Peter Jackson receives royal honour

TWO years after arising as New Zealand's first "lord of film", Sir Peter Jackson has joined the ranks of the country's highest order.

In a special step by the Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee, the Oscar-winning director of The Lord of The Rings and King Kong is one of four people made Additional Members of the Order of New Zealand in today's Queen's Birthday honours.

"To be counted in such company is an extraordinary honour and I would like to accept it on behalf of all those who work within the New Zealand film industry," said Sir Peter.

"The ingenuity, creativity and spirit of our New Zealand crews, and our wonderful actors, never cease to inspire me.

"I would also like to thank the people of New Zealand for so readily and enthusiastically cheering on a kid with a camera from Pukerua Bay. It stills feels like a hobby. I haven't got a real job. I'm stoked."

The Order of NZ is limited to 20 ordinary members at any one time. Additional members do not count against the limit and can be admitted in commemoration of any important royal, state or national occasion.

The others admitted today are Prince Philip, Dame Malvina Major and Dame Margaret Bazley.

Sir Peter's honour comes after he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002 and a Knight of the order in 2010.

A citation for his latest honour states Sir Peter's work - most recently The Lovely Bones, District 9, The Adventures of Tintin and the upcoming The Hobbit - has not only brought him international fame but has also widely promoted New Zealand as a "significant" location for film making and as a tourist destination.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which garnered nearly $3 billion at the box office, firmly established New Zealand on the international cinema stage and the last instalment - The Return of the King - shared the record for the most Academy Awards won by a single film, with best director included among its 11 Oscars.

Sir Peter continues to support the film industry locally through his production facility, Park Road Post, which is available to Kiwi film makers and helps to ensure national films adhere to a high international standard, and promotes ventures such as the 48 Hour Film Festival.

A film maker since 1976, he grew up in Pukerua Bay shooting "war movies" in his parents' vegetable garden with their Super-8 camera.

Sir Peter is one of the founders of Wellington-based special effects company Weta Workshop and its digital division, Weta Digital, which has won five Academy Awards for The Lord of The Rings, King Kong and James Cameron's Avatar.

He has contributed to Epilepsy Research and GiveLife among other charities, chaired the 14-18 Aviation Heritage Trust and secured the future of the BATS Theatre in Wellington by buying the site.

He has also supported Wellington organisations such as the South Wellington Montessori School, Miramar North Primary School, the International Institute of Letters at Victoria University and the Wellington Fringe Festival.

Last year, he received an Arts Foundation Icon Award and in 2006 was made a member of the Academy of Achievement.

Topics:  diamond jubilee, film, movies, new zealand, peter jackson, queen elizabeth ii




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