I’ve never been particularly fond of the “Welly” moniker. But to have it plastered all over a local hillside on the approach to Wellington Airport smacks of a complete lack of imagination.
I generally try to avoid getting too deeply mired in political debate and I don’t want to start a rant about why we don’t need to be aping American culture; but there remains something rather disturbing about the prospect of a Hollywood style sign being plonked on my front doorstep. I have friends and family over in Hataitai and there is certainly no great enthusiasm for the idea amongst local residents.
For me personally, the overriding image attached to the original Hollywood sign is one of tacky fakery and gross self-indulgence. Yes, Wellington has benefitted economically through partnerships that reach deep into the L.A. film industry. But that doesn’t mean we need to emulate it entirely. In fact our strength is that we differ from it.
I would also question whether a creative city, such as Wellington, needs to brand itself by ripping off someone else’s intellectual property. This seems entirely counter-intuitive when we have a vast richness of other iconology available from amongst our collective Maori, Pacifica, Asian and European peoples. I hope the airport company will sniff the wind and quietly retire the concept. As one commentator suggested, they would gain a lot more respect by simply replanting the hillside in native trees.