August 24, 2017

A Land of Inspiration

 

Pamela Rogers Photo | The paddocks used for Pelennor fields, land adjacent to Queen Elizabeth Park, Paekakariki

Pamela Rogers Photo | The paddocks used for Pelennor fields, land adjacent to Queen Elizabeth Park, Paekakariki

Editor’s Note: On this day of the North American premiere of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” we have three stories from one place in New Zealand: Queen Elizabeth Park in Paekakariki on the North Island, courtesy of Pamela Rogers of New Zealand. The Daily Plant features the stunning Pohutukawa tree, known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree. Also at the park and Whareroa Farm are tributes to U.S. Marines who were at both sites during World War II from 1942 to 1943. You can read a bit about that here. And finally, there once was a lad named Peter Jackson who grew up near here and used the park and nearby land in parts of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, for Pelennor fields battle scenes. You can read Pamela’s short piece on that here.

Pamela Rogers Photo | Whareroa Beach, Paekakariki showing Kapiti Island (sea around island, and island - farside - used in King Kong

Pamela Rogers Photo | Whareroa Beach, Paekakariki showing Kapiti Island (sea around island, and island – farside – used in King Kong)

• By Pamela Rogers •

Peter Jackson was raised in the small seaside town of Pukerua Bay which lies just south of Paekakariki. Though it isn’t part of the Kapiti Coast, Peter is considered a local boy in the district because he went to high school in Raumati Beach.

He has returned to making some of his films (or very small bits of them) in the Kapiti region since.

Close-ups from the Pelennor battle scenes in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King featuring Nazgul and Mumakil were shot on private land adjacent to Queen Elizabeth Park. And the park was used for several days by the production to house people, horses, trucks and all the paraphenalia that goes with filming.

Several areas in Otaki, which is at the northern end of the district, were also used in Fellowship of the Ring.

Kapiti is and has been home to actors, crew and artisans associated with Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit such as Jed Brophy, (Nori in The Hobbit, an Orc and others in Lord of the Rings) a Paekakariki local, and Mirek Smisek, Waikanae resident, who made all the pottery items – mugs,  bottles, etc.  – you see in Lord of the Rings.

Jackson has also used Kapiti Island,and the sea surrounding it, in his remake of King Kong as a stand-in for Skull Island (in approach shots). But unlike Skull Island, there are no giant apes on Kapiti Island – it is instead maintained native bird sanctuary.