Vision for new Wellington Movie Museum revealed

A major new Movie Museum for Wellington has been proposed by New Zealand’s Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor.

Plans and a site for a major new Movie Museum proposed by New Zealand’s Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor for their hometown of Wellington have been revealed.

With approval today (8.12.2015) by Wellington City Council for purchase of a downtown waterfront site, the Movie Museum is designated to become part of a new purpose-built joint convention centre and museum development. 

The council will partner with Wellington movie makers Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Sir Richard Taylor, and Tania Rodger, to create the movie museum, which will celebrate the film heritage of Wellington, identifying the city as the film hub that has produced five of the world’s 12 highest-grossing films of all time. 

The Movie Museum Limited (TMML) is the company formed by Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor to realise their movie museum dream for Wellington bringing together material from their many film projects as well their personal world-renowned movie collections. 

Over the past two decades, Wellington has become synonymous with world-class film-making and a mecca for film fans visiting the hugely popular Weta Cave and Weta Workshop, and taking tours of The Lord of the Rings locations throughout Wellington. 

For much of that time, the driving force behind Wellington’s success had been Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor and their partners Fran Walsh and Tania Rodger, as well as the Weta Group of companies they established on the Miramar Peninsula, said TMML Project Director George Hickton.  

“From small beginnings, Wellington is today a thriving centre of film-making creativity and excellence, creating thousands of jobs for New Zealanders and attracting major film and television productions and some of the best directors, producers, actors, artists and technicians from around the world.” 

The Movie Museum will occupy two floors of a three-level building with convention facilities catering for up to 1100 delegates, creating a new tourism attraction for central Wellington that promises to inspire local and international visitors alike. Collections will span the award-winning, Hollywood-scale productions the Weta Group has helped bring to the big screen through to the earlier home-grown movies, and will also encompass one of the most valuable collections of Hollywood memorabilia anywhere in the world. 

 “There is a vast collection of incredible material from the world-famous movies that have been worked on by the companies in Miramar. What is less well-known is that Peter and Fran, Richard and Tania also have their own personal collections of film and television memorabilia which is one of the best in the world,” Hickton said.

The Movie Museum will be a home for thousands of the priceless designs, props, models and set pieces from the numerous film productions, from whole worlds to single weapons, creatures to costumes, make-up to miniatures, vehicles and more - an astonishing archive of Wellington filmmaking has been collected, curated and is ready to be shared. 

“It is a museum which could only be realised in Wellington,” said Mr Hickton. 

The company’s founders all live in Wellington and it is also the place that some 2,000 talented filmmakers and craftspeople call home. 

“The Movie Museum will celebrate their work, bringing the film industry closer to the people and communities which support it. It will also be a tourist attraction that is the envy of cities around the world and another jewel in the crown of Wellington’s visitor attractions, building on other initiatives that already attract international and local movie fans,” Hickton said.

It is expected that the Movie Museum will offer permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, a retail shop, cafe and permanent offices. 

The presentation to Council was part of consideration of a new site and co-location with the proposed Wellington Convention Centre. The Movie Museum and Convention Centre are both among the Council’s big ideas for stimulating economic growth over the coming decade. 

Mr Hickton said the new site presents exciting opportunities for the Museum which has explored a range of previous sites. 

As with other similar developments, it is envisioned that the WCC would provide TMML with a long-term lease of purpose-built premises that will be constructed and owned by the Council. TMML would be responsible for the fit-out, operation and maintenance of its facility. 

The benefits to the WCC and to Wellington for investing in projects like The Movie Museum would include potential economic growth, as well as the direct and indirect benefits of increased tourist visits to Wellington and further job creation in the film and creative arts and museum sectors. 

Mr Hickton said following the Wellington City Council decision, work was beginning on concepts and designs for the Museum to be co-located with the Convention Centre. 

“The team behind The Movie Museum have a vision for a truly world-class, internationally-renowned movie museum which adds to the creative reputation of Wellington and the many innovative and inspiring tourist attractions already on offer,” Mr Hickton said. 

“We look forward to sharing more details once we are further along with our planning and design work.” 

Sir Peter Jackson

Sir Peter Jackson is New Zealand’s best-known film-maker. He was knighted for his significant contribution to the New Zealand film industry in the 2010 New Year Honours.

Jackson first came to international attention with the movie Heavenly Creatures (1994), which won a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay. 

He rose to prominence in Hollywood when he produced and directed the Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He was awarded three Academy Awards for The Return of the King, the last movie in the trilogy, including Oscar for best director. In 2012 Jackson brought Middle-earth back to life with the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - the first instalment of The Hobbit Trilogy. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) followed.

Jackson grew up in Pukerua Bay, a coastal town near Wellingto. His other major film interests include Weta Workshop and Weta Digital. His Wellington-based Miramar film centre also includes Wingnut Films, Park Road Post and Stone Street Studios.

Sir Richard Taylor - the man behind Weta Workshop

Sir Richard Taylor is the creative force - co-founder and co-director - behind world renowned Weta Workshop which provided the special effects wizardry of the blockbuster The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies, and a raft of successful movie and television productions seen in New Zealand and internationally.

His credits to date include five Oscars, four BAFTAs and a raft of other international entertainment awards - including numerous achievements for Weta’s success in the disciplines of make-up, costume and visual effects.

Taylor’s wide-ranging talent is about turning fantasy into reality, and his ever expanding portfolio of creations includes everything from larger-than-life monsters to amazing costume designs, high tech prosthetics, intricate models, sculpture and collector’s pieces.

In New Zealand, he’s also a local hero - honoured with a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2010, and named the 2012 New Zealander of the Year.

About Wellington

Named on BBC’s Hottest Cities and Rough Guide’s Top 10 Cities for 2015, Wellington has been labelled the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet and a ‘locavore’s dream’ by Vogue. Nestled between two of New Zealand’s finest wine regions, the region is known for its creative industries, coffee and dining culture, accessible waterfront, street sculpture, city markets, walking and biking trails, galleries and is home to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.