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March 15, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Is it a sign Kerry?

News

Welly wants out of Wellywood

Fierce online opposition to the Wellywood sign isn’t deterring the Wellington International Airport (WIAL) and their main supporter, Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, from their blindly determined path.

WIAL—which is 30 per cent owned by the Wellington City Council—has plans to celebrate Wellington’s contributions to the film industry by installing a giant ‘WELLYWOOD’ sign on the Miramar cutting, scheduled to be completed in June.

Located above the Miramar wharf, the sign will be 28m long, 3.5m tall and visible to passengers on planes as they approach the airport.

Wellington mayoral candidate and sign opponent Jack Yan contacted the Hollywood Sign Trust, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and Global Icons, the latter two having intellectual property rights in the original Hollywood sign.

“This sign is tacky and unoriginal—two things Wellington is not,” Yan says.

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Leron Gubler told The Dominion Post that the staggered Hollywood lettering was trademarked.

“If they do that with the Wellywood sign then I would think that would be a violation of our trademark … I am checking that with our attorney.”

As previous resource consent for the cutting included “large structures”, the project was approved without the need for public consultation.

The non-notified consent can be challenged in the High Court.

A one-line statement released by the Wellington Airport said: “We are confident we will meet all our legal obligations in relation to the sign.”

Opposition to the sign is growing, pushed along by a Facebook group: ‘Hey, let’s NOT have a Wellywood sign in Wellington’. The group had around 11000 members at the time Salient went to print.

Wellington mayoral candidate and Enterprise Miramar Peninsula chairman Allan Probert told The Dominion Post that a Wellywood sign had been talked about for the past 10 years, but was not well supported.

“The feedback I’ve had is that it is tacky and there are concerns about what it will look like in a few years.”

Wellington mayor and Wellington Airport Director Kerry Prendergast says it “will leave people in no doubt that this is the heart and soul of New Zealand’s film industry”.

In an interview with Radio New Zealand, Prendergast called the sign a “wonderfully creative idea” and pointed out that its parallels with the “iconic” Hollywood sign in Los Angeles would remind visitors of Wellington’s film industry prowess.

Prendergast told Salient the point of the sign was “satire” and not using Wellywood would “lose the point of the sign”.

She says she would not support an alternative installation.

WIAL refused to even consider not putting the sign up, regardless of public opinion and would not answer questions about supporting an alternative to the sign.

Yan told Salient the sign was “a very uncreative way to celebrate a creative industry”.

He called for Prendergast to use her place on the Wellington Airport board of directors to represent the views of the Wellington people.

Spokesman for Sir Peter Jackson, Matt Dravitzki, told The Dominion Post that Jackson had suggested a font that copied the Hollywood sign.

When asked by The Dominion Post for his opinion of the sign, Sir Peter Jackson said, “It’s Kiwi tongue-in-cheek humour at its very best, but beneath the leg-pulling is genuine pride.”

A sign generator has been set up at wellywood.skullandbones.co.nz.

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  1. Dave says:

    Sign generators are fun!

    Bunch more on http://www.SignGenerator.org :)

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