Before going to New Zealand, as a kid my earliest reference for the place was probably the Kiwi bird – then, maybe as a teenager, having an interest in different aboriginal cultures, I’d probably say Maori, and now, as a so-called adult, any cultural and wildlife references have been completely washed away.
Now, when I’d talk about New Zealand, the reference to the place would be entirely based on fantasy, magic and make-believe. Yes. You may have come to love it or not understand it in the slightest, but either way, The Lord of the Rings films tops out as the reference for New Zealand.
And, New Zealand, it seems, is well aware that people think of their country as a Hobbit haven before anything else.
Case in point: we flew Air New Zealand, and for their instructional video on board, they enlisted Lord of the Rings characters plus even a cameo by the director Peter Jackson. Still above.
Plus on arriving at the airport, we were once again reminded where we were:
I haven’t seen any Comic Con fans with Orc ears or dwarf noses, but, to be fair, we’ve only just arrived.
The search begins…