Introducing Sir Peter Jackson: 12 Fast Facts

Sir Peter Jackson is one of the world’s most innovative filmmakers and one of New Zealand’s most loved sons.

Peter Jackson was born on Halloween on 31 October 1961 in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city - once hailed by Lonely Planet as the ‘coolest little capital in the world.’

Wellington is world’s ‘coolest’ little film capital

Jackson grew up in the small seaside town of Pukerua Bay, 30 minutes by car from the centre of Wellington. In the years that followed, Jackson has become a world-famous director but he is never far from his Middle-earth home.

New Zealand’s film star landscapes

Peter Jackson and his screenwriter / film producer wife Fran Walsh have a son and a daughter - Billy and Kate. They live in the Wellington suburb of Miramar - close to his forever growing movie empire.

On the film trail around Wellington, NZ

Wingnut Films, Weta Workshop, Weta Digital, Stone Street Studios and Park Road Post are all located in Miramar. Wellington is often referred to as ‘Wellywood’ as Peter Jackson and colleagues have helped the city become a film production and technology hot spot.

Wellington, New Zealand - film capital on the edge

It seems Peter Jackson was forever destined to become a director. He made his debut film - a ‘war’ movie using his parents’ Super 8 movie camera - in 1971 at the tender age of eight, before attempting to remake ‘King Kong’ using stop-motion models a year later.

Peter Jackson’s blockbuster story

At age 17, Jackson was sent on a course in Auckland and decided to buy a book to pass the time during the train trip north. The book was The Lord of the Rings. It was this purchase that sparked the fire to bring Tolkien’s epic tale to life.

New Zealand - the perfect Middle-earth

Peter Jackson’s first movie was the Zombie ‘splatstick’ Bad Taste (1987). Meet the Feebles (1989), Braindead (1992), Heavenly Creatures (1994) Forgotten Silver (1995), The Frighteners (1996), King Kong (2005) and The Lovely Bones (2009) followed.

History of New Zealand screen industry

But it was The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003) that helped to put Peter Jackson and the spectacular scenery of New Zealand on the world map. This trilogy was followed up with the prequel to The Lord of the Rings with The Hobbit Trilogy (2012-2014).

The Hobbit Trilogy

Jackson has been nominated for many Academy Awards during his career - and he certainly had his hands full when he scooped three Oscars at the 2004 Academy Awards - winning Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Fact file: New Zealand screen industry

Jackson was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002. He was later knighted as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (for services to the arts) in his hometown of Wellington in April 2010.

Peter Jackson is notorious for appearing in public without shoes. This is a very ‘Kiwi’ habit as New Zealanders love to feel the grass or the sand between their toes.

New Zealand film-maker: Peter Jackson

In 2011 the famous film set at Hobbiton in the small rural town of Matamata was completely rebuilt for The Hobbit Trilogy - this time in permanent materials, complete with Hobbit holes, gardens, bridge, mills and The Green Dragon Inn. Hobbiton Movie Set is now operated by the Alexander family in partnership with Sir Peter Jackson, and has become one of New Zealand's most successful tourism destinations.

Hobbiton Movie Set