New Zealand Travel Blog: Part 5
The humongous and spectacular 1250-acre farmland outside Matamata is where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies’ filming took place. Producers discovered the Alexander farm in 1998 and set construction started in 1999.
To create 39 Hobbit Holes, materials such as timber, ply, and polystyrene were used. I was astonished when our tour guide told us that the oak tree that overlooks Bag End is actually an artificial tree. To make this happen, an oak tree was brought in from Matamata and artificial leaves from Taiwan were individually wired onto the tree.
Later on, the tree was rebuilt for the Hobbit Trilogy in 2009. The whole structure of the tree was artificial this time, made of steel and silicon. You can’t even tell the tree is not real if no one tells you.
The Mill and the double arch bridge were made using scaffolding, ply, and polystyrene. Rushes were cut to make the thatch for the roofs of the Green Dragon Inn and The Mill.
The whole movie set structures were made to become permanent and only require maintenance to keep them nice. It took 2 years to finish the full project.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy took 3 months to film starting December 1999. The Hobbit Trilogy took only 12 days starting October 2011. There were 400 people on site at its peak.
There are lots of frogs in the ponds. During filming, the frogs were so noisy that Peter Jackson instructed employees to catch and move them to the next farm. Somehow they kept coming back, so they had to be moved again and again. After filming was completed, all of them were brought back.