26 May 2011

Airport to consider council plea over Wellywood sign

7:42 pm on 26 May 2011

Wellington Airport says it will consider a council request to rethink its controversial Wellywood sign.

The company had planned to erect the 8-metre-high by 30-metre-wide Hollywood-style sign on the hills of Miramar Peninsula.

It says it has received a letter from Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, following a meeting on Thursday night in which Wellington City Councillors voted 10-4 in favour of asking the airport to reconsider erecting the sign.

Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Fitzgerald says the company has had discussions with several councillors as well as senior council staff and was surprised by the apparent need for a motion.

Mr Fitzgerald says the company is concerned by some comments in the media and on social media sites about the sign, and that the airport is monitoring opinion closely.

Wellywood has drawn widespread criticism - 25,000 people have joined a Facebook group opposed to the sign with some calling it lame and embarrassing. A protest was held at the airport on Monday, halting traffic.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister John Key said he was not in favour of the sign and would prefer that it simply read: "Wellington".

The airport company says it will respond to the letter from the council in due course.

Meanwhile, the trademark holder of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles has threatened legal action if the sign is erected.