Welcome to New Zealand, or is it Middle Earth?

Posted on 27 September 2013

Maybe I’m not up to scratch on my politics, but I’ve no choice but to believe that New Zealand is on the cusp of requesting an official name change to Middle Earth. All the signs are there.

See, New Zealanders love the fact that The Hobbit  – and The Lord of the Rings trilogy – was shot on their little island at the foot-end of the globe. I don’t blame them. It looks beautiful and if it takes the epic journey of a small person with hairy toes and a jewellery addiction to bring it into the spotlight, then so be it.

By way of some seriously patriotic location scouting from director Peter Jackson, New Zealand now has not one, but five, two-hour-plus moving picture brochures, interspersed with high drama to maintain interest. Most countries would pay the sum total of their GDP to have a travel video of that calibre produced for them. Luckily for New Zealand, Hollywood grabbed the bill.


That wasn’t enough

Air New Zealand hopped the hobbit wagon and produced this unexpected airline safety video, featuring a plane full of Middle Earthians who had obviously found it was easier to get to Belegaer (the preferred holiday destination for hobbits) by air. I found the idea of a dwarf showing me to my seat rather comforting, although I questioned the leg room standards.


And then they really got going

ONeNews, a New Zealand news broadcaster thought it would be a good idea to have an actual elf read the weather, in elvish. Thank the eighth horseman of the apocalypse for subtitles.

But it was only when I saw this little gem from NewZealand.com, that I realised it was obvious: New Zealand is Middle Earth. Everything that came to life on the big screen was living, breathing, laughing, and eating without utensils in the bottom corner of the globe.

Yes! This is a place where I can run carelessly through open fields, stand on the edge of mighty cliffs and bellow out my name to soaring eagles. It a place where I can finally gallop bareback through a meadow wearing just a loin cloth. A place where I’d never have to shave my toes again. A place where help is always just a wise friendly wizard away …


But then I thought about it a little more

Is this not also the place where people get eaten by ogres? Where tides of orcs glow in the moonlight before they bash you in the head with clubs? Where waterfalls are made of brittle human skulls and horsemen wear impending-doom black and not regulation high-visibility riding gear? Middle Earth is home to more goblins, stoors, haradrims, spiders, trolls, wargs, were-worms and sorcerers than you can shake an Ent branch at. And most of them don’t even like each other. Talk about politics. An apocalyptic quagmire is never more than a heated argument away. Nevermind the freaking dragons.

Just saying ...

New Zealand, you can have your name change if you like. But let’s not leave these important bits of info out of your promos in the future, OK? For a country that prides itself on epic walking tours (walk really far with some mates, drop a ring in a volcano and then walk back) it’s rather irresponsible and downright unsafe. It’s no wonder so many South Africans have never come back home.

For those still keen to tread south, check out this cool Middle Earth Travel Guide from Cheap Flights

The Middle Earth Travel Guide – An infographic by Cheap flights


Ed’s note

Getaway magazine has broadened its horizons to include international content on destinations you have to visit in its upcoming issues. Look out for features on Bali in the October issue (on shelves now), Turkey, Dubai, Brazil, London and, yes, even New Zealand in the near future.

Getaway magazine, October 2013


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