The Book of New Zealand open to view in Los Angeles

Tourism New Zealand's "Book of New Zealand" has opened in Los Angeles, showcasing 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand to a crowd of around 200 high-profile international media and special guests.

The Book of New Zealand is an innovative walk-through, multi-media installation that spans the length of two tennis courts and brings the New Zealand visitor experience to life.

Guests and media were dazzled as The Book of New Zealand opened with a 90 second digital sequence blending the magic and fantasy of Middle-earth with the reality of the striking and diverse locations across New Zealand where the film Trilogy was made.

It also featured Oscar®-winning Kiwi filmmaker Peter Jackson, director of The Hobbit Trilogy.

The Book of New Zealand depicts four New Zealand filming locations, along with four actual film sets from the highly anticipated forthcoming motion picture The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, set for release worldwide beginning 13 December 2013. 

The opening was a true New Zealand event with New Zealand food and wine, celebrated Maori songstress Hinewehi Mohi performing and MC Nancy Jay (from EXTV) entertaining the crowd.

Stars from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug also made an appearance including Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Dean O'Gorman, Aidan Turner, Luke Evans and Sir Peter Jackson.

Tourism New Zealand's Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says the organisation's objective with The Book of New Zealand, is to support the international story of New Zealand as a fun, must-see tourism destination, as well as an innovative and creative nation, and a great place to make films and do business.

"With the global premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug being held in Los Angeles, we asked ourselves the question of how would Tourism New Zealand be able to gain benefit from all the international attention the premiere would get?

"The answer comes in the form of The Book of New Zealand.

"People who step into the pages of the book are taken on a unique journey that combines the magic of Middle-earth and The Hobbit Trilogy with the reality of New Zealand, bringing the tourism experience of New Zealand to life," says Kevin.

"New Zealand has come to California with a spectacular display that will be open for five days.  You will literally step into a giant book of New Zealand and travel through four of the principal filming locations for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug wherelocations from the movie come alive. 

"Step into the set of Beorn's house and be dwarfed as you climb up onto his magnificently carved chair and admire the view from out of his window onto the majestic Paradise Valley near Queenstown.

"Or you might walk the streets and cross the bridges of Lake Town set against the backdrop of Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook."

The idea for a pop-up book came from the creative minds at Whybin/TBWA and was brought to life in partnership between Tourism New Zealand and 3 Foot 7 Ltd. It was designed and built by The Hobbit Trilogy production designer Dan Hennah and set decorators Ra Vincent and Simon Bright.

Scores of international media outlets are expected to visit the Book of New Zealand, generating considerable worldwide media coverage for New Zealand.

While the installation is by invitation only, fans will have a chance to browse its pages as part of a special Public Day tour set for 4 December.

Kevin says The Book of New Zealand is part of the 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand campaign first launched in August 2012. 

"All our campaign work aims to connect the fantasy, movie landscapes of Middle-earth with the actual experiences of New Zealand and demonstrate how easy it is for people to come to New Zealand, see Middle-earth first-hand and experience all the country has to offer.

"With The Book of New Zealand, the media play a key role in communicating this message to consumers. It is this international media coverage that is our ultimate objective, supporting media to tell the story of New Zealand.

"We believe it will be impossible for any journalist to set foot on The Book of New Zealand, and resist the temptation to talk about their surroundings and the uniqueness of New Zealand.

"We are delighted to be a part of the worldwide media programme in Los Angeles, and believe The Book of New Zealand will motivate all those who experience it to share the wider New Zealand story."

Contact: Leah Phelps, Senior Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand; phone +64 21 843 896


About the Book of New Zealand

The locations in The Book of New Zealand are:

  • Lake Town - Lake Pukaki/Aoraki-Mt Cook
  • Forest River - Pelorus River/Marlborough
  • Beorn's House - Paradise/Glenorchy
  • Hidden Bay - Turoa/Central Plateau

It is staged at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where select publicity activities for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will take place and can hold 225 people.  

Scores of worldwide media outlets are expected to visit The Book of New Zealand. It will serve as the location for:

  • Official publicity activities surrounding the global release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • A NZ Inc VIP function

About 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand

Tourism New Zealand's new three-year marketing strategy features publicity related toThe Hobbit Trilogy in conjunction with its on-going 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand campaign.

Tourism New Zealand is working to convert the international attention drawn to the film Trilogy's production in New Zealand into a campaign which demonstrates how easy it is for people to come to New Zealand, see Middle-earth first hand, and experience all the country has to offer.

Investment in marketing New Zealand's association with The Hobbit Trilogy is paying off in increased visitor motivation and arrivals.

Tourism New Zealand's own Active Considerer monitor tested the impact of the 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand campaign, first launched in August 2012, in key markets. Between August and October 2012, 82 % of respondents stating the campaign increases their interest in New Zealand, and 73 per cent stating the campaign improved their opinions of New Zealand.

International Visitor Arrivals data for January-September 2013 show that holiday arrivals into New Zealand are up 10.5 per cent as of last year. Holiday arrivals from the United States, a key target market for the Middle-earth campaign, are up 19 per cent during the same period last year.

Information gathered from the International Visitor Survey shows that 8.5 % of all international visitors surveyed January to June this year, say The Hobbit films were a factor in stimulating their interest in New Zealand as a destination.

13 per cent of international visitors over January to June 2013 say they took in a Hobbit-inspired experience while in New Zealand, including group tours specifically visiting film sites or visiting Hobbiton.

About The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The screenplay for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Jackson also produced the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh.  The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Philippa Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.

New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Present a WingNut Films Production, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  The film is a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production.  Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.