April 29

Sir Peter Jackson knighted in Wellington


One of the world’s greatest film directors has been made a Knight Companion in the New Zealand Order of Merit.  He is Sir Peter Robert Jackson KNZM, a celebrated New Zealand film director, producer, actor, and screenwriter.

He is best known for The Lord of the Rings trilogy adopted from the novel by J.R.R.Tolkien. He became internationally known after making the film Heavenly Creatures, for which he shared one of the three Academy Awards he has received over the years. In 2005 he remade King Kong.

As the following video from the leading New Zealand broadcaster, 3News shows, the official investiture ceremony was held in New Zealand’s gracious capital, Wellington.  Sir Peter was knighted by the Governor-General, the  Hon Sir Anand Satyanand.

Sir Anand was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen of New Zealand, Elizabeth II last year ( "New Zealand Governor-General Knighted" 3 May 2009).


…knighted in Wellington….

The official investiture ceremony was held in New Zealand’s gracious capital, Wellington.

“He's Hollywood royalty, and now has a title to match,” reported Dan Parker  of 3News. “The Wellington filmmaker arose as a sir today, an honour he rates higher than his many Oscar triumphs.”

"It's very different, it's different," Sir Peter told Dan Parker. "It means a lot more in some respects because it's the tradition and the history, and just sort of… your name changes."    

As in Australia, some New Zealand politicians have tried to deny great achievers the international recognition they deserve. Many of these politicians in Australia flaunt all sorts of titles , including knighthoods, as long as they are not Australian and having nothing to do with the Australian Crown.   


…better than the Oscars…

The announcement from Wellington was reported last year by Kiran Chug and Katie Chapman in The Sydney Morning Herald (31/12) as “Return of the Queen: Jackson knighted”.  

When the award was announced in Wellington, Sir Peter told Lincoln Tan of the New Zealand Herald (“Better than the Oscars, says Sir Peter Jackson” 31 /12) he was thrilled to be made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

"This is an incredible moment in my life. I didn't think anything would surpass the 2004 Academy Awards, but I was wrong," he said. "The feeling of gratitude and pride I have in accepting this honour from my home country is profound."

Sir Peter was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002, and has "continued to excel in and significantly contribute to the New Zealand film industry", the citation for his knighthood reads. 

The Lord of the Rings films earned  nearly  $3 billion. The last of the trilogy, The Return of the King, won 11 Academy Awards in 2004 – and shares the record for the most Oscars won by a single film.   

…Sir Peter: one of the world's great film directors…

Sir Peter told Lincoln Tan about his memory of his early days: "When I was growing up in Pukerua Bay I spent weekends shooting war movies in my parents' vegetable garden with their Super-8 camera. I was 8 years old and had no real expectation of being a film director. My dream was to work on special effects."

 "All those years ago, I never imagined where dreams could lead. One of the best things about growing up in New Zealand is that if you are prepared to work hard and have faith in yourself, truly anything is possible."

Since becoming a film-maker in 1976, Sir Peter's rise in the movie industry has been phenomenal, reports Lincoln Tan.  Sir Peter established the Weta Studios, production company Wingnut Films and in 2003 opened a film post-production facility, Park Road Post Production, in Wellington.

 "Park Road Post Production has enabled Jackson and other film-makers to make films in New Zealand to an international standard," the citation states. 

Sir Peter said at the time : "I feel very lucky to be able to make movies in New Zealand and I will always be grateful for the support I have received from so many New Zealanders. 

"He sees the knighthood as "recognition of the collective achievement of our terrific crews and our film pioneers … who trailblazed a path towards the creation of a modern Kiwi film industry".

    …and Australia?….     

 The question remains. When will Australia restore honours which are immediately recognizable around the world – honours which are essentially Australian?

The irony is that our republican politicans constantly flaunt their foreign knighthoods, while they deny really great Australians the international recognition they deserve.  

As a Canadian observed , nobody outside Australia noticed or cared when Nicole Kidman became an AC. Had she been made a Dame, the world would have noticed  

Yet they deny Australian achievers the international recognition they deserve.


…Russell Crowe….

Now the great actor, Russell Crowe is a New Zealander. Readers in New Zealand may wish to write  to the New Zealand Prime Minister, the Hon. John Key, proposing he be offered a knighthood.

We were inspired to suggest New Zealanders do this when we read Graeme Leach's comment on Sir Peter Jackson  in The Australian’s Strewth column (29/4).

Mr. Leach would be disturbed were Mr. Crowe (let us hope, Sir Russell) to accept a knighthood.

 He “wouldn’t be so silly” pleads Mr. Leach.

Like Sir John Monash, Sir Edmund Hillary, Dame Joan Sutherland ,Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Donald Bradman and, let us hope, Sir Peter Cosgrove?




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