Rings returns to resort


Middle Earth mania is coming back to the Wakatipu.

Mayor Jim Boult understands “much of the filming” for Amazon Studio’s billion-dollar Lord of the Rings series will take place in the Queenstown Lakes district.

It follows Amazon’s long-anticipated announcement yesterday that the series, set to be the most expensive TV show ever, will be produced in New Zealand.

West Auckland will be the production base for the project.

Boult says his information about the project comes from members of the local film industry.

“It’s enormously exciting, and hopefully it will springboard some high-paying jobs across the local industry,” he says.

He says the series had been described as similar to Game of Thrones, and could end up being the “biggest ever” production in the district.

Unlike movie shoots that came and went, he describes the series as a “long term exercise” that could bring a significant financial benefit.

He and the council hadn’t been approached directly by Amazon, but there had been discussions via Film Otago Southland boss Kevin Jennings, he says.

Jennings is overseas and unavailable for comment.

The Wakatipu Basin and Glenorchy were featured prominently in the Peter Jackson-directed film trilogy, used as locations for the Misty Mountains, Isengard, Lothlorien, and Fanghorn Forest among others.

Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford, in a statement yesterday, says he welcomes the news.

“This will be an ambitious production and having it based here will create a range of benefits, including jobs and significant overseas investment, which will unlock more opportunities to grow our creative and technology sectors.”