[Cross-posted at Lucire] When Lucire ﬁrst broke news yesterday about Peter Jackson’s knighthood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours’ List, I was particularly delighted.
Peter Jackson deserves a knighthood not just because he makes marvellous ﬁlms. Peter Jackson deserves a knighthood because he continues to believe in New Zealand even after certain bodies and their bureaucrats gave him grief.
Before he was a big name internationally, there was reported tension between Jackson and the New Zealand Film Commission in the 1990s.
Because Jackson believed in this country so much, he got over it. A lesser man would have thought, ‘If the establishment won’t accept me, I’ll leave.’
Many of the big Kiwi names in movies are based in California, because when they left there was no centre for movie production in New Zealand. And they wanted somewhere that could understand their vision for making movies.
Instead, Jackson fought to make his Lord of the Rings trilogy in New Zealand—setting up a world-class hub for ﬁlm in Wellington.
While some politicians would like to give credit to the Tourism New Zealand 100 Per Cent Pure campaign for lifting the national image, I’ve always argued it was the effort of one man—Jackson—for bringing the country to the world stage.
Destination branding can be ignored, passed over as just another tourism ad in a travel magazine. Peter Jackson alone gave it that hook, and if any one man can take credit for the ﬁrst decade’s economic boosts, it is him.
Through Jackson not only did the ﬁlms become nice earners for New Zealand, the tourist industry boomed because of the trilogy. And the Film Commission came right in the end.
And in many respects, Peter Jackson kicked the tall poppy syndrome idea out of the country’s psyche where it could only be entertained by a few foreign companies who use it to keep Kiwis down. Peter Jackson changed our culture.
This knighthood is long overdue, but I applaud this honour for Jackson. He is a patriot, a word that should not have politically incorrect shades. His level of pride is just what New Zealand needs. Sir Peter Jackson is an inspirational ﬁgure and one hopes many others will have faith in their own beliefs, in the way that he does.Posted by Jack Yan, 23:25
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