In what was a case of divine intervention last week in Sydney, Elijah Wood (Aka Frodo Baggins of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings fame) popped up out of the blue at Tourism New Zealand’s ‘100% Pure Welcome’ launch to put a smile on everyone’s faces.

No joke! By a complete stroke of good fortune, U.S actor Elijah Wood just happened to be in the same building as the launch event.

The real story goes that after flying in from the U.S that morning for another event, Wood (We’ll call him Baggins as it’s more fun) had checked in early to the Paramount House Hotel in Sydney’s hipster hood of Surry Hills only to find that his room wasn’t ready (good to know that Hobbits don’t get preferential treatment either).

On a bleary-eyed quest to find the loo of Mordor, Baggins then set off downstairs into the depths of the hotel on an unexpected journey to find the ‘one ring to rule them all’, dodging a few trolls and a couple of Goblins and Wargs along the way…

However, after noticing some Tourism New Zealand banners placed upon the well-worn path, young Baggins instead found himself back in familiar Middle Earth at the ‘Good morning world’ launch event in the hotel’s groovy Golden Age Cinema.


Photo: James D Morgan/Getty Images for Tourism New Zealand

So what did our pint-sized intrepid hero Baggins do? Happily join the event of course and pose for photos with the travel industry and media crowd.

Bilbo and Gandalf would have been proud.

We’ll never know whether Baggins did vanquish his quest for the toilet (let’s hope so), but for Tourism New Zealand, there’s probably nothing sweeter they could have orchestrated to launch their glorious new ‘Good Morning World’ campaign than have Frodo Baggins himself show up personally to give the Hobbit nod to their 365 days of authentic Kiwi storytelling.

The last time Baggins was involved (after the success of the Lord of the Rings globally), Tourism New Zealand activated their fantastic 100% Middle Earth campaign to highlight the amazing landscapes seen in the film franchise.

Liz Crowley, Scenic & Sandra Etter (TNZ)

Liz Crowley (Scenic) & Sandra Etter (TNZ)

Andrew Waddel (TNZ) Photos: James D Morgan/Getty Images for Tourism New Zealand

For Andrew Waddel, (Tourism, New Zealand General Manager Australia) he says Baggins surprise appearance was always meant to be.

“Elijah’s chance arrival only reinforced what ‘100% Pure Welcome’ stands for – the warm and welcoming embrace of the people, something that Elijah experienced himself while filming in New Zealand.  So it made perfect sense that he just happened to be there with us. Though I have to say that I did think someone was playing a trick on me at first,”

“It was made even sweeter given that we’re at day four of the campaign and we were screening charismatic Sonny and his own ‘Good Morning World’ message from Hobbiton. It’s only fitting that Elijah was here to see that,” says Waddel.

While the campaign has only just taken off (less than a week since launch at the time of writing), the first two 30 second stories have already clocked up over a million views each on YouTube.

Waddel says that the campaign is resonating loudly with people all over the world and Kiwis everywhere and will continue to build as the daily stories unfold.

“The campaign is very much a gesture of welcome from Kiwi’s all over New Zealand, so the fact that it’s resonating within New Zealand too is also a real positive,” says Waddel.


Get ready for more New Zealand enquiry and tools to sell with!

Roys Peak, Wanaka, South Island

Roys Peak, Wanaka, South Island

The campaign will run for 365 days consecutively with a new story from somewhere in New Zealand every day and be pushed out across YouTube, Instagram and Facebook plus outdoor and cinema advertising and more.

For agents and trade, it will undoubtedly drive interest and bookings to the land of the long white cloud from travellers who have perhaps to date, put New Zealand on the “I’ll go there later” list.

“From the initial feedback we’ve had, we’re already seeing that travellers are getting inspired by a vast range of experiences from our stories and making emotional connections thanks to the characters in each video.”

Waddel added, “It’s a completely new and unique approach to storytelling and promoting things to do.”

Tourism New Zealand will also launch a series of trade videos for agents to use in the coming weeks and there will be plenty of opportunities for agents to get involved too when they’re across the Tasman on their own adventures.

To help you create your own story, Tourism New Zealand has made it easy for you and created a simple ‘Make your own’ video guide to follow in three easy steps.

Upload your video using the #goodmorningworldnz hashtag, and you could be featured too.

Have you signed up for the 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist Program yet? Word on the street is, there’s a competition coming and more chances to create your own story in New Zealand. Sign up here.

I’m still not convinced that the whole Frodo Baggins appearance wasn’t a setup, but if it was, well played Tourism New Zealand – It’s made for a most unexpected story.

Find out more about the campaign at Good Morning World!


What do you think of the new campaign? Share your thoughts below.