Doc ranger praised for 'Hobbit' support

Department of Conservation Wakatipu area community relations ranger Anna Humphries has been...
Department of Conservation Wakatipu area community relations ranger Anna Humphries has been hailed "a star" this week by Film New Zealand for facilitating the location shooting of The Hobbitin the Queenstown area. Photo by Michael O'Neill

A Department of Conservation Wakatipu area ranger, the Glenorchy Volunteer Fire Brigade and Naseby have been praised by Film New Zealand for their critical support of The Hobbit.

Ranger Anna Humphries, of Queenstown, features in a nationwide Film NZ advertising campaign highlighting the crucial role skilled New Zealanders working outside the screen industry played in the production of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the success of the New Zealand screen industry.

The Glenorchy brigade and the entire population of Naseby were also highlighted in the campaign.

Film NZ chief executive Gisella Carr said if there was an award for "Best Supporting Country" New Zealand would win "hands down".

"It took more than cast, crew and producers to make The Hobbit trilogy happen," she said.

"It took a huge supporting role from everyday New Zealanders like Anna who did their jobs with enthusiasm and great skill."

Supervising location manager Jared Connon, who worked with Mrs Humphries on The Hobbit, was full of praise for the "brilliant job she did safeguarding the environment while allowing film-makers access to the beautiful New Zealand wilderness".

Mrs Humphries said yesterday she was "slightly embarrassed", but "very flattered" by the campaign spotlight and it was "nice to be recognised".

She was approached by Film NZ and sworn to secrecy a week ago. Now, with the campaign launched, her department colleagues were teasing her and asking for her autograph, while friends and family in the United Kingdom were thrilled.

Mrs Humphries said the production team "managed our concerns very well" during their shoot in Paradise near Glenorchy one year ago. The concerns were about the large number of people working in a remote location and the noise from camera helicopters.

"You never quite know what you'll be asked to consider next, but they're very professional.

"They understand our conditions and will go that extra mile to meet them."

The ranger processes about 80 permits for domestic and international film projects each year, helping film-makers get the footage they need without damaging the environment, or affecting the rights of other people using the area.

She said there was always a steady flow of Wakatipu film permit applications to consider.

• The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey first screens in Reading Cinemas Queenstown on Tuesday night, 12.01am, December 12.

The film screens in Dorothy Brown's Cinema, Arrowtown, from December 13.


Domestic spending resulting from filming of The Hobbit.

 - 99 sets were built.
 - 6750 domestic flights were taken.
 - 19 commercial properties were leased long term.
 - 93,000 hotel bed nights were sold.
 - 1800 rental cars were hired.
 - 1650 work vehicles were used.
 - $380,000 was spent on coffee.
 - $9,180,000 was spent on set construction materials (with community suppliers).
 - About 16,000 days were worked by New Zealand actors.
 - $1,450,000 was spent with community food suppliers.

*Source: Film New Zealand

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