December 31st, 2009
01:12 PM ET

Peter Jackson knighted in his native New Zealand

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Just call him Sir Peter. The Oscar-winning writer and director of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Peter Jackson, has been named a knight in his home country of New Zealand.

"I didn't think anything would surpass the 2004 Academy Awards, but I was wrong," Jackson said in a statement.

This is the first time knighthood has been conferred in the country since 2000 when it was abolished by former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

"The Lord Of The Rings" trilogy, which won 17 Academy Awards - including best director, adapted screenplay and best picture for Jackson for the final chapter, "The Return of the King" - was largely filmed in New Zealand and showcased the country’s natural scenery. The project broke box-office records around the world and prompted a spike in tourism to New Zealand.

Jackson grew up in Pukerua Bay on the North Island of the country.

The knighthood was conferred on Jackson for his services to film. New Zealand’s knights and dames are sanctioned by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s official head of state.

Jackson, who was recently in his home country promoting his new movie, “The Lovely Bones,” is currently working on the two-movie prequel to “The Lord of the Rings,”  “The Hobbit,” also based on a book by author J.R.R. Tolkien, with Mexican director Guillermo del Toro.

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soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Deej

    I want to be a knight

    January 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lucas

    Elizabeth II is the queen of New Zealand , queen of Australis, queen of Canada, queen of several Carribean nations, as well as queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.. All of these nations are democracies. They are not republics. If they like their forms of government, who are we to complain? Of course, our federal government works so well, with no special priviliges for the rich.

    January 5, 2010 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    Debra R
    Actually you don't need to be a subject of the queen of be knighted. As a US citizen, (like myself) you might be interested in the fact that the late Senator Kennedy was knighted shortly before his death.
    And hey cnn, see if you can interview Jackson about "The Hobbit". I can't wait to see it.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Debra R

    well, I stand corrected. New Zealand is NOT Australia, my apologies to the Kiwis...you have every right to be proud of your Sir Peter. And I do apologize that as a US citizen, not a UK citizen, I am not up on your varied history... my mistake...so let me understand...

    New Zealand and Australia do not call Elizabeth their Queen? If that is the case then certainly Sir Peter should not accept an honor as he is not a subject of Queen Elizabeth....

    The main point of my comment was that Sir Peter's knighthood is an HONOR bestowed to him and like any other HONOR we should appauld it instead of being spoil sports....

    January 2, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. Grace

    "The Lord of the Rings should have been shot in Britain – the original inspiration for the story."

    That's ridiculous. Good luck getting the same pre-Industrial shots in a country as built-up as England. Not to mention, Tolkien was "inspired" by Britain because he was writing about an idealized version of the country before machinery took it over. New Zealand's a pretty perfect stand-in, given its generally untouched countryside - there's only so much havoc a 4m population can wreak.

    And it would have been bloody boring for Middle Earth to just be "England". Places change over millenia of years - Middle Earth always should have looked slightly different to anything we knew.

    January 2, 2010 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    Ian, being an American who is also a believer in the ideals of republicanism and capitalism, I think its a higher title to be a citizen of the United States than a subject of the Queen of England and the British Empire.
    And Louis E, (being an American) how can you support a monarchy when our government was founded on removing such an undemocratic system?
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..."
    Peter Jackson, we cant wait to hear about updates to your films. Especially "The Hobbit."

    January 2, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jerrold

    JB,

    Yes, I think it's only you. I loved all the films, and frankly wished there were MORE in them. This may indeed be a news flash: but your opinion about their worth doesn't mean it's true, or fact, or everyone else's opinion. The fact that they were box office smashes means that lots of people really enjoyed them. Some, like me, saw them more than once in the theater.

    Shocking, I know! I know how traumatic is must be for you to realize that you're not the center of the universe. Best of luck with that.

    January 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Laren

    Debra R: Further to the responses by others pointing out that you commented about a completely different country to the one indicated in the article, I'd like to add that New Zealand is not "part of the UK" (and neither is Australia, for that matter). New Zealand was previously part of the British Empire, but has been an independent country since the 1940s, and is now a Commonwealth realm (as are other countries that were previously part of the British Empire – including Canada, and, yes, Australia). Queen Elizabeth II holds the title of Queen of a number of sovereign countries (including Queen of New Zealand) – they aren't just all part of the UK.
    You're still entitled to your opinion, but if you got your facts straight people would be less distracted by the errors.

