Kiwis lose battle for Middle-earth

The Dark Lord might not have liked Middle-earth and now Lord of the Rings fanatics conclude the New Zealand government feels the same.


Kiwi Rings fans have lost their latest bid to have local landmarks named after place names from the country\’s Oscar-winning trilogy.

A holiday park operator from Fiordland, in New Zealand\’s deep south, had proposed that a nearby two-kilometre stretch of the Waiau River by the tourist town of Te Anau be renamed Anduin Reach.

The area doubled as the Anduin River in Fellowship of the Ring, with cast members floating downstream in elfin boats.

But the government\’s geographic board, which decides on place names, declined the suggestion and hinted that Kiwis would be hard pressed to get the Rings into the country\’s map books.

“In the case of Anduin Reach, the board noted that Lord of the Rings place names have been declined in the past, and that there is no geographic basis for the area having a name,” the board\’s assistant adviser Jill Remnant wrote.

Rings fan website The One Ring expressed disappointment at the rejection.

“I am afraid the geographic board are no fun when it comes to Tolkien,” it stated.

Motor camp manager Aaron Nicholson, who made the request, was even more frustrated, saying he felt New Zealand politicians had a “strangely negative attitude” towards the Rings movies.

“These movies were a massive success for New Zealand, the director Peter Jackson is still a massive success and we\’ve still got tourists coming here to see where the movies were filmed,” Nicholson said.

“We should be encouraging it, making a fuss about it, and stop being precious about historic relevance.”

Nicholson, who calls himself a Rings “fan but not a nerd”, says he won\’t give up and is uploading footage of the river to fan sites to help build his case.

He says he\’d just call it that anyway, but that authorities would “tear down our signs”.

He hopes the country “gets a little bit more Rings proud” following the filming of the prequel, The Hobbit, to start next year.

“We need to showcase this place better,” the fan said.

“Tourists don\’t just visit for the culture and the adventure. There\’s the Rings, too.”