Channeling an undercurrent of energy

"Wellington is a special place" — Sir Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger, Wētā Workshop

"The Embassy theatre. That’s the place! That’s where all things converged really, after all those years working on Lord of the Rings.

On the day of the premiere, they laid a red carpet, and the moment we walked along it, it was like the thrill of being in Hollywood. But it was our wonderful city of Wellington.

It took two hours to walk from Pigeon Park to the Embassy Theatre such was the number of amazingly supportive locals we met along the way. It was surreal and dream-like. People sitting on verandas, window ledges, and roofs of buildings. 

Having worked so hard for so many years, it was a huge moment for us. Standing there, in front of the Embassy, knowing we were about to see the movie and celebrating with our city and community. Amazing.

That was somewhat of a turning point in our careers. It was the moment we went from being a New Zealand business to a global one. It’s where a lot of things came together. It wasn’t just Wellington - all the people of New Zealand seemed as if they were right there with us. A movie made by 4.5 million people.

We reckon it couldn’t have happened anywhere else in the world. Wellington is a special place. It’s hard to put into words. We’re a slice of land trapped between a tumultuous sky and a choppy sea. We live on a fault line. We live for the day, and this synthesises down to an undercurrent of energy that exists in the people who live here.

The people of Wellington allow that to bubble to the surface."

Making cool stuff since 1987

Concept design, manufacturing facility, and tourism operator, Wētā Workshop combines cutting-edge technology with hand-crafted artistry to create Oscar-winning props, costumes, and creature effects. Wētā Workshop also creates video games, design and make high-end collectibles, and design and build location-based experiences (LBE) all over the world.

From humble beginnings in the back room of their Wellington flat, Richard and Tania have built Wētā Workshop into what it is today.



Only in Wellington

Wellington is full of stories about little moments, in ordinary places that have led to extraordinary successes. Discover some of these stories, and the people behind them.

Read more stories