A RA Fan on the Weta Cave Tour

I know you are not reading here to get updates on Guylty’s travels, but just to say that we have left the North Island and are now at the tip of the South Island, still enjoying fantastic weather and seeing the most amazing sights. I have splashed out on Wifi tonight, so I am taking the opportunity to write up the Wellington RA sightseeing I did. I’ll start off with the Weta Cave Tour.

Ok, can it get any more embarrassing than following the thin trail of some actor while you are on holiday? Rhetorical question because I know you will tell me that it is not embarrassing *at all* 😉. After the café exploration on Thursday I went in search of the sites that are connected to RA’s work in Wellington – or Wellywood, as it is occasionally and lovingly known. And as a Hobbit nerd – a rather new experience for me for which I entirely credit Mr A – I decided to splash out and go on the “There and back again”-tour – a tour to the Weta Cave. Not entirely cheap; it cost me NZD 65 (which is about €42), but hell, I am only in Wellington once in my life, I suspect, so I might as well treat myself to this. Luckily, the ETC decided that she is not interested in any Hobbit stuff at all. (In fact, ETC has told me in no uncertain terms that I can *shut up* about any Hobbit related stuff. She has not seen the film. She does not want to know. Um. Ok…) So that meant that I could go and quietly fangirl without being observed. *phew*

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Roxy Cinema, Miramar, as seen from the bus

I went on the 12 pm tour. Being the good German that I am, I was at the pick-up stop by the eye-sore i-site well in advance. You never know. A number of small busses were waiting there, but I couldn’t make out which one was mine. Eventually, a guy in a funky shirt and hat approached me. “Are you S___?” I nodded. “Great, I am taking you to the Weta Cave. There’s only 3 of you. Take a seat in the bus!” I took the opportunity to ask “Well, where is the best place to sit in the bus?” And he said – “Sit at the front. You can be my co-pilot.” And that’s what I did – I took the passenger seat which meant I had a panoramic view through which I could take picture (that turned out pretty crap nonetheless), and I was able to chat with the nice guide whose name was Sorren. He drove us from Wellington City Centre to Miramar, past the Roxy and Park Road Post Production to Weta Cave.

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Weta Cave Shop

At Weta Cave, a “Red Carpet Tours” group arrived at the same time, and the small shop was overcrowded with people. I took a few pics with my automatic. Then me and my two fellow tourists were brought in to see a short behind the scenes film about the history of Weta and their work. Some funny old pics of Richard Taylor/Tania Rodgers and lots of info. After the film we were met by a Weta staff member called Daisy who was going to give us a tour. Unfortunately there was strictly no photography, so I cannot show you what I saw. Suffice to say it was really interesting to look behind the scenes – we got to play with a few plastic guns and saw plenty of weapons and props from various films. Of course the most interesting bit was whenever Daisy talked about the Hobbit. For instance, she stopped beside a “life-size” sculpture of Thorin (which I had trouble taking my eyes off) and said something like “This is a life-size Thorin. Well, dwarf-size actually. Of course Richard Armitage is quite a tall man. Really tall, actually. He’s very nice. I got two kisses on the cheeks from him, so I had my moment with him. *sighs*” – I can tell you, ladies, you have no idea how hard it was for me *not* to immediately jump on Daisy and badger her with lots of Richardean questions. “Whydidhekissyou?Didhesmile?Didhesmellnice?Washeincostume?Isheaniceman?Whatdidyouthinkofhim?” I just nodded knowingly and smiled to myself *ggg*.

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Dwalin’s axes in the Weta shop

It got quite interesting when we were shown some of the costume that was made for LotR and TH. Weta developed a plastic version of chain mail that practically looks and sounds the same as real metal chain mail but is a fraction of the weight. But what was more interesting was a piece of arm prosthetic that the dwarves would have worn. We were allowed to try it on and I can tell you it was not only instantly sticky-sweaty (despite some sort of material lining inside) but *heavy*!!! My respect for the dwarf actors rose exponentially, I can tell you!!!

