Gatehouse builders relish the challenge
It is said that the key to success lies in surrounding yourself with the right people.
‘‘My job is making sure I’ve got all the right, talented people together,’’ said i- SITE Gatehouse project manager Brian Massey. ‘‘And I’ve got them.’’
With the official opening of the i-SITE Gatehouse just two weeks away it is a case of business as usual for i-SITE staff as the trades co-operate to ensure the project comes to fruition on schedule.
‘‘ It’s all going according to plan,’’ said Brian, who comes from a background as an arborist and saw miller, and whose introduction to the film industry came through supplying branches for sets.
‘‘We’ve got a great blend of local and outside specialists working here.’’
As greens master when the initial Hobbiton set was constructed in 1999, Brian was responsible for its landscaping and is sure Matamata had no idea what it was in for when the project began.
‘‘I’d go into various businesses to open accounts and, when I said I was from a film company called Three Foot Six, they would look sideways at me,’’ he said.
The Hobbit brought Brian, who has worked mainly in films for the past 10 years ‘‘with a bit of landscaping thrown in’’, back to Matamata.
Appointed art director in 2010, it is Brian’s responsibility to ensure that Hobbiton and other locations throughout the country accurately illustrate the concept.
Brian is thoroughly enjoying seeing the Gatehouse take shape, particularly as, unlike sets that are usually struck after filming, it will be a permanent part of the Matamata streetscape.
‘‘I’m really enjoying building something that won’t be pulled down later,’’ he said.
Matamata builder Darren Roa has had a long association with Hobbiton.
‘‘We’ve been working out there on and off for around 10 years,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s an exciting place to work and it’s been a big part of my professional life.’’
Darren has three decades’ experience in the building trade, establishing his own company 15 years ago.
Like many builders, new homes and alterations are often the norm for his team; understandably they are buzzing over the Gatehouse project.
‘‘My boys are loving said.
‘‘It’s just so different to how we normally build; we don’t usually get the opportunity to build things out of square or at odd angles.’’
Darren also values the opportunity to learn new skills – like how to ‘‘age’’ timber.
‘‘But I can’t tell you – secret,’’ he said.
Queenstown- based joiner Peter Hawke, more commonly known as Baldrick, is the man responsible for the Gatehouse’s quaint windows.
After responding to a ‘‘ we need a hand’’ call from set construction manager Brett Blinken, Peter has been working on The Hobbit for the past year and is enjoying every minute of being part of it.
He is also relishing his part in creating The Gatehouse.
‘‘I love it – it’s old-style joinery and nothing is stock or standard,’’ he said.