Spotlight on Wellington Airport
Up until 2003, Wellington Airport was your standard, run-of-the-mill airport, ferrying people into and out of New Zealand’s capital city. However, after the worldwide success of the Lord of the Rings movie franchise, people started to take a little more notice of New Zealand and so, Weta Workshop, the people behind much of the magic of Middle Earth, started to transform their local airport.
Gollum was the first to arrive in 2003. Peering over the roof of the terminal, he was installed to promote the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. However, he was removed and in 2012, a new Gollum was installed inside the terminal itself. Descending from the roof, the 19m long Gollum is suspended from the roof in the act of attempting to catch one of the three fishes, each of which is 4m long, also in attendance. The sculpture itself weights 1.2 tonnes and is made up of nine separate components which were then put together in the terminal itself.
Next up was Gandalf, who was installed in 2013, riding atop a great eagle with a second eagle nearby. This was a new challenge for Weta, with 2,000 feathers needing to be moulded and cast, to cover the eagles and their 15 metre wing span. Each eagle was created in multiple components which were then put together at the airport, and weigh just under a tonne. They are held in place by eight cables descended from the terminal ceiling.
Then Smaug arrived in 2014, to watch over passengers at check in from his lair amongst the rocks. At 75% of the size of the Smaug from the films, and 4.25m from nose to the back of the head, this is one big dragon. His eyes are created from a animatronic latex and polyurethane foam mechanism with a rear projection eyeball, which really makes his eyes look realistic, and look just as they did in the movies.
So, why not charter a private jet to Wellington Airport with Air Charter Service and enjoy a journey through Middle Earth.