Queenstowners catch Hobbit fever

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The lure of the international premiere of The Hobbit proved too much for one Queenstowner in hobbit-related business.

Nomad Safari managing director David Gatward-Ferguson took a not so unexpected journey to Wellington this week to partake in the revelry surrounding the anticipated world premiere.

Speaking from Wellington central, Gatward-Ferguson says it will be interesting to see what Queenstown locations have been used in Sir Peter Jackson’s latest movie trilogy.

“We are definitely looking to see what we can add to the (Safari of the Scenes) tours.

“We’ve already got a whole Hobbit tour planned launching with Heli Works.”

Gatward-Ferguson says the premiere is a good opportunity to make contacts with those in the business of all things Hobbit and spent time sourcing custom-made artefacts that could be displayed in Nomad’s Shotover Street store.

As for the movie itself, Gatward-Ferguson says he has to wait like everybody else and view it on December 12.

“I’m looking to see if I can get a free ticket to get in (to the premiere)…chances are around about zero.”

A Hobbit fever reaches its climax in Wellington, Film New Zealand has recognised Queenstown organisations who contributed to the filming process.

Glenorchy volunteer fire brigade and Department of Conservation community relations ranger Anna Humphries were among locals praised by the organisation.

The brigade were on hand during filming in remote locations to ensure the cast and crew had a plentiful supply of water, while DoC ranger Humphries has the delicate task of ensuring film crews leave conservation areas in the pristine state they found it.

Humphries says: “You never quite know what you’ll be asked to consider but they’re very professional. They understand our conditions and go the extra mile to meet them.”