monsters from Middle-earth
Wellington’s Middle of Middle-earth celebrations around the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey helped drive record traffic to the region’s official tourism website in November, with year-on-year growth for the month at 107%.
Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) Chief Executive David Perks says Australian visits accounted for 11% of traffic to WellingtonNZ.com during the city’s Middle of Middle-earth campaign, nudging out New Zealand’s own Canterbury for second place in out-of-town visitor rankings.
“The fact that Australians accounted for our second largest out-of-town web audience at that time shows interest, intrigue and demand is there. With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey just released and two more films to premiere, there is a huge opportunity for event organisers to leverage that interest – along with the daily direct flights from Australia – through hosting their next event in the Middle of Middle-earth.”
A 13-metre long Gollum diving into the Main Terminal still welcomes guests at Wellington International Airport and as well as being available for small functions, the Weta Cave mini museum can host behind-the-scenes tours. The company can also arrange customised presentations and performances from the artists, actors and managers who have worked on some of the world’s biggest movies at the city’s many venues.
“During the Society of American Travel Writers convention recently we hosted a Weta-themed event at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa for about 450 delegates,” said Perks. “The response from guests was overwhelming; the opportunity to see the skills and craftsmanship behind some of the world’s most successful creative forces up close was so unique – as was the opportunity to be photographed with some monsters from Middle-earth.”
A city where all the best things in life come together, Wellington’s hospitality industry has proved incredibly popular with the stars of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies over the years.
“Because Wellington is such a compact city, it’s very easy for conference organisers to complement gala events at Positively Wellington Venues or Te Papa by hosting dine evenings around their choice of the city’s best restaurants. Said to have more bars and restaurants per capita than New York and home to a string of national culinary award-winners, there’s a hugely palatable selection.”