Anyway, the Weta tour was great – we got to look into the workshop, and I bought some nice little souvenirs in the shop. Recommended if you should ever find yourself in Wellington! The only drawback – as mentioned above – was the fact that no photography was allowed, so apart from the few bits in the shop I cannot give you any further insights. IMG_0379

Mind you, Pop Thorin enjoyed his trip back “home” and he posed in front of the Trolls that stand guard outside Weta Cave…

Thorin Troll Weta Cave

I explored Armitagean Wellington a bit further but I’ll write about that in a separate post. To be posted, soon.

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37 thoughts on “A RA Fan on the Weta Cave Tour

    • It’s truly great over here – well, holidays always are. But it helps that we are having fabulous weather. And NZ is easily the most beautiful country I have ever been to (sorry Ireland!). Plus, the kiwis are really friendly. It all fits…

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  1. Du bist so eine extrem kontrollierte Person: ich hätte Daisy angesprungen, das sach ich dir mal bloß!!!! Mädel, das wärs gewesen. Die Topinfo schlechthin und das Beste dabei, keine Sau kennt dich dort. Oh wir müssen noch stark an der Senkung deiner Hemmschwelle arbeiten 🙂
    Hier ist auch Hobbit-WE. Habe endlich die Extended-Version und schaue schon stundenlang die Extras.

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    • Ich mach das eher auf die dezente Tour, mit dem Eruieren der Topinfo *ggg*. Und bei der Tour waren ja noch einige andere Herrschaften dabei. Wenn das jetzt nur ich und die beiden koreanischen Aucklander gewesen wären, dann hätte ich mich da auch noch etwas mehr aus dem Fenster gelehnt und die Infoquelle schamlos angezapft, aber so hab ich mich dann zurückgehalten. Aber du kannst im Mai ja dann noch mal ein bisschen auf mich einwirken, damit es beim nächsten Set-Besuch an der irischen Westküste (…) besser klappt 😉
      Oh, EE? Welche jetzt? Die von BOTFA? Ich hab ja noch nicht mal die DOS EE gekauft. (Und nach diesem Urlaub werde ich mir wohl auch bis ins fünfte Quartal Zweitausenddrölf auch nichts mehr kaufen können *ggg*)

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      • Die EE extended Version mit gefühlten 10 Std. Anhängen und kommentierter Version des Regisseur. War echt die komplette Dröhnung am WE. Habe auf diese Weise Fasching begangen 🙂
        Ich bringe sie dann mal mit.
        Und das mit der Senkung der Hemmschwelle sollten wir in einem dynamischen Gruppenprozess im Mai angehen. Ach ja, ich wurde kürzlich gefragt , ob ich mich wieder mit meinen “Themen-Ladies” getroffen hätte. Netter Begriff, oder ?

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        • Geil, die Themen-Ladies. Jou, das nehmen wir so mit (obwohl das ja so einen leichten Beigeschmack von Fetisch-Szene hat, finde ich… aber naja, in unserem Alter nimmt man ja sogar das schon wieder als Kompliment hin…)
          Und ja, bitte mitbringen, denn ich nehme an, wir werden uns ja kaum was zu sagen haben. Da können wir gut überbrücken. Am besten, Susi packt noch die DOS EE ein. Ich habe die AUJ EE vorliegen. Dann wären ja eigentlich schon mal 24 Stunden abgedeckt, oder?

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          • Hach, ich falle doch immer über diese verflixten Abkürzungen: ich habe die AUJ extended (doofe Merry!) und was ist die EE eigentlich die ich da angegeben habe????? *vorshirnklopf*
            Ich bin sehr froh, dass wir die Schweigeminuten damit gut überbrücken können. Hatte mich schon auf stundenlanges peinliches Anschweigen eingestellt 😀
            Findest du, dass Themen-Ladies den Ruch von Fetisch haben? Interesant, da ich nicht weiß, ob mein Bruder das vielleicht im Hinterkopf hatte und ich einfach nur die Wortschöpfung für mich gut und passend fand. Manchmal sind die eingezogenen 2. Böden garnicht so leicht auszumachen.

