Unnamed peak could be dubbed Mt Tolkien
A Fiordland peak could be named Mt Tolkien, after the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, if a Manapouri man's proposal is accepted by the New Zealand Geographic Board.
Aaron Nicholson has applied to name the peak, near Gunns Lake on the Milford Rd, Mt Tolkien, after J R R Tolkien.
The 1757-metre unnamed peak is 1.8 kilometres from Consolation Peak, which is 1851 metres. Both lie at the northern end of the Earl Mountains.
Mr Nicholson said he understood the mountain featured briefly in The Lord of the Rings movies and he felt naming it Mt Tolkien could attract tourists.
It is not the first time he has tried to rename Southland geographical features after The Lord of the Rings and its author.
Mr Nicholson was involved with efforts to have part of the Waiau River, used in filming The Lord of the Rings trilogy, renamed Anduin Reach. This was scuppered in 2009 by the board's policy of not having landmarks named after popular culture.
However, he said naming a mountain after an author who had a significant effect on New Zealand ought to be possible.
With the release of The Hobbit movie, the time was right to try it again, he said.
The peak itself was not particularly notable by Fiordland standards. "It's not one of the more exciting peaks, but if you were to climb it, it might be a different story - it has commanding views of a lot of scenery," he said.
The christening could mark J R R Tolkien's 121st birthday, on January 3, he said.
For the naming to go ahead, Mr Nicholson would have to get enough public support. "It's got to be wanted. If I just show up saying, ‘Can we do this?' and nobody else is interested, they'll just pass on it."
In the 1970s, John Williams, a geology student at Otago University, named a mountain opposite Consolation Peak Mt Gondor, which the Geographic Board mistakenly called Mt Condor for a brief period before the name was removed.