    January 1, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. Walter Hesse

    Peter Jackson will be granted "Sainthood" from the pope himself if he
    performs the same magic with "The Hobbit".
    My wife and I have read the works in their entirety. The art of bringing a story to life and creating personna from pages of print is his pure genius!! I can put a face to the the entire saga, finally!
    For those who decry the Monarchy, I am an American who appreciates that however old fashioned it may seem, it adds a small luster of civility to a world full of an_l retentive socialist politics.
    Thanks to Peter Jackson for enriching our imaginations with color and adventure. When someone mentions Saint Peter, I will have a nice "Hobbitesque" face in my mind!!

    January 1, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. Pamela

    Congratulations Sir Peter, you deserve the highest honor in the land for your devotion to outstanding film. Your time, energy, and expertize has made millions of people extremely happy and excited about films.

    If all humans contributed as much as you have the world would be a much better place. Well done!

    January 1, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. Chad Kruger

    JB – no, you're not alone. The Lord of the Rings should have been shot in Britain – the original inspiration for the story. Yes, it's great to have a live action version of TLoTR, but this version fell well short of being an excellent conversion from the book. Yes, you can see the money that was put into it, but the way it is all directed and flows seems very awkward and unpolished.

    January 1, 2010 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. Eric

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. BZ, Peter!

    January 1, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ian

    With regard to left-wing "Ted" and his Helen Clark views – Keep your communist rhetoric to yourself – or go to whatever despotic socialist country still exists (try Cuba or North Korea). Sir Peter richly deserved his title. Just because you're someone who'll never amount to anything, doesn't mean other people can't rise to a higher station. Your petty comments are sad, meaningless and spiteful. What's happened to Helen Clark anyway? – Hope she's had a decent hairdo and got herself some new clothes....

    January 1, 2010 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Louis E.

    I'm an American who envies Britain their monarchy and knighthoods,and is pleased that New Zealand has reinstated knighthoods despite modernistic worship of egalitarianism being promoted everywhere.

    However,I'm also a Tolkien purist who considers TLotR and The Hobbit much too good to film,and I suspect I consider (Sir) PJ a "talentless hack" for reasons opposite to JB...absolutely nothing excuses editing out anything that was in the books!There is no substitute for reading the books and no one should think they know Middle-Earth unless they have read them.

    January 1, 2010 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Brent

    I hate to say it, but he looked way better 80 lbs heavier.

    January 1, 2010 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  16. michael

    Even this liberal is getting tired of whining about social hierarchy. It is a cultural and artistic barometer for the times and every culture has it's right to it's own traditions. Stop calling the knighthoods outdated. If anything, we need a few lofty heights in society to remind ourselves of civil decorum and the need to achieve greatness by example. It is healthy.

    December 31, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Wes

    I'm still not sure why he did not receive the award for Meet the Feebles. Now that is a piece of work!

    December 31, 2009 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Gleleo

    I dont understand why actors and or directors get knighted. I mean, there must be doctors or engineers, or scientists, or innovators, giants in ikndustry and education, social work, and charities who's work and efforts deserve such honors. Not sure fantasy creating and storytelling is such an important or critical thing...

    December 31, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  19. mysticl

    To JB ... Yes ... you are the only one.

    Congratulations Peter on the knighthood AND your weight loss.

    December 31, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Sumatran Rat Monkey

    Hooray! What a great career PJ has laid for himself so far! From his extremely gorey, shlocky, and silly horror films in the '80s to the amazing extravaganzas he has directed recently....well done! Good show! You have helped change modern movies for the better!!

    December 31, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  21. R.J.

    To JB:

    Yes, yes you are.

    December 31, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  22. purple

    wow,congratulations Sir Peter,and man how handsome,lost a lot of weight ,looking good!

    December 31, 2009 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Mark C

    *** Am I the only one who is horrified at the prospect of a talentless hack getting knighted for creating 3 sleeping pills disguised as movies that really could have been at least 45 minutes to an hour shorter EACH? ***

    You're the only one gigantically stupid enough to believe that gaseous nonsense, yes.

    December 31, 2009 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Barbara T.

    Congrats to your creative genius and heart, Sir Peter.
    The L.O.T.R. Trilogy is a incredible dedicated piece of work you
    deserve knighthood it somehow relates nicely with your upcoming
    project "The Hobbit". We should also acknowledge J.R.R. Tolkien
    for his written works without which we would have no L.O.T.R. films.

    December 31, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  25. barrie

    Well deserved!
    What's going on with "The Dam Busters"?

    December 31, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Harriet

    Congrats Peter! You deserve it. LOTR movies are among the best ever made!

    December 31, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  27. kate

    Congrats to a wonderful and creative director who has brought us wonderful films that have opened our hearts and minds to possibilities and the wonder of change. He deserves this and Knighthood is a recognition at this point in time not a title of royalty. May you have many more years of creativity and joy in your work!

