Wellington given boot by Hobbit

This Is Lancashire: Martin Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit films Martin Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit films

New Zealand's capital Wellington will rename itself The Middle of Middle-earth when it hosts the world premiere of The Hobbit movie trilogy next month.

Middle-Earth is the fictional setting for the movies, whose star-studded cast includes Martin Freeman and Sir Ian McKellen.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the city will spend 1.1 million New Zealand dollars (900,000 US dollars) on a red-carpet celebration for the November 28 premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at the Embassy Theatre.

The film is the first of three prequels to The Lord Of The Rings movies. It is directed by Wellington resident Peter Jackson and is shot in New Zealand.

The city will also host Hobbit artwork and an artisan festival.

The city said the postal service and local newspaper will be among many agencies to use the unofficial Middle Earth moniker for three weeks.

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