New Zealand resident Aaron Nicholson applied to have an unnamed peak in Fiordland National Park christened “Tolkien Mountain” in honor of the Lord of the Rings author, but the New Zealand Geographic Board has declined the application.
Nicholson chose the 1757m peak because the mountain featured briefly in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. “It’s not one of the more exciting peaks, but if you were to climb it, it might be a different story – it has commanding views of a lot of scenery,” he told Stuff.co.nz. He had hoped that the name and its association with the films would attract tourists.
Wendy Shaw of the New Zealand Geographic Board explained to the Otago Daily Times, “The proposal would have had to have provided a strong association between the person being honoured/commemorated and the area where the feature is located,” a key provision in the board’s naming policy. “In this case, the connection and relevance between English author J.R.R. Tolkien and this peak is based on its use as background scenery in a movie based on the author’s works. This was not considered to be sufficient grounds for naming the feature ‘Tolkien Mountain.'”
Nicholson was also involved in plans to have part of the Waiau River, used in filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy, renamed Anduin Reach. That proposal was turned down in 2009.
However, even before the films, Tolkien-inspired names were being proposed for Fiordland geographic features. In 1972, “Aragorn Peak” was one of nine Lord of the Rings names proposed to the Fiordland National Park Board. The name even appeared on a topographic map from the Department of Lands and Survey in 1974.
The board considered other suggestions, and instead, chose the names U Pass, Glade Pass, Triton Peak, and Disappearing Peak, which were made official in 1979. By the 1980 edition of the map, all traces of Aragorn Peak had been removed.