Celebrating The Hobbit

Prime Minister’s weekly column

Last week, my wife Bronagh and I attended the premiere of Peter Jackson’s film The Hobbit in Wellington.  We had a fantastic time, and it was great to see tens of thousands of Kiwis and tourists lining the red carpet, and mingling with the stars.

I’m proud our Government took action to make sure The Hobbit films were made here. They created 3000 jobs and poured millions of dollars into our regions.Cast and crew made over 6700 flights throughout New Zealand as part of their work on location. 93,000 hotel beds were filled due to The Hobbit, providing accommodation……..

to both cast and crew.  And making this film took an astounding 1800 rental cars, and 1650 work vehicles.

The Hobbit will behuge for New Zealand, on top of the economic benefits we’ve already seen.  For almost three hours, those watching the movie will be treated to New Zealand’s stunning scenery on the big screen.  This is great advertising for our tourism industry and will keep Hobbit fans flocking to our shores in the future.

On Thursday I visited Matamata, the home of ‘Hobbiton’, to take a look at the set for part of  this film.  Already this year, visitor numbers to Matamata have increased enormously, off the back of the newly established Hobbit set tours.  This is just one example of the impactThe Hobbit will have in our regions.

New Zealanders are creative and innovative. We’re producing some of the world’s best food, designing world-class software, and making some of the world’s greatest movies.The Hobbit,The Lord of the Rings, and Avatar have helped create a billion-dollar industry here, and showed off our talent – and our landscapes – to the world.

Our overall screen industry directly supports more than 2700 businesses, almost all of which are involved in production and post-production work.

Last week was one of celebration for all those across New Zealand who had a part to play on the making of The Hobbit.  To everyone involved, I say congratulations all New Zealanders should be very proud.