The multi oscar winning Lord of The Rings trilogy was shot simultaneously over an 8 year period and entirely in New Zealand. Directed by kiwi legend sir Peter Jackson, the ‘rings’ franchise and subsequent Hobbit films have become a worldwide phenomenon and a major New Zealand tourist attraction. Much has been chronicled about the making of Middle Earth, and it turns out Ruapehu played a central role in the telling of that story
Ruapehu's awe inspiring and diverse scenery makes it a natural choice for film locations. Mordor, home to the Dark Lord Sauron was shot on location around the rocky slopes of the Tongariro National Park. The area’s jagged volcanic rock formations and eerie barren landscapes were ideal locations for creating Mordor’s hissing wasteland. As the centre piece of the films, Mount Ngauruhoe was digitally enhanced to create the fiery Mount Doom. Key scenes shot in the Ruapehu region also include the Emyn Muil (Iwikau Village at Whakapapa), Ithilien Camp (Mangawhero Falls) and Orc Army scenes (Rangipo Desert).
Given the importance of the Tongariro National Park to New Zealand's conservation and cultural history, the producers worked closely with the Department of Conservation to ensure that measures were implemented to protect the sensitive ecological environment.