Wellington Airport has announced today that the sign chosen to celebrate and promote Wellington ’s iconic film industry is WELLYWOOD. The 8m by 30m edifice will be the city’s newest photo opportunity and is expected to appear on more than a few holiday snaps in the coming years.
“Tourism contributes $1.3 billion to the Wellington regional economy each year and is a very significant part of our business as an airport,” said Steve Fitzgerald CEO of Wellington Airport.
“Initiatives which will help our tourism industry stand out on the global stage have never been so important, and at Wellington Airport we are proud to do this through celebrating Wellington ’s talent and success.”
In 2009 Wellington Airport began investigating the construction of a monument on an unused piece of land on the Miramar Peninsular to add another high profile attraction to Wellington . Resource consent was granted by the City Council for a sign on the hill in February 2010.
“By looking at Wellington ’s unique characteristics, the film industry stood out as one of our most successful points of difference. Wellington has already produced two of the top five highest grossing films of all time and there are high hopes that there is much more success to come,” says Steve Fitzgerald.
In 2010 Wellington Airport went public with the WELLWOOD concept and has since received thousands of suggestions and ideas for a sign. The Airport announced the required criteria of a sign, noting that it must convey ‘Film’, ‘Wellington’, and ‘Global’ and a top 10 list of concepts was further discussed. The Airport also considered the feasibility of the concepts, which included enormous statues and even a Mount Rushmore style rock carving.
WELLYWOOD proved to be the best fit with the criteria and will be the new look sported by the hillside.
When the announcement was first made, WELLYWOOD reached the global media, reported in countries such as India , the USA and the UK . The term has already been used in conjunction with ‘film’ and ‘ Wellington ’ in many publications including the New York Times.
WELLYWOOD has long been adopted as a colloquial expression when referring to the Wellington film industry. As of today a Google search on WELLYWOOD generated 224,000 results and it has already become a term of endearment for the film industry’s base at the Capital.
Steve Fitzgerald commented, “I expect widespread support for the intent of the sign, even if a WELLYWOOD sign isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Everyone benefits from increasing tourism for Wellington . The film industry is a hugely significant contributor to our economy, and it is vital to promote and support it if we are to see continued growth in our region”.
“We remain open to ideas for future projects to further raise Wellington ’s international profile. It has been clear from our consultation that it is a lot easier to express an opinion on an idea than to develop new ideas. It is new ideas that take us forward.”
Jeremy Moon, CEO, Icebreaker said “What defines Wellington is our creativity. We need more noise, not less, celebrating this. I say go for it and stop fluffing!”
Lloyd Morrison, Chairman HRL Morrison & Co and Director Infratil said, ” Wellington and New Zealand need to cleverly get out and compete to let the world know that we’re here. We don’t have the massive advertising budgets and channels of larger cities or bigger nations.
“It is a privilege to be working in the same city as Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor and their thousands of fellow dream builders in Miramar . We’re not going to hide that under a bushel.
“Of course there are some objectors to this idea – the same have complained about naming the airport ‘Wild at Heart’, about the design of the Rock, who don’t like Snapper, or the brand of the buses ‘Go Wellington’ and who don’t understand ‘Z is for New Zealand ‘.
“Without the people and businesses who have challenged the ‘social norm’ of their time, Wellington wouldn’t be what it is today. We need to keep pushing the boundaries!”
Steve Fitzgerald, CEO, Wellington Airport said, “Wellington needs to get onto everyone’s Bucket List – and a WELLYWOOD sign is a clear message that Wellington is a “must-see” destination with a really important film industry.
“I grew up only three hours’ flight from Wellington , but was unaware of the compelling reasons to visit Wellington until I got involved with Infratil seven years ago. I am now a passionate Wellingtonian.
“Being niche and understated is cool positioning for a local audience, but to be relevant on the World tourism trail, we need to shout about why we are great.”