Tolkien devotee backs bid to name NZ peak

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 15:43 02/01/2013

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The bid to name an anonymous peak in Fiordland National Park Mt Tolkien in honour of The Lord of the Rings author has received backing from a prominent member of the society dedicated to his work.

Manapouri man Aaron Nicholson has lodged a request to name the 1757-metre summit in the Earl Mountains, near Lake Gunn, with the New Zealand Geographic Board.

The peak appeared briefly alongside other Fiordland National Park locations in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Nicholson hoped that naming the summit, close to Consolation Peak, would provide a lure for Tolkien fan tourism in the wake of the release of The Hobbit movie.

The Tolkien Society, founded in London in 1969, is an international body devoted to the author's works.

It is regarded as one of the most important groups dedicated to Professor Tolkien's canon.

Its education officer, Dr Lynn Forest-Hill, said she liked the idea of naming the mountain, but could not speak for the society as a whole.

"While the heart of Tolkien's imagination will always remain the English Midlands, New Zealand has done a creditable job of providing imagery relevant to his concepts of other parts of Middle-earth and such a move as this suggested naming will give film fans a place of pilgrimage," she said.

"This is a personal opinion, since the Tolkien Society as an entity does not have opinions . . . I applaud the proposer's enthusiasm."

Forest-Hill said she did not like the reference to Tolkien as a piece of "popular culture", one of the reasons why the Geographic Board has previously refused attempts - some made by Nicholson - to name landmarks after Tolkien's works.

"The denigration of Tolkien's work in terms of 'popular culture', while understandable, is not entirely pleasing," she said.

"However, it should be remembered that Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Dickens were all part of popular culture in their own times."

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- The Southland Times

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