21 Oct 2010

Hundreds turn out for Hobbit march in capital

12:31 pm on 21 October 2010

Up to 1500 people from New Zealand's film industry have marched through the capital to voice concern about the future of The Hobbit films.

Sir Peter Jackson's production company and the actor's union, New Zealand Actors' Equity, have been at loggerheads over a collective pay agreement.

The dispute has led to uncertainty over whether the two films will be shot in New Zealand.

The film industry workers earlier held their own meeting in the Wellington suburb of Miramar, organised by Sir Richard Taylor from Weta Workshop.

About 7pm, they gathered at the site of a planned Actors' Equity meeting, but began marching after the meeting was cancelled.

Chanting "Save Middle Earth", they made their way along Willis Street and Lambton Quay to the grounds of Parliament in central Wellington.

One of the main messages in chants and on placards was for Australian union Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance to stop interfering in the New Zealand film industry. The union has been advising Actors' Equity over the pay dispute.

Sir Richard told those gathered at Parliament that the film industry has made its point.

"This signifies that we as an industry can take command of our own destiny, that we want The Hobbit to be made in New Zealand but, more importantly, we want our industry to continue in the way that we've enjoyed it for so many years."

Sir Richard said what has been happening regarding the films in recent weeks could only be described as "a tide of craziness".