Gate­house builders rel­ish the chal­lenge

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By SAN­DRA HUNTER

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.

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