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NEWS Last modified on September 1, 2011

That's showbiz

Alternatives wanted for Wellington Airport’s ‘Wellywood’ sign.

The controversial ‘Wellywood’ sign in the hills next to New Zealand’s Wellington International Airport could be replaced following the ‘Wellywood or What?’ competition.

Local Wellingtonians are being asked to develop and submit creative ideas and then vote for an alternative sign to replace the widely criticised Wellywood landmark on the Miramar Peninsula, next to the airport.

The Wellywood or What? competition – launched by local newspaper The Dominion Post – offers the local community the chance to come up with new ideas for a sign that will celebrate the Wellington region and which can stand as an alternative to Wellywood.

The giant hillside sign, which parodies the original in Hollywood, is intended as a celebration of New Zealand's film industry, but instead has been slammed as "tacky, unoriginal and embarrassing".

The airport installed the 12ft-high letters in June on a prominent site within view of the runway.

At the time, Steve Fitzgerald the former CEO of Wellington Airport, said: "I expect widespread support for the intent of a sign, even if a Wellywood sign isn't everyone's cup of tea.”

Meanwhile, when plans for the sign were first mooted in March 2010, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce said the original sign was trademarked and warned that legal action could follow.

The Wellywood or What? competition is being overseen by an independent panel of Wellingtonians who have met regularly since June to design the process.

“We want people to really embrace this great opportunity and develop ideas that can challenge Wellywood for the prime position on the Miramar Peninsula,” said the Panel.

There have already been many ideas sent to the airport, but the Panel says that to ensure they are all captured and assessed equally, they will need to be re-submitted through the official process hosted by The Dominion Post.  

People hoping to enter have until midnight on 9 October to submit their ideas.

Up to eight ideas will then be chosen by the Panel and put to a public vote.  The two ideas that receive the most public votes will then go up against “Wellywood” in a final vote for the public.

The idea with the most votes will be adopted and installed on the Miramar Peninsula and the winning idea will be announced on 19 November 2011.

“We challenge people to put on their creative caps and submit alternative ideas to Wellywood.  And we urge everyone in the region to vote in both phases on what they think is the option that best captures the essence of Wellington,” said the Panel.

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