Wellington is the capital of New Zealand’s film industry, which is increasingly centred on the Miramar Peninsula. During World War II, defence bases were set up here, and the large, long-abandoned buildings were prime for conversion into production company studios. The stunning natural setting has also been used for film locations for numerous films including the Lord of the Rings, King Kong, and the two Hobbit films, the first of which is expected to be released in late 2012.
Peter Jackson still lives out this way, and his special effects and entertainment company, Weta, which he co-owns with Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger and Jamie Selkirk, has its base in Miramar. A visit to the workshop’s Weta Cave, on the corner of Camperdown Road and Weka Street, includes an engaging twenty-minute film of behind-the-scenes workshop footage, along with a peek at the small museum, and the chance to buy hand-crafted figurines and limited-edition collectibles at its shop, which also sells movie location guides. Look for the King Kong footprint in the concrete out front.
Weta partner Jamie Selkirk, along with a number of business partners, had a hand in restoring The Roxy, Miramar’s Art Deco cinema. Some ten different Wellington city tour operators, including those listed on, offer movie tours taking in the peninsula’s movie-making hotspots.
To learn more about New Zealand’s film industry – and to watch New Zealand films on demand for free – stop by the New Zealand Film Archive in the city centre.