Though the central North Island range of Mt. Ngauruhoe in New Zealand was used as Mt. Doom in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, the area may now be off-limits to the director as he sets off to film The Hobbit.

With only five weeks to go before principle photography begins, the local Maori have decided to refuse Peter Jackson permission to shoot in and around Mt. Ngauruhoe because the iwi have declared the range sacred. In The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his traveling companions set out to traverse this rocky terrain as they head up the misty mountain to battle the dragon Smaug.

Having been refused the sacred mountains as a central location now has Peter Jackson and his crew scrambling to find an alternative. The director recently flew into Queenstown to inspect Mt. Taranaki and the Southern Alps as a possible alternative.

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This is just one of many setbacks the trouble-plagued The Hobbit has run into since it was first announced. Martin Freeman recently joked about this so-called The Hobbit curse.

"There are some bits of bad luck associated with it. We're ready to go - just as soon as 2015 comes around."
B. Alan Orange