Capital to get Wellywood sign

A massive Wellywood sign celebrating Wellington's success in the film industry will greet tourists as they fly into the capital. But not everyone agrees on the sign, which will sit on a cutting above Miramar wharf in the seaside eastern suburbs.

Only 44 percent of nearly 9000 respondents to a online survey were positive about the idea.

Two Facebook pages opposing the sign have been set up, the "A WELLYWOOD sign on the Miramar Cutting hill is a STUPID idea" page has 118 fans, while the "Hey, let's NOT have a "WELLYWOOD" sign in Wellington" group has 447 members.

The sign, which will mimic the famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, will be 28m long and 3.5m tall. This pales in comparison to the size of the Los Angeles sign, the letters of which are 14m high and 10m wide.

Wellington Airport will pay for the construction of the sign on the Miramar site which it owns.

The project has already received resource consent and final installation is expected to happen in June.

Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Fitzgerald told The Dominion Post "the sign will help cement Wellywood's place as an international tourism landmark, increasing both visitation and number of visitor nights."

Tourists visiting Wellington are already attracted by the film industry, with around 100,000 people visiting Weta Workshop's Weta Cave in the last year.

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast supported the sign and said it would be recognition for the extraordinary contribution the film industry makes to Wellington's identity.

"The sign will be one of the first things people will see when they arrive in Wellington. They will be left in no doubt that this is the heart and soul of New Zealand's film industry, and that the city is proud of its amazing achievements," said Ms Prendergast.

Airport spokeswoman Louise Murray was unwilling to reveal the project's cost, but told NZPA it was an "insignificant amount compared to the contribution the film industry makes to Wellington".

The airport had been "kicking around the idea for some time" and lodged the project for resource consent in December last year, she said.


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