Air New Zealand & Herpa*

Air New Zealand 1

  • Air New Zealand’s “Middle-earth” Campaign
  • Air New Zealand Press Releases and Promotions
  • Herpa Airplane Reproductions
  • Magazine Resources

Air New Zealand’s “Middle-earth” Campaign

Air New Zealand 2

According to press releases and promotional information sheets, there were four types of Air New Zealand airplanes outfitted with oversized billboard-type decals promoting LOTR films – two each for The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

ZK-NBV * Frodo and Sam * Boeing 747-400 * TTT

ZK-NCG * Aragorn and Arwen * Boeing 767-300 * TTT

ZK-SUJ * Aragorn and Legolas  * Boeing 747-400 * ROTK

ZK-OJA * Arwen and Eowyn * Airbus A320 * ROTK

Air New Zealand produced oversized postcards depicting individual airplanes in flight, postcards with close-ups of a decal. According to what I’ve read, passengers on any particular “Middle-earth airplane” flight received a complimentary copy of the postcard that matched the kind of plane they were on. Besides being used for the design of these postcards, the Middle-earth themes were used on coffee cups for these flights. They also arranged to have several kinds of scale models created by Herpa, a German company known for other reproductions of airplanes.

Other related promotional materials included a poster showing all four different airplanes in flight together, Air New Zealand created press kits for specialized use. Besides press releases about ANZ being the “Airline to Middle-earth,” these kits may have included LOTR-themed folders, postcards, 8×10 photos, and detailed information about the special airplanes. For instance, one press release listed the four kinds of airplanes used in this campaign, gave the dimensions and weight and number of pieces in each decal, how many hours it took to apply the decal to the airplane, and the cities included in the flights for that particular plane. Details below come from that press release, supplemented with information from other sources, such as a map of LOTR Trilogy shooting sites: “New Zealand, Home of Middle-earth” produced by Studio New Zealand and New Zealand Film Commission. Also see the Film NZ website for details.

The Two Towers

ZK-NBV, Boeing 747-400. Frodo and Samwise, with the background of Hobbiton and the Shire. Aircraft billboard launched 13 December 2002. This decal image was 36×8 meters (600 square meters overall) in 240 pieces, weighing 60 kg. It took 450 hours to apply the decal to the plane.

According to the map of “New Zealand, home of Middle-earth,” the Hobbiton site was built at Matamata on the North Island of New Zealand, south of Auckland.

ZK-NCG, Boeing 767-300. Aragorn and Arwen, with the background of mountains near Queenstown, New Zealand. Aircraft billboard launched 22 January 2003. This decal was 20×6.3 meters (252 square meters overall) in 120 pieces, weighing 36 kg. It took 275 hours to apply.

According to the map of “New Zealand, home of Middle-earth,” a huge number of scenes were filmed in the Queenstown region. These included: “Rohan Refugees, Exit Paths of the Dead, the West Road, White Mountains, Eregion Hills, Emyn Muil Hilltop, Misty Mountains, Ithilien Camp, Summit of Amon Hen, Osgiliath Hilltop, Pillars of Argonath, Ford of Bruinen.”

The Return of the King

ZK-SUJ, Boeing 747-400. Aragorn and Legolas, with the background of Matuktuki Valley, near Lake Wanaka in New Zealand’s South Island. (Landscape photograph by Andris Apse.) Aircraft billboard launched 15 November 2003. This decal was 46×8 meters (735 square meters overall) in 360 pieces, weighing 60 kg. It took 450 hours to apply.

According to the map of “New Zealand, home of Middle-earth,” Tarras, Wanaka, was the site of filming the “East Road, Black Riders chase Arwen and Frodo.”

ZK-OJA, Airbus A320. Arwen and Eowyn, with the background of George Sound in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand. (Landscape photograph by Andris Apse.) Aircraft billboard launched 26 November 2003. This decal was 19×5 meters (190 square meters overall) in 118 pieces, weighing 23 kg. It took 108 hours to apply.

According to the map of “New Zealand, home of Middle-earth,” Fiordland is at the southwest tip of the South Island, but I have not been able to pinpoint what scenes were filmed there. Anyone have more details?

Air New Zealand Press Releases and Promotions

Press Releases

It appears that Air New Zealand only began posting press releases on its website in 2003, but the “Airline to Middle-earth” campaign began in 2002. So, here are some ANZ press releases that appeared in other news sources to fill in the gaps:

13 December 2002 – Air NZ Unlocks The Secrets Of Middle Earth [version #1 – much longer, with more add-on sections]

16 December 2002 – Air NZ Unlocks The Secrets of Middle-Earth [version #2]

16 December 2002 – New Zealand’s ‘Greatest’ Rings Fan Becomes ‘Airline To Middle-Earth’ Ambassador

From 2003 onward, you can search Air New Zealand’s year-by-year archive for press releases relevant to their Middle-earth campaign: Air New Zealand Press Releases from 2003 to present.

