9 February, 2011, Wellington – Sir Peter Jackson’s Wingnut Films Productions Limited and Rings Scenic Tours Limited are pleased to announce that they have entered into a joint venture arrangement to allow movie fans to visit the newly reconstructed film set which is located near Matamata. The new venture will be known as Shire Tours. The companies have been working towards this agreement for some time, and the joint venture came into effect on January 24th, 2011.

The set, originally designed by the Art Department of THE LORD OF THE RINGS films, has recently been rebuilt at the original location on the Alexander Farm on Buckland Road, Matamata. It will be used again for the filming of the two films based on THE HOBBIT late in 2011, during which time the location will be closed to the public.

Since the first tour in 2002, an estimated 200,000 visitors have been to visit the location. The site also has The Shires Rest Cafe and Function Centre, which was opened in December 2004 by former Prime Minister, Helen Clark.

Sir Peter Jackson said, “We are really excited to be able to offer fans of the films the chance to walk around and explore this beautifully crafted set, which is a centerpiece of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.”

Russell Alexander, General Manager of Shire Tours, said “I’m delighted to be involved. This is a wonderful movie location and I look forward to introducing visitors to a truly unique experience.”