    December 31, 2009 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  28. JB

    Am I the only one who is horrified at the prospect of a talentless hack getting knighted for creating 3 sleeping pills disguised as movies that really could have been at least 45 minutes to an hour shorter EACH?

    I love fantasy based movies, but the LOTR trilogy is a waste of a perfectly good handful of DVDs, and next year, handful of Blu-Rays.

    Jackson needs to learn how to edit – not EVERYTHING that was shot needs to be in the film!

    December 31, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  29. opinion 1

    only the brits waste time with trash like this. absolutely a waste of time and i think its rediculous to have a queen and king and how popular they are...royalty..PFFT ! what a waste. funny how these kings of England past get such fame but they were tyrants.

    December 31, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  30. luva

    A great honor peter, you deserve it , your movies have all been great but "Lords of the Ring" all three are the greatest. Can't wait for your next one

    December 31, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Amanda

    I love you Sir Peter!!!! Wouldn't have it any other way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 31, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  32. TrudyBird

    Recognition in a favorably way is always lovely. He deserves it. My congratulations to this well deserving New Zealander and incredible talent that has given this person many hours of beautiful entertainment. I'm also pleased to see he's taking care of himself by losing the extra weight. I didn't recognize his photo! Bravo!

    December 31, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Grace

    Is it wrong that looking at that photo, all I see is the Tasting Room in the backdrop?

    Sigh. I miss the Tasting Room.

    Also, good on you Pete. And if anyone ever gets the chance to go to the Weta cinema (as a charity event, most likely, I don't think it's usually open) then do. The inside of that theatre is breath-taking.

    December 31, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Rebecca

    Congrats to Peter Jackson! I still love the movies and I think they hold a special place in many people's lives.

    Yeah knighthood is dated, but it's part of their heritage and it is really the gesture, not necessarily the historic accuracy that is the point here. Don't take it too seriously guys.

    The best part of this article is that he's working on The Hobbit. I didn't know that he was part of it. So excited for the movies. Can't get enough of Middle Earth.

    December 31, 2009 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  35. RLG

    Congratulations Sir Peter! The Lord of the Ring series is my favorite series of all time!

    December 31, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Kiwi chick

    Debra just to inform you , Sir Peter Jackson is a New zealander NOT an Australian !

    December 31, 2009 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Mike

    Hey Debra R
    The country in question is New Zealand, not Australia. Its mentioned in the title. Actually Australia was never mentioned in the article.
    Ted and I are just sad that relics from savage bygone ages are still around. We both have said that we wish him our best.

    December 31, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  38. DL

    He should have been knighted for BrainDead!

    December 31, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Carolyn

    Knighthood is a tradition, and just because we do not have it here in the US doesnt mean it should go away. The UK is full of lovely traditions, including the monarchy, and should be continued. Well done, Sir Peter!

    December 31, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Stuart

    Holy cow... he should have gotten his knighthood for his weight loss! Good job Mr. Jackson!!

    December 31, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Tere

    Congrats Peter! You deserve it!

    December 31, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Adam

    Thank GOD he is finally making The Hobit! I think the Hobit was a much better book than the Lord of the Rings. Cant wait to see the finished product. Congrats Sir. Jackson

    December 31, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Debra R

    Ted and Mike: well considering that Australia is still part of the UK...until the monarchy is abolished.....

    quit being spoil sports!!!!!!

    December 31, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Debra R. Australia is NOT part of the UK. Australia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations like about 60 other countries and Queen Elizabeth is the head of the Commonwealth of Nations. None of these nations belong to the UK. Britain no longer has an empire. I

      October 25, 2010 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      "Britain no longer has an empire."

      That's what they say.

      October 25, 2010 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  44. Mike

    I agree with Ted. Feudalistic titles such as knighthoods only exist today because some people still wish to have a monarch. A monarch's only qualification is being born to a certain family. During the course of their lives they regularly receive taxes from their own people to perform functions that are largely ceremonial and unnecessary, such as knighthoods.
    Peter Jackson, you have created some of the finest movies of our time. People across the world value and appreciate your talent and look forward to your future works. This is a higher honor than what amounts to a pat on the back from a single person. Best of luck Peter!

    December 31, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Eric

    holy cow, he lost so much weight

    December 31, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Ted

    I agree with former Prime Minister Helen Clark - such silly social titles should be abolished. Recognition and awards for a job well done, or achievements, of course, yes. But knighthoods? Today? Still? Seems undemocratic and undated in a modern world. USA has the Kennedy Honors, Academy Awards and such, which are sensible. Nonetheless, congratulations, Mr. Jackson.

    December 31, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Tom

    I hope he shaved.

    December 31, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Debra R

    Contgrats Sir Peter....

    December 31, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |

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