An argument is offered that New Zealand is the wrong place to film Tolkien’s works:
One of Tolkien’s great accomplishments was making Middle-earth seem vividly old. Wherever the reader looks, ruins and crumbling statues poke through the lichen. [...]
To do justice to Tolkien—to capture the essence of Middle-earth—a filmmaker needs to convey that sensibility. And the problem with New Zealand is that it is decidedly young—both geologically and as a place inhabited by people. [...]
The criticism of tone is valid, but on the other hand: our world is, by definition, older than Bilbo’s; Tolkien had no grasp of geology anyway; Eriador has been depopulated (why?) for a thousand years by Bilbo’s time, and Rhovanion always was relatively empty.