The suitably decorated exterior of the Embassy Theatre,
Wellington, the venue where thousands of fans from around
the country, including Queenstown, will flock for the red
carpet premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on
Wednesday night. Photo by Reel Collectibles.
Hobbit fans from Queenstown have flown to Wellington to
cultivate business contacts and be a part of history when
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
has its world premiere
Promotional groups in Queenstown and Middlemarch are also
preparing to capitalise by leveraging the locations which
doubled for Middle-earth.
Hugh Clark, owner of Queenstown movie memorabilia retailer
Reel Collectibles, and partner Sarah Dobson flew to
Wellington on Saturday, while Nomad Safaris owner-operators
David and Amanda Gatward-Ferguson, of Queenstown, arrived
They considered themselves on a working holiday as they
attend Hobbit functions, mingle with business and crew
contacts and enjoy Middle-earth themed events this week.
Mr Clark and Ms Dobson on Sunday met Weta co-founder and
co-director Richard Taylor, and Evangeline Lilly, the former
Lost star who plays the new elven character of
Both couples attended the charity premiere party held by fan
website TheOneRing.net last night.
A Hobbit inspired artisans' craft market today was on
their itineraries, before the couples attended the premiere
"We'll go along and see who we can see and just enjoy the
atmosphere," Mr Clark said.
"There's quite a buzz going on in Wellington already. Shops
have decorated like hobbit holes, all round Wellington
they've got banners flying and the airport has the Gollum
sculpture and even the baggage carousel turned into hobbit
Mr Gatward-Ferguson said yesterday they were back beside the
red carpet to see fellow fans dressed in costumes and to spot
the stars, as they did for The Return of the King
premiere almost 10 years ago.
They sourced new Hobbit merchandise to retail in
Queenstown and hoped to adapt their Lord of the Rings
4WD scenic tours to encompass The Hobbit locations,
once they studied An Unexpected Journey.
Paradise, near Queenstown, and Middlemarch, near Dunedin,
were used as locations for The Hobbit trilogy last
Destination Queenstown is promoting the film in the
short-term with a three-day celebration of all things Lord
of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as a
Rings video blog through its social media and online
Middlemarch Promotions Group chairwoman Lynnore Templeton
said yesterday while it was unlikely any residents would
attend the premiere, the group was talking about chartering a
coach to take residents to a screening of The Hobbit
"We have a number of plans [to capitalise on the film], but
we're waiting for approval for the terms we can use," Mrs
"I'd hope in the near future we'd have events planned around
the filming, but people can see our amazing landscapes for