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Sir Peter's assistant at Wingnut Films, Matt Dravitzki, told the Otago Daily Times yesterday location scouting for the $660 million two-motion-picture adaptations of The Hobbit was under way in both the North and South Islands.
"Locations will be selected ahead of the commencement of principal photography in February 2011," Mr Dravitzki said in a statement.
"Further details will be available once we're under way... It goes without saying that we're all very excited that the unique New Zealand landscape will feature as Middle-earth once again."
Mr Dravitzki said Sir Peter and the team would not be giving interviews on the trip.
"The team have a gruelling location scouting schedule over the next couple of days."
A Wellington registered Gulfstream GV-SP aircraft, believed to have flown the film-makers to the South Island, has been parked at Queenstown Airport since Monday.
A Queenstown film-making insider said, on condition of anonymity: "It's no secret that Peter has being doing [reconnaissance] in the area, but how much is going to be shot on location remains to be seen."