Peter Robert Jackson was born on October 31, 1961, in Pukerua Bay, New Zealand, a picturesque coastal town near the capital of Wellington. "Our house was on the edge of a cliff that sort of plummeted right down into the ocean," Jackson recalled. "It was a children's playground, an adventure playground." His parents were both English immigrants. His father, Bill, was a local authority employee, and his mother, Joan, was a homemaker.
Jackson's family bought their first TV when he was 5 years old, and the world of television immediately captured his young imagination, especially a futuristic English sci-fi show called Thunderbirds (1965-66). Jackson's obsession with film began when he saw the original King Kong (1976) movie at the age of 9. "I think I still have a rotting puppet of King Kong somewhere in my basement," he said. "It was about a foot high. Then I made a cardboard cut-out of the Empire State Building for him to stand on, and I painted a backdrop of Manhattan.