My British co-travelers headed north this morning to catch some skydiving. Well, I shouldn’t say early. They sleep in till 10am while I was up and out the door before 8 most mornings. Daylight is getting short (8am-5pm) since it’s getting later and later in fall. I just couldn’t let daylight waste.
My first stop was a park on the hills south of Wellington where they filmed one of the first shots for LOTR. Yes, the first few shots were done in a normal city park. Wellington is surrounded by hills which have forests and parks in them – much like Portland. I went up and followed the instructions in my film guide book. A short walk later I found the spot where the hobbits hide under an overhanging tree from the Nazgul while fleeing from the Shire.
It’s fun to find the exact spot where something happened and sit in the very spot the actors and characters did.
After that, I headed down the bay to Miramax. That city name sound familiar? Yup, the Miramax film studio is named after the sleepy little town it’s from. Miramax the city is not big at all, about the size of Lincoln city or larger beach community. It was a beautiful drive along the beach – sunny, warm and clear skies.
After soaking in the beautiful rays, I turned back inland to stop at the New Zealand Film Archives. They had an amazing library of movies, films, commercials, etc. You could browse through them all. The film archive was an amazing concept. Just like libraries of books, this was a library of video. I saw terrible coke commercials from the 70’s, old auto commercials (hilarious), nuclear test films, any movie that was filmed in New Zealand, sporting events, etc. You name it – if it was on film then they had it. They’d converted a lot of it to DVD, which made it even better. There were also tons of books that had all the press and public clippings surrounding each event and film. It got my mind thinking that this really was something missing in America. So much of our media is video. Is it really being collected or saved – or is it just literally fading from the negatives into nothingness on each companies’ storage shelves?
From Wellington, I drove north along the west coast and turned inland to Palmerson North. The coast was beautiful and full of lots of little places you could escape into. Beautiful forests and the like abounded. This whole area was pretty well developed as a refuge for people wanting to escape Wellington for some beach fun. I could easily have spent a few days exploring; but time was ticking…