Sir Peter's vision has changed Wellington

SIR PETER JACKSON: On location during the filming of The Hobbit.
SIR PETER JACKSON: On location during the filming of The Hobbit.

Back in 2002 it was just plain Peter Jackson. He was only a few months into his 40th year, but he had done what many had considered impossible.

Not only had he shot a live action version of The Lord of the Rings in New Zealand with a largely Kiwi crew, but many people loved it. A lot.

The first part had made US$871.5 million at the box office. Sir Peter Jackson's subsequent success with the rest of his trilogy, along with shooting King Kong and The Lovely Bones in Wellington, has not only made him the best known New Zealander in the world - it had a direct impact on the city he lives in.

The world premiere for The Return of the King in 2003 attracted a crowd of 100,000. Sir Peter's studios have expanded in size and scope, working with big names including Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, and employing thousands of people. Sir Peter's status in Hollywood means he could name his price and work anywhere in the world, but he continues to be based in Wellington.

He has also contributed in other ways to Wellington's culture, including his purchase last year, with partner Fran Walsh, of Bats Theatre.

Today, at age 50, he has just wrapped up principal shooting on the two-part The Hobbit in Wellington. The world premiere is in Wellington in November and it is likely to be the most popular film in the world released this year.

Some things never change.

The Dominion Post