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Curtain falls on council-Sir Peter Jackson movie museum for capital

16 August 2018. Source: Stuff.co.nz


The pin has officially been pulled on a joint convention centre and Sir Peter Jackson movie museum in Wellington.

On Tuesday, his company, The Movie Museum Limited (TMML) and Wellington City Council jointly announced the "mutually-agreed parting of the ways" for the venture that was revealed in 2015.

However, Jackson said he was not ruling out a capital-based museum in the future and was considering other options.

In a joint statement, Jackson, Fran Walsh, Sir Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger said despite the best efforts of all parties, the economics of the Cable St location proved to be challenging for the movie museum.

"We remain committed to the creation of the movie museum in Wellington and will now be considering other options."

The project was first budgeted to cost $134 million, increased to $165m but Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said the envelope of money was closer to $180m.

The plan was left floundering after Jackson's letter to the council in December, where he raised concerns that the city council was "reneging" on its contract.

This was followed by a series of last-ditch meetings between the parties that set the project in a holding pattern.

A signed pact between the parties said the council would pay for the new building, while TMML would fund the museum's fitout, and feature Jackson's extensive collection of movie memorabilia.

Who would pay for the fitout was understood to be a bone of contention between the parties and the council was expected to cover 90 per cent of the overall cost.

Lester said the two sides had given the idea of a joint project the best possible shot, but it had become apparent that Wellingtonians would be better served with the movie museum and the convention centre as two separate assets.

He was pleased TMML had committed to a movie museum for Wellington and he looked forward to their vision being realised.

The council would now move forward with the convention centre plan, replacing the movie museum with a 1500 square metre exhibition space that looks set to be run in partnership with Te Papa.

Exhibition spaces around the world were undergoing a renaissance and the council expected it to be a revenue earner – on par with the movie museum estimates, he said.

The area would be able to accommodate large, internationally significant exhibitions and draw in visitors from around Wellington, New Zealand and internationally, he said.

The council expects to lodge the resource consent soon and is gearing up for a sod-turning in 2019.

The building design may change slightly but would keep the concept based on the head of Maui's fish: Te Upoko o te Ika.

There might be some extra funding for other council projects but that was yet to be determined, Lester said.

"This will be a welcome development for Wellington business, hospitality and accommodation sectors as it will mean the city will be equipped to host larger conferences and conventions."