It would be the easiest thing in the world to get sucked into twittering on about Wellington's witless Wellywood sign. It is, after all, simply evidence, writ large, of how provincial, insecure and derivative we can be.

If you have to try that hard to impress people, you really shouldn't bother. Better to pull your bottom lip over your top lip and pretend you don't exist.

The Wellywood sign is just the biggest, dumbest version of all those gormless billboards we see bestrewn along the roadside all over the country, halfway between nowhere and somewhere else.

You know the kind of thing: Welcome to the Hakatakabakapaka District - Zucchini capital of the whole entire world ("Oh, gosh, darling, look. It's the zucchini capital of the whole entire world. Let's stop and spend some money.")


Fat chance, Frodo! We just keep driving, don't we, pedal to the smoking metal, fearful that people with banjos and six fingers will leap from the bushes and feed us to their chooks.

And we don't slow down till we see the next sign: Farewell from the Hakatakabakapaka District - Drive safely. And be nice to your hens.

They're daft, those things, utterly, spectacularly, derisively daft. Yet they continue to sprout, like wilding pines, tangible proof of how gullible twits can be when they get the chance to spend other people's money.

("I agree with Councillor Gumboyle, your Worship. A sign of that nature will definitely put our district on the map.") No, it won't. A Zeppelinesque zucchini, suspended in the sky, or two giant zucchinis mating (as only zucchinis can) might.

But a bit of wood with some words on it won't. Credulous counties, boroughs, districts and rabbit boards should stick up something honest, like, Hello, ratepayers. Here's how we waste your money.

But the capital's ratepayers aren't paying for the Wellywood sign. They will emotionally, of course, when visitors from Dargaville, Dannevirke, Dunsandel and Dipton point and snigger and smirk in a superior fashion.

But no money will leave their oft-plundered pockets. The funds for this erection are coming from Wellington Airport (Fog in hell, it's hell in fog).

Except they won't. They'll come from us. We'll pay for it. Wellywood will ultimately be financed by luckless travellers forced to fork out more for their lukewarm falafels next time they're stranded in Wellington when their connecting flights get cancelled.


Oddly enough, that's not what's got the cognoscenti all in a tizz-wozz. Their objection is that the sign is "tacky". Well, of course it's tacky, y' daft ha'porths!

But it's not tacky enough. It's limp tacky, wimp tacky.

It should be wacky tacky. If it's going to be tacky, it's got to be Oh! tacky. Nothing less will do.

Ohakune is the template here. They've got it sussed. They know there's only one reason to put up any sign or symbol announcing that you've finally arrived at somewhere you'd rather not be.

Since all such signs and symbols invite derision, get in first. Create one that will transcend silliness and scale the highest heights of kitsch. Then, when people say, "Strewth, that's awful!" you can reply, with a satisfied grin on your gob, "Thank you."

So there you have it, Wallywood. If it ain't a carrot, it's not worth the candle. And Wellywood ain't a carrot - or a candle. It's a copycat clone, a real estate remake, a Hollywood, Bollywood, RotaVegas replica.

Cast it out before you put it up. The brooding hills of Miramar, the straining fault lines of Thorndon, the corridors of power, all deserve better.

A great big bold Bugs Bunny, perhaps, acknowledging the city's dependence on Warner Bros. That's got carrot cred. Or a huge hobbit, towering over the runways holding a ring to symbolise all those stranded passengers calling other people to say they're going nowhere.

Alternatively, if you insist on being derivative, something reminiscent of Mt Rushmore deserves consideration. Just imagine. You're an airport director, trapped in the fogbound board room, but comforted nonetheless because you know that somewhere out there on the other side of the impenetrable mists are five great faces, each fashioned in fibreglass, all proudly staring out from the Miramar hills - Sir Peter, Sir Richard, Sir Ian, King Kong and Bilbo Baggins.

"Oh, yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Deidre, fetch the children. We're going to Wellington! I'm absolutely positive!!"

And if you did go for the Mt Rushmore thing, the faces could change whenever it suited. You could have a World Cup set with all the talented Hurricanes players likely to become All Blacks this year. Well, okay, so you wouldn't put anything up that week. But you get the drift.

Come on, Wallywood. Show some skerrick of imagination. Cast off the corsets of rectitude. Don't be vulgar, be really vulgar. Don't be tacky, be 3D tacky. Try "Naff off!" in neon, or "We don't like being here either". At least that'll keep the locals happy.