SARAH DUNN Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese is not above using the power of the One Ring to recruit Japanese social media users to the Gigatown Nelson cause. Reese will be taking a giant 2.1kg replica of the One Ring featured in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films with her when she visits Nelson’s Japanese sister city of Miyazu to celebrate the city’s 60th anniversary. She will also visit Kyoto and Tokyo during her trip. The “stunt ring” and a number of other replicas which were used in the Peter Jackson films were made in Nelson by the Jens Hansen jewellery workshop. Reese hopes to encourage Miyazu's residents to sign up for the Gigatown competition and use social media to support Nelson’s campaign. She will allow them to take photos with her and the ring and tweet them using the hashtag #gigatownnsn
All Japanese people who help out will go into a draw to win their own One Ring replica ring. “For our city to win Gigatown we need help from as many people as possible, especially on social media,” Reese said. "The Gigatown Nelson team have done an amazing job to get us into the finals, though the competition remains extremely tight, so we are trying to take our cause overseas to gain support from our sister city.” She said the trip would promote Nelson as a tourism destination as well as helping its Gigatown campaign. Reese said the One Ring was extremely recognisable. “If we can get our sister cities in behind Nelson’s Gigatown cause, then it could have a major impact, and not only on our Gigatown success but also in our tourism sector, building connections to key tourism markets around the world.” Jens Hansen owner and director Halfdan Hansen packed the ring into a special padded carrier case for the trip. He said it was about 15cm in diameter, explaining that it was made extra-large to create illusions of scale on screen.
Halfdan Hansen of Jens Hansen Jewellers wears a Gigatown Nelson ring that will be gifted to Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke by Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese as part of the effort by Nelson to win the Gigatown competition. Photo: MARTIN de RUYTER/FAlRFAX NZ