That estimable journal The Sunday Telegraph [UK?] reported here that Auckland, New Zealand was planning to rename itself ‘Middle Earth’ the week the LOTR films were released. Most other papers have reported that Wellington was the city hoping to rename itself while throwing the biggest whopper party to celebrate the release of the film.
I rang both city councils and they confirmed that if anyone’s going to be called ‘Middle-earth’ it ain’t Aucklan. We don’t get a lot of LOTR news in Auckland. LOTR is regarded as a merely Wellington local-interest news item in Auckland, which is a city that probably wouldn’t notice if Wellington invented an interstellar drive powered by cold fusion, installed a spindizzy and went round the solar system, other than to note that the Reserve Bank had been out of action for a week. Certainly LOTR-mania (as the Sunday Telegraph called it) doesn’t get this far north very often.