Great report from Mr. Tadpole:
“Anyone in Wellington in the next week NEEDS to get down St James theatre on Courtney Place to see the LOTR props and costumes exhibit. If you’re not familiar with the St James, the display is up the staircase (not particuarly well posted).

It’s very cool (and free!). You can get face-to-face with: – Gimli’s axes – The big axes used to bar the door in Moria – A full set of Gondorian armour, shields, weapons and banners – A full set of high elven armour, shields and big curved swords – A 15-foot high Orthanc “miniature” ! Too cool! – A couple of sets of orc armour, banners and shields. The armour has a totally “scavenged” look – rusting, twisted, mismatched metal. – Big, nasty orc polearms. – A couple of sets of Uruk armour and shields – Uruk bows and weapons – very nasty, brutal looking things – All of the hobbits’ swords, including two versions of Sting (small and large, for perspective shots), and their scabbards. – Boromir’s very cool sword and scabbard, and his battle-scarred buckler. – Glamdring, and Narsil (reforged)! – Arwens very funky curved blade. Exquisite!

The detail is incredible, the swords are all very, very detailed with runes and designs. And eveything looks fully like it come out of a museum, scavenged out of some archeological site.

Sadly, there are many signs and security guards enforcing the “Strictly no photography” rule.

On the bright side, the exhibition is manned by Weta props makers and costumers – the very people who made some of these items, and they are very eager to answer questions. I overheard one of the Weta guys saying that for the Wellington premiere, more of the cast are actually attending than the newspapers have suggested, but it’s all hush-hush.

In conjunction with the props exhibit, they are displaying original artwork from Weta employees, which are going to be auctioned off for charity. Amongst the artwork is an Alan Lee charcoal sketch of old twisted trees – the reserve price is NZ$600.”