This item was on the main evening news. Many thanks for our contact in Wellington who kindly transcribed what she saw, first on Channel Three news and later on Channel One.

TV Channel Three News:

REPORTER A stand of old pines on Mount Victoria becomes the magical realm of Middle Earth. Just a fraction of the 500 people involved in the mammoth production are working on two sets around Wellington over the next month.

TIM SANDERS Producer “We have got a large crew here and we have been building up a long time and the day has finally arrived and there is a lot of excitement.”

REPORTER There is also a lot of secrecy surrounding the production. Producers don’t want to spoil the movie for the multitude of Tolkien fans by exposing too much during production.

TIM ‘Our project is going to have meaning for a lot of people. We also have to take it very seriously because we have an obligation to get it as authentic to the original work as possible.”

REPORTER Information about the production has already been leaked on the hundreds of LOTR internet sites. Some of the casting predictions were confirmed last week. The lineup includes Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett. But there is no easy way of finding out whether any of the big names are down under the macrocarpas. (macrocarpas are a big coniferous tree and a familiar feature of Wellington’s Mt. Victoria – Tehanu)

TIM “On any given day we may have one of the bigger name actors or we may not, but I can’t disclose which sort of day it is.”

REPORTER Next month, cast and crew will go to the South Island for shooting. The three titles will be shot concurrently in one of the biggest movie ventures ever.


ANNOUNCER -“…..swung into action today shooting the first scenes of LOTR.


reporter One of the bit players in the $360m production filming today deep in Wellington’s woods, our cameras not getting close but the odd jogger did.

JOGGER They told me to keep off actually – it’s all a bit mysterious, all very very mysterious.

reporter Did they say what they were filming?

JOGGER No they didn’t no, it’s top secret

REPORTER Very hush hush.

REPORTER TO TIM SANDERS producer Are some of the hobbits being filmed today?

TIM I can’t comment on who is being shot today, no.

REPORTER It is all for a very short opening scene as hobbits journey through woodland of Middle Earth, the mythical kingdom of Tolkien’s epic trilogy. He then reads “The hobbits scrambled down a steep green bank and plunged into the thick trees below.Their course had been chosen to leave Woodhall to their left, and to cut slanting through the woods that clustered along the eastern side of the hill, until they reached the flats beyond. Then they could make straight for the Ferry over country that was open, except for a few dithces and fences. Frodo reckoned they had eighteen miles to go in a straight line. He soon found that the thicket was closer and more tangled than it had appeared.”

(Recognise this? It’s the Hobbits, still in the Shire, the day after meeting Gildor. Remember though, this is just the TV reporters making a bit of a scene up out of not much evidence – Tehanu)

REPORTER Peter Jackson didn’t have to go very far to find a setting that matched these passages. He is filming in the green belt below me, just a stone’s throw from the city. America’s Elijah Wood is the first star in action today; he is the hobbit Frodo in all three movies – the first time three are being filmed at one time. Filming will take eighteen months and involve 3,000 extras, 400 film crew, even 250 horses

in locations around the country.

TIM Anyone who has travelled here would know that the geography matches the novel really well, from the rolling shire countryside, if you read at the beginning of the book, all the way to the mountains and even the volcanoes in the central plateau.

REPORTER Filming moves to central Otago next month.