The Middle of Middle-earth

The Middle of Middle-earth.

Last week, because of the imminent arrival of Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I got the opportunity to go and check out the Weta Cave in Miramar.

I seem to have come down with a case of Hobbit-fever in the intervening seven days, because when it came to writing the blog this week all I wanted to do was spin another Tolkien related yarn.

So, I thought I’d give everyone who doesn’t know yet a wee heads up on some of the stuff that the talented folk at Weta Workshop have whipped up especially for the enjoyment of the public, to celebrate the opening of another Kiwi-made blockbuster.

All those who are flying into or out of Wellington are in for a treat at Wellington Airport. Greeting everyone who comes into the main terminal now, is a very familiar face. It’s Gollum, only Gollum on a scale that you have never seen him. The crew at Weta Workshop has carved a thirteen-meter long Gollum installation that hangs from the terminal ceiling. He looks happy too! That’s probably because he’s in the middle of snatching up one of the three four-meter long fish that are swimming through the air in front of him. The overall effect, thanks to the decals pasted over the windows and the fifteen bubbles suspended around his grinning face, is that Gollum has ducked his head into a river to find some juicy fish only to come across the main terminal too.

Weta Workshop Marketing Manager, Magnus Hjert, gave me some of the stats on the sculpture. “Logistically, it was tricky,” he tells me. “The Weta crew had to bring Gollum into the airport in nine separate pieces due to the size of the doors. Then we had to put him together and touch him up on site.”

Then they had to hoist the sculpture into position. Gollum may look in need of a couple of mince and cheese pies, but in his airport form he weighs 1.2 tonnes! Not bad, considering the Workshop team carved him from blocks of polystyrene.

For all those who find themselves about town, maybe it is time to wander down to the New Zealand Post House at 7 Waterloo Quay. Recently the building has acquired some visitors. Thirteen Dwarves and a Hobbit, to be precise. Up on a fifth floor plinth, Weta Workshop members erected the fourteen silhouettes a couple of weeks ago. The figures are all cut from plywood, painted black and supported with scaffolding. I highly recommend taking a stroll down the waterfront after dark, and checking out the six meter tall travelling party with their awesome lighting backdrop.

Have a look at the photo album on Wellington’s Facebook page for a few more snaps.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Not long now.

2 comments

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#1

Am heading down to Wellington later this month and your info has certainly whetted my appetite to check out Gollum, the Dwarves and the Hobbit! Working for the Tourism industry myself this is also useful stuff to impart on our eager visitors wanting to know more about what's on and what to see in our fair capital.

By Tracy, 23 November 2012

#2

I think the Entire Production of the Hobbit has put New Zealand back on the Map.
Can't wait to see it.
Will have to wait for the Crowds die down before I can go.
Sir Peter Jackson has out done himself again.
The Lord of the Rings was great and The Hobbit will be too.

By Molly, 29 November 2012

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