31 Mar 2010

Airport seeks alternatives to Wellywood sign

5:21 pm on 31 March 2010

Wellington Airport is asking residents to come up with alternative ideas to its proposed Wellywood sign, following mixed reactions from the public.

The airport had planned to erect a 3.5m high Hollywood-style sign on an adjacent hill to celebrate the success of the Wellington film industry.

The idea drew a mixed response, and Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Fitzgerald has been encouraging residents to post their suggestions on the airport's Facebook page.

The discussion had attracted more than 50 responses by mid afternoon on Wednesday.

Ideas include a large weta crawling over the hill, a Hollywood-style 'Miramar' or 'Wellington' sign, and just leaving the hillside as is.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast has welcomed the airport's call for ideas, saying the public deserves to have a say.

She says there has been a lot of debate, not about the need for a sign, but about what the tribute to the film industry should be.

Mr Fitzgerald says the airport expects to make a final decision on the sign by the end of this year and may still proceed with the Wellywood sign.

Hollywood sign trademarked

The airport says it's confident of meeting all its legal obligations if the original proposal goes ahead.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which owns the trademark for the original sign, is currently investigating the Wellywood proposal.

Chamber chief executive Leron Gubler earlier said requests to replicate the city's famous sign were always declined.

He said the chamber urged people to create something unique to their own community.