Vampires get a friendly reception in Wellington - or rather, Vellington, a couple of local blood-suckers say.
A sign welcoming visitors to windy Wellington has received a Transylvanian transformation to promote a new movie starring Jemaine Clement.
With a slight alteration, ''Wellington'' was adorned with a blood-red V to become ''Vellington'' in a nod to What We Do in The Shadows, a vampire mockumentary directed by Taika Waititi.
Clement and Waititi, in character as vampires Vladislav and Viago, unveiled the new sign tonight.
"We used to wonder why they spelled it with a W. V is for vampires, virgins, all kinds of cool things," Waititi said.
Wellington was home to 161 vampires, and its gloomy weather meant the undead could emerge safely in daytime, Clement said.
"There's a couple of days each summer when it's a problem. We lose a couple friends each year in the daylight savings confusion," he said.
Despite preying on its residents for blood, Wellington was open and accepting of vampires, unlike Taupo, Waititi said.
"I was banished from there a few years ago. It's just not a tolerant city."
Wellingtonians' blood tasted of coffee and calzone, Clement said.
What We Do in The Shadows is Boy director Waititi's third feature, and the latest project in almost two decades of collaboration with Flight of the Conchords star Clement.
It follows the ordinary everyday lives of 379-year-old Viago (Waititi), 862-year-old Vladislav (Clement), 183-year-old Deacon (Jonny Brugh) and 8000-year-old Petyr (Ben Fransham).
Winter could be a tough time for vampires, with so many people wearing neck-concealing scarves, but on the flip side, hours of darkness were longer, Clement said.
The "Vellington" sign should attract plenty more vampires to the city, Waititi said.
"That's not such a good thing for the people of Wellington, though."
The pair, whose favourite nightspot was Boogie Wonderland, were happily settled in Wellington, Waititi said.
"It's got a good arts scene, the cafe culture is really cool, there are some good tapas bars."
Clement was not so convinced.
"I don't see myself being here long: 500 years or so."
Wellington mayor Celia "Vade"-Brown sported her own pair of fangs for the unveiling, and said she was thrilled with the stunt.
"Vellington vilm is a vonderful thing," she said.
The $80,000 ''blown away'' sign is a homage to the capital's blustery conditions and won 18,862 of 33,027 public votes in an online poll run by The Dominion Post in 2011.
Wellington Airport spokesman Greg Thomas said today it had paid for the red ''V'' and its installation. The cost was ''minor'', he said.
''It was only one letter. It's more about showcasing a fantastic local movie that was made here."
Wellington Airport is owned 66 per cent by Infratil and 34 per cent by Wellington City Council.
What We Do In The Shadows opens in cinemas on June 19.
- The Dominion Post
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