Controversy again surrounds the Wellywood sign, with a member of the group behind a public vote to choose an alternative threatening to quit over a lack of transparency.

Wellington Airport called for alternative design submissions after outcry over its plans to put up a Wellywood sign on a hillside by the airport.

Some 350 submissions were narrowed down to a handful by an independent panel, before two rounds of public votes to decide on the final sign.

Panelist Andy Boreham, who organised protests against the original sign, has now spoken out publicly against the process.


He claims Wellington Airport vetted submissions before presenting them to the panel, with one third of the total entries unaccounted for.

"I then asked the airport what those entries were and how many of them said 'no sign' or similar, and was basically told that 'no sign' was never an option and it was, therefore, irrelevant how many entries called for no sign. I still have not been told,'' he said.

Mr Boreham said if a "staggering'' third of entries called for no sign, the panel should have been open to at least discussing the idea.

The process was seemingly open and transparent until he was denied information on the unaccounted entries.

"It was unfortunate that majority of my fellow panel members were unfazed by the idea that the airport had vetted the entries so I've been forced to make the issue public.''

Mr Boreham said it was unfortunate the otherwise energetic, robust and open process had been compromised and he was considering quitting the panel to distance himself from it.

"I'm very nervous and unhappy about being part of a process that isn't 100 per cent transparent and open,'' he said.

"We never agreed to a process where the airport could vet entries and it is sad that they decided to do so.''


Wellington Airport said it listened to the community when the public wanted to have its chance to submit ideas.

"We have made this a very transparent process and each panel member designed, agreed and approved each step of the Wellywood or What competition.

"Every single idea was displayed to panel members during the selection process and they still have access to those ideas.''

The point of the sign was to celebrate the Wellington region and doing nothing would not be an option.

"With that in mind, during the first meeting of the panel, this was discussed in full and each panel member agreed that no sign would not be an option.''

Panel chair Fran Wilde did not respond to a request for comment.


The second round of public voting opens for a week tomorrow.

The public will be able to vote on three entries _ a Wellington sign with some of the letters being blown away by the wind, the eye of the local taniwha Whataitai, and the original proposal.