Tolkien’s lat­est un­ex­pected jour­ney

Nelson Mail - - NEWS - TIM O’CONNELL

Res­i­dents of Nel­son’s Ernest Ruther­ford Re­tire­ment Vil­lage were treated to the magic of Tolkien on Sun­day, al­beit from a kind-hearted rel­a­tive.

Bri­tish ac­tor Royd Tolkien and a film crew were in Nel­son this week to film part of a doc­u­men­tary that has brought him to Mid­dle Earth for an epic jour­ney be­fit­ting his sur­name.

There’s a Hole in My Bucket fol­lows Tolkien, great-grand­son of Lord of the Rings au­thor JRR Tolkien, on a quest to ful­fil his late brother Mike’s bucket list in both New Zealand and South Amer­ica.

After Mike was di­ag­nosed with mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease (ALS), Royd nursed his younger sib­ling through his fi­nal years un­til his death in 2015.

Tolkien then dis­cov­ered that Mike had left him his bucket list to ful­fil on his be­half - which has sub­se­quently be­came the fo­cus of the doc­u­men­tary. Ev­ery day Tolkien gets set a new chal­lenge in a dif­fer­ent part of NZ, un­aware of what the new day will present.

Of the 50 chal­lenges set, more than 40 will be car­ried out in New Zealand.

The crew had spent the past six weeks in the North Is­land where Tolkien had, among other chal­lenges, ex­plored the cav­erns of Wait­omo Caves and cooked white­bait frit­ters with chef Peter Gor­don.

While in Nel­son, the crew were spend­ing time on a chal­lenge around the Motueka Val­ley be­fore head­ing south later in the week.

In line with his brother’s wishes, Tolkien was also car­ry­ing out ran­dom acts of kind­ness along the way, which had led him to Ernest Ruther­ford on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Tolkien said the pur­pose of the visit and other ran­dom acts was ‘‘just to be more aware of other peo­ple and to be more open to help and giv­ing some­thing back.’’

‘‘I thought it would be re­ally nice to come and hang out for the day and do what­ever I can to help – serv­ing tea or just chat­ting.’’

Ernest Ruther­ford’s sales ad­vi­sor Deb­bie Ed­wards said staff were ‘‘blown away’’ by the gen­eros­ity shown by Tolkien dur­ing his Sun­day af­ter­noon visit.

‘‘They weren’t film­ing at all – they just wanted to give back, but hon­estly I wouldn’t have a more car­ing, com­pas­sion­ate gen­uine self­less per­son in my life – he was just amaz­ing.’’

As well as spend­ing time play­ing board game rum­mykub with res­i­dents, Tolkien spent more than two hours with res­i­dent Alan Har­wood who, like his brother, suf­fered from a con­di­tion which lim­ited his abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate.

‘‘It was ob­vi­ously a big thing for Royd, be­cause that’s what it was like when he was car­ing for his brother ... it was very mov­ing and very touch­ing,’’ Ed­wards said.

‘‘Alan is a great man in our Nel­son com­mu­nity for dif­fer­ent things, so it was re­ally awe­some to see Royd en­gag­ing with Alan in such a true, gen­uinely com­pas­sion­ate mode.’’

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