New Zealanders Want No Part of ‘Wellywood’ Sign

Apparently, not everyone is fond of the idea of civic boosterism in the form a hillside sign made up of large, oversized white block-letters. Especially when the name being glorified is not even a real one.

Since officials at the capital city airport of Wellington announced on Saturday that they are going ahead with plans to erect a 26-foot high by 100-foot wide “Wellywood” hillside sign, all anti-Hollywood hell has broken loose. There’s a Facebook opposition page, caravans of protester cars, and angry comments from concerned citizens:

“It’s unoriginal and desperate,” Andy Boreham said. “Hollywood isn’t something that we want to emulate – it’s money-hungry, fame-hungry, and plastic.”

Easy there, Lord of the Zings. Still, you know you’re in trouble when celebrities like Sir Ian McKellen go out of their way to rain on the idea. Leon Gubler, chief executive of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, has hinted that this may be a trademark infringement of the Hollywood sign, but it sounds like the locals will shoot this down long before the need for Yankee legal action.

Update (July 27, 2012):
Following more outcry and a Facebook petition, an alternate “Wellington” sign design created by Saatchi & Saatchi Auckland was finally approved. That sign went up today and includes a cheeky nod to the city’s infamous winds.

Photo credit: Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)