Where in the world is this?

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This Air New Zealand marketing image is tagged 100% Pure New Zealand – but is it?

The airline itself isn’t saying. The Hobbit-mad airline posted the image on Twitter in late August.

The forested mountains are reminiscent of Queenstown and surrounds – although certainly not Queenstown Airport – while the lower portion, below the wings, looks more like a tropical island.

For weeks Mountain Scene has been asking asked the national carrier to confirm where it was taken.

Finally, we’ve got a reply – although it’s trickier than a Gollum seeking his precious.

Air NZ spokeswoman Imogen Dennis says the image is a “Middle-earth themed postcard” containing a montage of images as part of its Hobbit marketing campaign.

“It’s not intended to be a single destination but rather a blend of images from around our network.”

When asked to confirm if all images are from New Zealand she ducks it, saying: “As stated, the postcard is a blend of images from around the Air NZ network.”

Dennis tries to explain it away by saying a similar approach has been used in other Hobbit marketing shots and videos – such as videos where “crew uniforms have featured Hobbit costume items, the Gollum character appeared digitally in an aircraft aisle and gold treasure spilled through the doors of an engineering and maintenance hangar.”

An interesting comparison with the Air NZ image is posted on the website Pinterest, by Sean Bowman, of an Air NZ plane at Rarotonga International Airport.

Note the the small white sign in the foreground.

Tourism NZ’s “100% Pure” slogan has been under the gun in recent years, as international commentators use it to take pot-shots at the country’s environmental record.

But Air New Zealand’s possible use of an offshore image in its 100% Pure marketing – and its refusal to confirm if it’s done so – is a new twist.

david@scene.co.nz