Last week saw the theatrical release of the second instalment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Filmed throughout New Zealand, these movies capture some of our most stunning landscapes.
Our photo of the week shows one of these landscapes: Canaan Downs, near the top of the Takaka Hill, in the Nelson region.
Canaan Downs campsite is a popular place to stay in the area — perfect for a Hobbit holiday! It’s located near the entrances to a number of tracks in Abel Tasman National Park. Mountain biking, walking and tramping activities are all nearby.
Always helpful and friendly, Anna Humphries, a Department of Conservation Community Relations Ranger, knows her stuff when it comes to working with film crews in one of the most popular filming and tourist destinations in New Zealand.
She always has her wits about her as she protects the environment, whilst allowing filmmakers the freedom to roam our beautiful wilderness.
Anna chilling out in Middle Earth
Anna is one of three community relations rangers in the Wakatipu area. Each year she processes around 80 one off permits, including those for local and international film projects, helping the film makers get the footage they need without damaging the environment or impacting on the rights of other people using the area either recreationally or for business.
Recce day in the Passburn Valley – looking for good places to land
She is always quick off the mark with ‘out of the box’ solutions to problems faced by crews, to help make filming go smoothly.
She is featured in a nationwide Film New Zealand advertising campaign highlighting the crucial role skilled New Zealanders working outside the screen industry played in the production of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and the success of the New Zealand screen industry in general.
The film crew of the Hobbit waits for the rain to stop
“I know I should be flattered, but it’s a little mortifying none the less!” Anna says. But she still thinks working with film crews is fun.
“I never knew what they’d be asking me to consider next but they’re very professional. They understand our conditions and will go that extra mile to meet them,” she says.
Film New Zealand CEO Gisella Carr, says that if there was an award for ‘Best Supporting Country’ New Zealand would win hands down.
Dwarves enjoy the view
“It took more than cast, crew and producers to make The Hobbit Trilogy happen. It took a huge supporting role from everyday New Zealanders like Anna who did their jobs with enthusiasm and great skill,” Gisella said.
She says the sheer magnitude of the impact a production has on a country like New Zealand is clearly illustrated by recently released statistics. These showed that due to the filming of The Hobbit:
• 99 sets were built
• 6750 domestic flights were taken
• 19 commercial properties were leased long term
• 93,000 hotel bed nights were sold
• 1800 rental cars were hired
• 1650 work vehicles were used
• $380,000 was spent on coffee
• $9,180,000 was spent on set construction materials (with local suppliers)
• approximately 16,000 days were worked by New Zealand actors
• $1,450,000 was spent with local food suppliers
She says New Zealand is known as one of the most ‘film-friendly’ countries in the world.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is in cinemas now.