Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has welcomed Wellington's Japanese sister city Sakai's initiative to engage the Middle of Middle-earth in a most imaginative fashion.
Sakai has signed a Declaration of an Imaginary Sister City Relationship between Sakai City and The Shire, from the soon to be released Sir Peter Jackson film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
"An imaginary sister city relationship is an inventive response to Wellington's renaming of ourselves as the Middle of Middle-earth," says Mayor Wade-Brown. "Being our sister city this has the potential for the two cities to work together on Shire-themed projects in the future."
In Sakai's declaration paper, it states that 'Sakai City hereby pledges its intention to establish and develop friendly ties with the Shire of Middle-earth'.
Sakai received a letter from The Hobbit director, Sir Peter Jackson, saying that he thinks it is an exciting and unique opportunity for The Shire to tie in with Sakai, a City of rich history.
Sakai hopes that the agreement will help inspire hope and fantasy 'not only for the people of Sakai, but for the entire country as well.'
Sakai City is holding a Panel Exhibition of the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from Saturday 8 to Thursday 20 December with other promotional events being organised for 2013.