10.19am: A written statement from Jackson said he regretted not being able to attend but was effectively under a health version of “house arrest”.

10.18am: Spooks star Richard Armitage, who plays one of the dwarves, is seated to Freeman’s left.

10.15am: The stars, including British actor Martin Freeman and Irishman James Nesbitt, have taken their seats at a long table at the Stone Street Studios in Mirimar, Wellington. Freeman, who will play Bilbo Baggins, is seated right in the middle.

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