New Zealand’s coolest capital, Wellington, has just been named an international City of Film by UNESCO. Wellington is the first city in New Zealand to be designated this title and one of only 17 globally, making them part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Incredible films which have been made in Wellington include Avatar, Planet of the Apes and of course Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit Trilogies. However, as stated by Andy Foster, the Mayor of Wellington, this accolade also “recognizes the vibrancy of our entire film community. We’re a place that flocks to events like the New Zealand International Film Festival, the Māoriland Film festival, 48 Hour Film Festival and Roxy5, we have a strong screen education sector and a very talented creative community.”
 
Take a tour through Wellington’s filmmaking history by exploring the following locations where the magic of the movies has been brought to life:
– Wellington Airport: As soon as you land be immediately immersed in Welly’s filmmaking history. Greeting you in the arrival hall are three massive Middle-earth giants – Gandalf and the eagles, Gollum and his fishes, and Smaug the dragon.
– Thunderbirds Are Go Behind the Scenes Experience: Visit the Thunderbirds Are Go shooting stage at Weta Workshop and discover the genuine props, models and miniatures behind the modern-day remake of this popular television series.
– Weta Cave & Weta Studio Tour: The first stop for film buffs and LOTR fans, Weta Cave is the shop front of the multiple Oscar-winning Weta Workshop, the brainchild of Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor.
– Stone Street Studios: Co-owned by the Oscar-winning trio of Sir Peter Jackson, Sir Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk, Stone Street Studios’ facilities were extensively used by New Line Cinema, Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers for the production of The Lord of the Rings, King Kong and The Hobbit Trilogy.

– Park Road Post Production: Developed by Sir Peter Jackson for filmmakers, it houses a unique combination of services; from a world-class laboratory, through telecine, digital intermediate and HD post-production, to Academy Award® winning sound post-production.

– Victoria Street: Wellington doubled for a futuristic version of Hong Kong in the film adaptation of acclaimed Japanese manga Ghost in the Shell. Shot at Stone Street Studios, Avalon Studios and on location at Victoria Street in the central city, it was the first time urban New Zealand had been showcased as a sci-fi setting on the silver screen.

– Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa: The film community make their mark on Wellington not just through movies, but also through their art. Izzat Design, whose artists created props for films such as Avatar, The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, has contributed to a range of exhibitions at Te Papa, including recreating seven extinct birds of New Zealand for the Blood, Earth, Fire exhibition.

– Lyall Bay: A cliff face by Lyall Bay, a popular surf beach along Wellington’s rugged South Coast, was the setting for Dunharrow in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. On their days off during filming Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) learned to surf at Lyall Bay.

Source: UNESCO