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Simpsons appearance 'good for tourism'

Last updated 05:00 28/09/2010
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The joke might be lost on American viewers of The Simpsons, but the animated comedy's reference to Wellington's Botanic Gardens is a great advert for the capital, tourism leaders say.

New Zealanders Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords made a guest appearance on the show as the 22nd season opened on United States television last night.

They play counsellors at a performing arts camp that character Lisa Simpson is sent to. Clement heckles the children with the phrase: "I've seen more life in the Wellington botanical gardens."

The pair descend into their trademark deadpan banter over whether anyone knows what or where the Botanic Gardens are, and McKenzie finishes with a comment about how the gardens are in fact "teeming with life".

Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David Perks said the Conchords' irreverent humour was a great advertisement for the capital's character. "It lets people know they come from Wellington and that it's a creative city ... we want to be the kind of place people can laugh with."

Wellington City Council parks and gardens manager Paul Andrews said a high percentage of visitors to the Botanic Gardens were already international, but a mention on The Simpsons was great exposure.

"I can't imagine people flying all the way to New Zealand to go to the gardens, but if they're in this part of the world they might pop over ... And the gardens are teeming with life, there's no doubt about it."

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- The Dominion Post

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