Right Hob­biton wel­come

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Af­ter 13 years of at­tract­ing tourists to their movie set, Hob­biton has reached the mil­lionth vis­i­tor mile­stone.

Die-hard fan Don McCor­mack, from South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, was wel­comed to Hob­biton re­cently and show­ered with gifts by the set’s gen­eral manager Rus­sell Alexander. McCor­mack was given an ex­act replica of the Trilo­gies’ em­blem­atic ‘‘ The One Ring,’’ made in Nel­son, along with a bot­tle of the Green Dragon’s finest ale. ‘‘It was re­ally un­ex­pected,’’ McCor­mack said. ‘‘ We were com­ing just to en­joy the set, and we are ex­cited about be­ing the one mil­lionth vis­i­tor. We’re die-hard fans; when the lat­est movie came out we had to wait in line to get tick­ets to go see it.’’

McCor­mack and his wife Jen­nifer have been en­joy­ing a trip around the North Is­land of New Zealand, and said Hob­biton was ‘‘un­be­liev­ably beau­ti­ful’’.

‘‘I can’t be­lieve how much de­tail there is, it’s un­be­liev­able. I’m amazed that ev­ery­thing around it is all real.

‘‘ This lit­tle piece of Mid­dleearth is amaz­ing, and I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to see­ing the rest of it.’’

In­ter­na­tional

vis­i­tor

ar­rivals data for year end­ing Fe­bru­ary 2015 show hol­i­day ar­rivals into New Zealand are up 7.8 per cent year on year.

For the pe­riod Jan­uary to De­cem­ber 2014, just over 100,000 in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors said that The Hob­bit Tril­ogy was a fac­tor in in­flu­enc­ing their ini­tial in­ter­est in New Zealand.

The site for the Hob­bit movies was found by a lo­ca­tion scout in 1998.

The first tours of the movie set started in De­cem­ber 2002. The set was then re­built out of per­ma­nent ma­te­ri­als from 2009 to 2011 for The Hob­bit Tril­ogy.

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