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Take a tour through Wellington’s filmmaking scene and explore the locations where the magic of the movies has been brought to life.
As soon as you land at Wellington Airport you know you've reached the home of Sir Peter Jackson's movie-making empire. Greeting you in the arrivals hall are three massive Middle-earth giants - Gandalf and the eagles, Gollum and his fishes, and Smaug the dragon. These epic installations were created by the talented craftsman of Oscar-winning Weta Workshop and are a lasting reminder of the impact The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies have had on Wellington.
Visit the Thunderbirds Are Go shooting stage in Miramar and discover the genuine Weta Workshop props, models and miniatures behind the modern-day remake of this popular TV series. Take a tour guided by experienced Weta Workshop crew. Nobody knows these miniatures like they do!
The Weta Cave is the shop front of the multiple Oscar-winning Weta Workshop, the brainchild of Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor. Visitors can view a selection of props, buy collectibles and watch an exclusive behind-the-scenes film about the Workshop, which was propelled to fame after producing sets, costumes, armour, weapons and creatures for The Lord of the Rings. You can also take a tour of Weta Workshop, to see where the magic of the movies comes to life.
This beautiful art deco cinema was brought back to life by a collective of Wellington's Oscar-winning moviemakers and hospitality stars, including Weta Workshop's Sir Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger, Jamie and Ann Selkirk, Valentina Dias and Jonny McKenzie. As well as two state-of-the-art theatres, Roxy Cinema is home to Coco at the Roxy, a stylish restaurant and bar. A number of the cinema's fittings and hero artworks were created by Weta Workshop artists.
Developed by Sir Peter Jackson for filmmakers, Park Road Post prides itself on the highest standard of technical infrastructure. Built in 2005, the facility’s select filmography includes Jackson’s The Hobbit Trilogy, The Lovely Bones and The Lord of the Rings trilogy; Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin; and popular New Zealand films Boy and Two Little Boys. Park Road Post Production is not open to the public.
This historic theatre built in 1926 was restored to host The Lord of the Rings premieres, including the world premiere of The Return of the King in December 2003 and also hosted the world premier of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 2012. As well as these, The Embassy has held the New Zealand premieres for Sir Peter Jackson's King Kong in 2005 and The Lovely Bones in 2009.
A patch of bush on the ridge between Massey Memorial and Mount Crawford Prison in the Miramar Peninsula was transformed into a gutted citadel for The Hobbit Trilogy filming. This same spot was also used in the filming of King Kong and Kingdom Come.
Academy® Award-winning Weta Workshop was commissioned to create this sculpture celebrating Wellington's film and television industry in 2005. Comprising a film camera and tripod that appear to be composed from a collection of recycled goods, Tripod pays tribute to the New Zealand screen industry's ‘number 8 wire' attitude. The Tripod is located on Courtenay Place, opposite the Embassy Theatre.
Mount Victoria Lookout is one of the city’s most popular visitor sites, offering panoramic views across the city. The capital's green belt was the site of some of the very first footage for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. "We found a really good, spooky-looking road for the scene where the four hobbits run and hide under the tree roots as the Black Rider approaches," Sir Peter Jackson says of the site on Mount Victoria, which was used in the famous 'Get off the road' scene.
A cliff face by this popular surf beach along Wellington’s rugged South Coast was used for Dunharrow in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) learned to surf here, with Mortensen famously having to be shot as a right-to-left profile for some scenes after a run in with his surfboard. Filming for King Kong’s Skull Island also took place here.
The film community make their mark on Wellington not just through movies, but also through their art. Izzat Design – whose artists created props for films such as Avatar, The Lord of the Rings and King Kong – have contributed to a range of exhibitions at Te Papa, including recreating seven extinct birds of New Zealand for the Blood, Earth, Fire exhibition.
To help create the sound of 10,000 chanting Uruk-hai orcs during the Battle of Helm's Deep for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, director Sir Peter Jackson recorded 30,000 cricket fans chanting in the Black Speech during the lunch break of a Blackcaps match at the popular Westpac Stadium in 2002.
Downtown Wellington was used in the filming of the Indian remake of The Italian Job, Players, in 2011. India’s top Bollywood film makers used the area around Frank Kitts Lagoon for the legendary car chase scenes; filming also took place on the City to Sea Bridge that connects Civic Square to the waterfront.