In the Middle of Middle Earth

Middle of Middle Earth JRR Tolkien Wellington New Zealand Lord of the Rings Hobbit
Wellington NZ = Middle of Middle Earth

When it comes to movie making in New Zealand, Wellington is ground zero. The capital is the home base of Peter Jackson, Weta and many other production houses; and when it comes to the tales from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Wellington truly is smack bang in the middle of it! The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies were put together here and the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey were held at the very regal Embassy Theatre in the city (opened in 1924, the theatre underwent a major refurbishment for the world premiere of Return of the King in 2003).

Embassy Theatre Wellington NZ
Embassy Theatre
Embassy Theatre Wellington NZ Hobbit Premiere Gandalf
The world premiere for The Hobbit was held at the Embassy Theatre in November 2012

I went and saw The Hobbit at the Embassy on a recent visit to Wellington (I had already seen it before in Australia but couldn’t miss an opportunity to see it in NZ). It was a fantastic theatre and the screening was excellent as I got to see it in the new 48 fps High Frame Rate (HFR) 3D with crisp clean images and amazing colour (it shows twice as many frames per second as normal film and unlike early complaints from some movie goers when it first came out, I did not black out or vomit! In fact I found it far easier to watch than normal 3D and my eyes did not feel anywhere near as tired as they normally do after watching a 3D movie.Go technology!).

Inside the Embassy Theatre Wellington New Zealand
Inside the Embassy Theatre (source:

Wellington is also where you can visit the Weta Cave, a mini-museum about the movies made or worked on by Weta and it’s co-founders Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger and Jamie Selkirk (it is located at their movie studios in Miramar and is free to visit). There are lots of items on display from their movies including props and statues to various collectibles that you can buy.

Weta Cave Wellington Miramar NZ
Weta Cave
Weta Studios Miramar Wellington NZ Peter Jackson
Weta Studios
Gollum Weta Cave
Gandalf Weta Cave Wellington NZ
Gandalf Weta Cave NZ
Gandalf up close
Uruk-hai Orc Weta Cave Lord of the Rings
Gollum collectible statue Weta Cave NZ
Gollum collectible statue
Hobbit Feet Weta Cave Wellington NZ
The Hobbit
Hobbit Feet Weta Cave
Hobbit Feet
The Lord of the Rings helmets Weta Cave NZ
The Lord of the Rings helmets

Since my last visit to Weta in 2009 they have added a 30-40 minute “Window into Workshop” tour that gives a behind the scenes tour and a glimpse into the Weta Workshop to see more movie and TV show props such as weapons and learn how they are made, along with public art displays and so on (you are guided by a Weta staff member who works on the creation of  movie props and you can see others actually making things during the tour). This was really cool and well worth the NZ $20 and I got to see some animatronic were-sheep heads from Black Sheep! Alas no photos are allowed on the tour as everything you see is owned by various movie companies, but trust me you wont mind as it is fantastic to get that insider look at how all that movie magic comes to life!

Window Into Workshop tour Weta Cave Mirimar Wellington NZ
“Window Into Workshop” tour entrance

Currently dotted around the city are numerous posters and public art displays associated with the release of The Hobbit. The best ones are the three Trolls – William, Tom and Bert at the Te Papa Museum; and the massive Gollum at the Wellington Airport.

Bilbo Baggins The Hobbit NZ
Bilbo Baggins
Commemorative Hobbit Stamps New Zealand
Commemorative Hobbit Stamps
Trolls Hobbit William Bert Tom Te Papa Museum Wellington NZ
William, Bert & Tom the Trolls
Hobbit Trolls Te Papa Museum Wellington NZ
Watch out…Trolls about!
Gollum statue Wellington Airport NZ
Gollum at the airport

Seeing the Gollum installation at the airport was a great way to end my trip to Wellington. I was suitably impressed!

Gollum The Hobbit Lord of the Rings Wellington Airport
The level of detail is impressive
Fishing with Gollum Wellington Airport NZ
Fishing with Gollum
Gollum Hobbit Wellington Airport New Zealand
Gollum stretches out over the waiting passengers!
Gollum Art Installation Wellington Airport
This is a really amazing art installation!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Deano says:

    Reblogged this on Deano In America and commented:

    If you like J.R.R. Tolkien and his tales from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings you are going to love this 🙂

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