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    • You know, that was what I was thinking. She was a member of the crew, and I doubt she was majorly important, but still he was nice to her. Leaves a good impression. Both of her (and she was really nice and funny – and pretty, btw) and of him.

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  2. oh it sounds very exciting and your ETC really doesn’t know what she is missing! I imagine the workshop tour to be absolutely fascinating! All those details and being able to see the props and costume and weapons up close and actually touch them! Those replicas looks amazing and those axes huge..

    As to Daisy and her kissy souvenirs…. sigh… ok, a bit of envy too 😉 I wouldn’t have been able to restrain myself from some further questioning or at least fangirl commenting 🙂 You’ve got some control girl!
    Happy travels 🙂

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    • Well, I suppose I may also have some problems admitting to my fangirl interests 😉 But yes, it was great to see it all, and to speak with some of the people who meticulously produce all those props. What I found very interesting was that according to the guide, the majority of people who work at Weta have no third level qualifications. She said, if you are interested and willing to work, you’ll be given a chance in Weta. You may have to assemble chain mail for 10 months (like she did), but you are made a member of the team. Sounds good to me…

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  3. You showed great restraint. All your questions re: the kiss, went through my mind with the speed of light, including what did his lips feel like? Sounds like a fun tour. Glad you are having such a great time.

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    • Hehe, yeah, those were the really interesting bits and questions… Looks like I have to return to Welly and do it all again?
      Having a fantastic time. It’s raining for the first time tonight. Let’s hope this is just the (much needed) bit of rain and it will be back to sunshine tomorrow…

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      • LOL – to tell you the truth, I think they could make shedloads of money with a dedicated RA-in-Welly Tour. Ok, maybe not past his rented accomodation, but to Maranui, Weta, Te Papa and Mighty Mighty. Throw in a few stops at other places that the man *must* have passed through, and you can fill an hour and a half. 45 NZD – a goldmine…
        Maybe I should set it up myself? Anything to make a life in NZ 😉

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    • If there had been less people on the tour, I probably would have given away that I am a fan. This way, I just soaked it all up and left the questions unsaid. Maybe it is better not to know, anyway. Just imagine if she gave us answers that we didn’t want to hear 😉

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  4. Whaddayamean not here for your travels? course I’m here for your travels, how can I live vicariously through you if I don’t know where you are? ;o)
    Thanks for the tour of Weta, glad you’re having a great time. xx

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  5. Wadda ya mean you needed a smaller group to come out as a fangirl? Any fewer than three, and you would have been on a private tour. Why the shyness? You/we may know this woman already! Were you wearing a badge? Were you sporting any outward display, however discrete, of Armitagemania? Come on, girl. You’re in New Zealand where they love him! Get on it!!!

    Seriously, though. Ignore my chastising and please do continue to splash out on internet access, because I am LOVING your posts and LOVING following along vicariously on your happy holiday.

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    • You know what, Besotted – you are absolutely right. I should’ve been up front… She certainly sounded like a fan herself *ggg* – her little sigh after recollecting the Armitage double-cheek-kiss was a give-away 😉
      As for outward signs of Armitagemania – I am wearing my deRAnged badge on the strap of my camera bag, so that was visible. I also have a Hobbit badge and a Thorin badge on my fleece, so I *could* easily be identified by those in the know 😉
      Glad you are enjoying my posts. There are a couple more on Thorin already scheduled. And I think there will be more Hobbit related stuff to come, too, as we are passing by plenty of Hobbit locations.

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  6. I own that key to Erebor! And the key to the elven dungeons and about $50 worth of dwarven coins… I’m a sucker for treasure…
    I love reading about your outsider’s perspective of my country! Especially from another Armitage fan. you wouldn’t believe how much I kicked myself for not discovering him before they started filming….

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