Gathan Beaga

a modest proposal

Too often, when it comes to the hard choices, New Zealanders just take the easy option. And too often, the small minded among us object to the transformative and visionary changes required to position this country for the 21st century.

Such small mindedness is evident in Wellington right now with the controversy over Wellington Airport’s plans to place a 3.5 metre tall “Wellywood” sign on airport-owned land above Evan’s Bay.

Yes, you heard it right. 3.5 m tall!

Well, there’s your lack of ambition right there. The airport company has the Kiwi disease: lacking in vision, they’re just not Thinking Big enough. With so many thousands of Rugby World Cup visitors descending on the city in a few months we need to create something they’ll never ever forget: a Really Seriously Fucking Big Sign!

So here’s my proposal.

What we need is a large, preferably flaming sign spelling out “WELCOME TO MORDOR” on top of the Orongorongos. Because there’s nothing more innovative than fiery letters a couple of hundred metres high on top of a mountain range – it’s something no other city has ever done.

Below I lay out some of the advantages of my proposal over the Wellywood pygmy. In each case, you will see that my proposal is absolutely Bigger, and Better:

Attribute Wellywood sign Mordor sign
Visibility: who can see it? Only visible to rich house-owners in Hataitai, and visitors on the left hand side of aeroplanes landing at Wellington Airport in a southerly. Visible to most of Wellington, and also Space, thus widening Wellington’s promotional reach to the nearer interplanetary regions.
Appropriateness: does the sign reflect Wellington? The film industry: what everyone in Wellington pretends they work in when they talk to people outside Wellington. Government, Wellington’s real industry.
Derivativeness: what or who did we copy in order to come up with this idea? Inspired by a sign above an American city. Inspired by the creations of a deceased English professor.
Hated by: who will attempt to destroy it? Hipster graffitists and petty vandals. Al Qaeda.
Design: how quality is this? Boring white capitals as used in both Mosgiel and Hollywood. Fiery Glowing Marker Felt (because Comic Sans is, for some reason, no longer cool).
Local: what of New Zealand’s natural resources can we demonstrate being consumed in this sign? Letters probably made on the cheap in Shenzhen by oppressed Chinese workers. New Zealand artisan chippies and brickies will build it, with the fiery letters themselves powered by the finest Southland lignite coal. (A secondary option could be the collected methane of millions of dairy cows.)
Branding: does this enhance Brand Wellington? Positions Wellington alongside Mosgiel as the premiere New Zealand exponents of the Hollywood-style miniature hillside sign. Branding in its most literal sense: the fiery letters will be seared into the seismically trembling flanks of the Orongorongo mountains.
Size: how empowered will it make Wellingtonians feel when they gaze upon it? Monumental, but only for mice. Truly huge, and maybe even a little bit engorged.

I’m sure you can add some more reasons in the comments below.

And for inspiration, below is an artists impression (without the smoke) of my sign as it will appear from across the harbour at Frank Kitts Park:

The Fiery Sign

After all – we want everyone to read the fiery letters.

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