Hob­bit fans ‘home’

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By NI­COLA STE­WART

An un­ex­pected jour­ney to the Green Dragon Inn topped off an ex­clu­sive fans tour of Hob­biton Movie Set on Satur­day.

About 100 tourists from the United King­dom, Canada, the United States, Ire­land and Aus­tralia were among the first to see the pub up close.

The fans are here on a two-week ded­i­cated The Hob­bit pre­miere tour and will line the red car­pet at the world pre­miere in Welling­ton to­day.

The Ring sis­ters – their sur­name a fit­ting co­in­ci­dence – Brenna, Bar­bara and Kathy, came from San Diego to be a part of ‘‘Tolkien his­tory’’.

‘‘We put the de­posit down two years ago when we first heard Peter Jack­son was go­ing to make the films,’’ Brenna said.

‘‘This is Hob­biton – this is home for us.’’

Many of the fans took on Hob­bit at­tire for their visit and tears were shed as they caught their first glimpses of the Shire.

Six 20-some­things from Mel­bourne have been sav­ing for the past two years to make the trip to Mid­dle Earth.

‘‘Our whole year has been lead­ing up to this,’’ 24-year-old fan Zac Men­nen said.

Men­nen first read The Hob­bit at age 7 and has been wait­ing for the movie adap­ta­tion since film- ing started on The Lord of Rings tril­ogy.

‘‘I al­ways knew it was go­ing to hap­pen and then when Peter Jack­son came on to di­rect I knew it was in good hands,’’ he said.

‘‘ The Hob­bit is one of the first

the nov­els I ever re­mem­ber read­ing as a kid so [vis­it­ing Hob­biton] is mas­sive for me.’’

On Mon­day, the fans at­tended a pre-pre­miere party in Welling­ton, where Sir Peter Jack­son made a sur­prise ap­pear­ance.

Fol­low­ing the pre­mier, the tour group will spend eight days vis­it­ing The Lord of the Rings and The Hob­bit film­ing lo­ca­tions, end­ing up in Queen­stown.

Oz to Hob­biton: The Hob­bit fans Char­lie Al­lan and Brett Butt, of Mel­bourne, are on a 14-day pre­miere tour.

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