Hob­bit fol­low­ers’ dreams come true

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By MILLY KEYS and ABBY BROWN

There were tears, gasps of breath, and even a nose­bleed for some as The Hob­bit’s big­gest fans fi­nally ar­rived at their Waikato promised land.

Liz Gar­cia, of Mex­ico, was one of the fans who burst into tears as they stepped from a tour bus and into the Shire at the Hob­biton movie site.

‘‘It’s a dream come true,’’ Gar­cia said. ‘‘I can’t be­lieve that I can see it all.’’

One fan had a nose bleed but it was un­clear if this was re­lated to the strong emo­tions among the group.

Hob­bit fans hit Mata­mata on Mon­day as part of a week long tour, first check­ing out the town’s fa­mous Gate­house i- Site be­fore head­ing to Hob­biton.

The ac­tors who played the dwarfs in the lat­est Hob­bit film, John Callum, Stephen Hunter, Jed Bro­phy and Mark Had­law, de­lighted the in­ter­na­tional me­dia with a press con­fer­ence where they said they are not nor­mally recog­nised in New Zealand, as they are not ac­tu­ally dwarfs. Fans were sur­prised to see the ac­tors mix and min­gle with them.

The group, known as The Hob­bit Fan Fel­low­ship, con­sisted of a group of 75 diehard Tolkien fans, with a friend each in tow, from all over the world who were se­lected after com­plet­ing an on­line com­pe­ti­tion. The chal­lenges in­cluded de­sign­ing a post­card to send to Sir Peter Jack­son, a quiz about the mak­ing of the movies in New Zealand and a two minute video that had to have their favourite Mid­dle Earth mem­ory and why they are the big­gest Hob­bit fan.

‘‘We had about one month to com­plete the tasks. I started at the end of Au­gust and got the call early Oc­to­ber that I had got in,’’ English fan Kyle Ped­ley said.

The tour group were this week vis­it­ing lo­ca­tions in Ro­torua, Mata­mata and Queen­stown be­fore end­ing in Wellington to­mor­row, where they will be the first peo­ple in the world to see the screen­ing of the fi­nal in the Hob­bit tril­ogy, The Hob­bit: The Bat­tle of the Five Armies.

Not only will they be the first, they will also get to en­joy the screen­ing with none other than Sir Peter Jack­son him­self at his pro­duc­tion stu­dio, Park Road Post in Wellington.

‘‘To watch the film with Sir Peter Jack­son him­self is def­i­nitely a high­light of the tour,’’ English Hob­bit fan Robert Danger­field said.

There won’t be any spoiler alerts for the rest of the world, as the group is sworn to se­crecy, and have signed a dis­claimer. The Hob­bit Fan Fel­low­ship were di­vided into four groups, the ‘‘Hob­bits’’ from Amer­ica, the ‘‘ Elves’’ from Asia, the ‘‘Dwarfs’’ from Europe and the ‘‘Wizards’’ who are from Aus­trala­sia and the rest of the world.

Photo: MILLY KEYS

HOB­BIT EX­PE­RI­ENCE: The 150-strong Hob­bit Fan Fel­low­ship group out­side Mata­mata’s fa­mous Gate­house i-Site be­fore head­ing to Hob­biton.

DWARF STARS: The ac­tors who played the dwarfs in the lat­est Hob­bit film, from left John Callum, Stephen Hunter, Jed Bro­phy and Mark Had­law, say they are not nor­mally recog­nised in New Zealand.

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