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Air New Zealand 4

Air New Zealand 5

Air New Zealand 6

Air New Zealand 7

Promotions

Some of the related promotional items for the “airline of Middle-earth” campaign included:

Enamel pin of a mallorn leaf and wordmark for The Return of the King, on a chocolate brown background enameled atop a rectangle of copper. Two butterfly-pinch pins on the back. I’ve only seen this once on eBay, in 2010, and the description noted its measurements as 6cm H x 3 cm W. These pins may have been official “flair,” available for ANZ personnel only.

Coffee cups. See pictures of the “Air New Zealand on-board coffee cup” in the Cups, Cans, and Lunch Boxes section of Springlering’s Virtual Museum. The only version of this I have seen features the Aragorn and Arwen images. From an eBay description, the approximate dimensions of the cup are 4.5 inches H x 2.5 inches at the widest point. The cup is made of cardstock and the plastic lid is embossed with the Air New Zealand logo.

UPDATE APRIL 2019: It appears that images in Springlering’s Virtual Museum have gone missing, even from Wayback Machine archived versions. Thankfully, LOTR fan Katherine Shanahan has supplied a set of five photos of these promotional coffee cups so we can see what they looked like.

Postcards. Other promotional postcards focosed on the theme of “Middle-earth is New Zealand.” This series included some of the spectacular landscapes of New Zealand, with captions like: “The movie is fictional. The location isn’t.” And, “Visit the set they couldn’t fit into a Hollywood studio” (several different landscape versions, one of them being Lake Wanaka). And, “Visit Middle-earth. They haven’t taken the set down.” See pictures of some of these under “Air New Zealand” in the Postcards section of Springlering’s Virtual Museum.

Press folder. See pictures of the “Air NZ Press Folder Eowyn Arwen” linked to in the Ephemera section of Springlering’s Virtual Museum.

Puzzle cube. See pictures in the Toy section of Springlering’s Virtual Museum.

Ticket wallet/folder, featuring the Aragorn and Legolas artwork.

Herpa Airplane Reproductions

Herpa, a German company known for quality scale models of airplanes, created 13 reproductions of the four Air New Zealand planes and decal designs in their “Airline to Middle-earth” campaign. The models appear in 4 different scales – 1:200, 1:250, 1:400, 1:500 – and in three different series – Premium, Wings, and Wooster versions.

Listed below are the models, categorized by the specific airplane and decal design. Each model lists its collection name and product identification number, scale, and list price (in Euros, as of June 2010). The link on the product identification number goes to the specific product page for that item on the Herpa website. Each product page contains multiple images in a 360-degree slideshow of the airplane, plus a detailed one-paragraph description of the item. As of June 2010, all 13 editions are sold out, but many versions appear regularly on eBay sites and may also be available from other online sellers and secondary markets.

ZK-NBV * Frodo and Sam * Boeing 747-400 * TTT

Premium Series, #016322, Scale 1:200. 261,71 €.

Wings, #513654, Scale 1:500. 27,75 €.

Wings, #550840, Scale 1:200. 70,78 €.

Wings, #560894, Scale 1:400. 36,00 €.

Wooster, #606905, Scale 1:250. 23,60 €.

ZK-NCG * Aragorn and Arwen * Boeing 767-300 * TTT

Wings, #504447, Scale 1:500. 22,50 €.

Wings, #550772, Scale 1:200. 53,50 €.

Wings, #560900, Scale 1:400. 32,83 €.

Wooster, #606912, Scale 1:250. 23,60 €.

ZK-SUJ * Aragorn and Legolas  * Boeing 747-400 * ROTK

Premium Series, #016339, Scale 1:200. 261,75 €.

ZK-OJA * Arwen and Eowyn * Airbus A320 * ROTK

Wings, #502214, Scale 1:500. 17,00 €.

Wings, #550925, Scale 1:200. 40,01 €.

Wings, #561112, Scale 1:400. 27,75 €.

Magazine Resources

Wingsworld and Air New Zealand Magazines

Wingsworld ~ Herpa Article 1

Wingsworld ~ Herpa Article 2

Descriptions and additional images forthcoming for a Herpa magazine with a photo essay article on the LOTR model airplanes, and for an Air New Zealand in-flight magazine featuring the many Kiwis who worked on the film trilogy.

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