New Zealand to rename city for Hobbit premiere

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — 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.

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

The movie is the first of three prequels to The Lord of the Rings movies. It's 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 says 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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