The Peter Jackson name is as famous worldwide for rabbits as that of Jack Russell for the breed of terrier dogs.
The breed originated in the United Kingdom as a cross between the English Spot and English Lop. This was a result of experiments by no less a personage than author Beatrix Potter, who was attempting to create a free-range type of domesticated rabbit. Unfortunately, her rabbits would constantly wander over to her neighbor McGregor's garden rather than nearby fields and all her rabbits were killed. Potter made the best of it, getting a children's book out of her experiences, after removing the blood and gore from her illustrations at the suggestion of her editor. Her writings took off in popularity, earning her upwards of £100 (worth over £120 today). She then retired from writing and went on to try to create flying British Hedgehogs as mascots for her planned chain of chip shops, to no avail. She died of ennui after a bout with ague and was buried along with her hedgehogs, who promptly dug themselves out, because they were hedgehogs.
The breed was rediscovered and further developed by its namesake, Peter Jackson, the grand scion of the famous Jackson family whose American branch includes Andrew, Stonewall, Michael and Janet. He is also credited for being the person who first brought rabbits to Australia.
Jackson's Australian breeding program was a tad too successful despite bringing huge amounts of cuteness and fluffiness down under. Rabbits now have crowded out all other life in 4 states, native or not, causing Bunyips to emigrate to nearby Papua New Guinea. However, rabbits have made Australia the sunshine-filled tourist destination for those who love furry cannibalistic zombie creatures that can hop about, joining other favourites like killer kangaroos and giant jumping furry venomous spiders.
In New Zealand
At some point, Jackson decided to 'leg it', or emigrate. Taking a caged breeding pair with him aboard the M/S Waratah, Jackson arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand with several hundred rabbits. Christchurch officials turned out on the docks with the army appearing prepared to give Jackson a 21 gun salute. The cannon turned out to be loaded and Jackson and his rabbits skipped off to the South Island.
From that foundation group, Jackson developed his extremely hairy rabbit with extremely short ears, so designed to be able to survive in alpine conditions on the South Island. It was also bred to be very plump at maturity to be able to survive cold winters. From the beginning, the Peter Jackson breed adapted well to the condition on South Island. It also made the native Giant Subantarctic carrots the main part of its diet, a feared plant in New Zealand as it is larger than a small child.
When moving pictures reached New Zealand in the 1980s, natives were anxious to put their best foot forward by showing off local wildlife like kiwis, Peter Jacksons as well as Granny Smith apples and kiwifruit. The Peter Jackson appears twice in films of the Lord of the Rings franchise equalling film appearances by the Giant Subantarctic carrot. However, the carrot has won more New Zealand film awards (2) than the Peter Jackson (1). Meanwhile, critics have charged that showing rabbits and carrots has eliminated meagre parts that would be played otherwise by Maori actors.
The Lord of the Rings franchise
Since the release of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, New Zealand has become a magnet for tourists. This has caused a national crisis whereby every New Zealander might have to actually hold a job and work. That is, excepting Maoris, who would, for example, find it difficult to take a driving job whilst still being shackled upside down to a jail wall.
Tourists flock to the South Island grasslands to see the 'Riders of Rohan' charging across the rolling hills. What they are actually seeing are massive herds of Peter Jacksons kicking up huge clouds of dust as they travel in search of Giant Antarctic carrots. However, with a few carrying banners with adverts, the illusion is complete and satisfying to tourists. Many tourists claim to have seen said Riders of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings films, but this is just a popular misconception. What had actually happened was that footage of LARPers being chased by local motorcycle gangs was accidentally included in a couple of the films but was left in to fill out the running time.
The popular re-creation of Hobbiton is made up of false fronts built on Peter Jackson dens. As the board of tourism had built them, the organization also held the keys to the doors, causing great friction with the rabbits living there. Peter Jacksons finally got sets of keys only after their 2012 protests where they dressed up as Hobbits and ate their own rabbit pellets in front of tourists having dinner.
Weta Digital is a high security secret facility in Wellington dedicated to improving the Peter Jackson breed. One of its successes is the creation of a larger rabbit with less fat to suit current preferences, using CRISPR genetic engineering technology. This has proved controversial as the alarmed governments of French Polynesia and China have aired concerns about rabbits of mass destruction being produced there without any controls. Australia just seems to be happy to ignore the fact that New Zealand exists.
Today, New Zealand is the number one exporter of rabbit products thanks to the Peter Jackson. This includes frozen rabbit pot pies, lucky rabbits feet, rabbit ear backscratcher sets, shrunken rabbit heads and four-fingered white gloves. This puts the country's output well ahead of competitors Tibet and Belgium.
- The English Splop, in other words. Fudd, E. (1932). Hunting for Wabbits, Merkle Press, pgs. 44-46
- But not Percy Jackson. Go figure. Hazlewood, Lee and Sinatra, Nancy (1965). Jackson, Columbia
- Patterson, Banjo (1895). "%%*&%@ Rabbits of Snowy River", Betoota Advocate.
- Not meant to be taken literally.
- "China Vows to Put Rabbit on Moon by 2020", China Times. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
- United Nations Amended Report on Exported Souvenir Crap (2019)