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Spotlight on Wellington Airport


Wellington is the home of Weta Workshop, best known for its work on the epic Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, and they’ve ensured their airport is equally as fantastical.

Gollum was the first to arrive in 2003. Peering over the roof of the terminal, he was installed to promote the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. However, he was removed and in 2012, a new Gollum was installed inside the terminal itself. Descending from the roof, the 19m long Gollum is suspended from the roof in the act of attempting to catch one of the three fishes, each of which is 4m long, also in attendance. The sculpture itself weights 1.2 tonnes and is made up of nine separate components which were then put together in the terminal itself.

Gollum
Gollum

Next up was Gandalf, who was installed in 2013, riding atop a great eagle with a second eagle nearby. This was a new challenge for Weta, with 2,000 feathers needing to be moulded and cast, to cover the eagles and their 15 metre wing span. Each eagle was created in multiple components which were then put together at the airport, and weigh just under a tonne. They are held in place by eight cables descended from the terminal ceiling.

Gandalf
Gandalf

Then Smaug arrived in 2014, to watch over passengers at check in from his lair amongst the rocks. At 75% of the size of the Smaug from the films, and 4.25m from nose to the back of the head, this is one big dragon. His eyes are created from a animatronic latex and polyurethane foam mechanism with a rear projection eyeball, which really makes his eyes look realistic, and look just as they did in the movies.

Smaug
Smaug

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