Kia ora koutou! Welcome to Wellington’s Wētā Workshop! I can’t believe I’ve been in Wellington for almost four years and I hadn’t stepped foot here. Well, finally… we’re going on a Tour. We’re not able to take pictures or video during the tour due to copy right reasons but we’ve got some pretty good pics of the surroundings and I’m prepared to narrate to the best of my abilities so buckle up!
Wellington, New Zealand, is home to an entire community of creative Wētā Workshop artisans who’ve brought life to such films as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies, King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, Avatar, and many others. Wētā Workshop is your gateway to filmmaking creativity. Join our guided tours and learn about the making of movie effects, from armour to weapons, creatures to costumes, make-up to miniatures, and more!Tours, Wētā Workshop
From The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to District 9: learn about the making of props, costumes and creatures created for your favourite films. Interact with cool stuff from our creative departments and, if you’re lucky, catch an artist at work on our tour stage.Tours, Wētā Workshop
- Price: Online price from $50
- Time of Tour: 1hr 30mins
- Location: Wētā Workshop is a 20-minute drive from Wellington central city, located at 1 Weka Street, Miramar.
- Open: 7 Days (except Christmas Day): 8.45am – 6.00pm
Screen play of rules and story of how Wētā Workshops came to life in 1987. Aka. The story of the founders Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger, who are a couple. Later associated with Peter Jackson and Jamie Selkirk in 1994.
A few years later, Taylor reached the top of the world when his company took over all of the props, costumes, prosthetics, weaponry and models for Jackson’s epic Lord of the Rings trilogy.
A display of artefacts made by Wētā Workshops, as well as their Oscar and some memorabilia. There’s a wall and screens full of all the projects they’ve been involved in, both big and small with various degrees of involvement.
A room displaying the various steps into the casting process of making prosthetics, painting, adding hair to the prosthetics, makeup, etc. There was both objects that we could see, touch and pass around as well as a beautifully produced video showing the process and the actor getting into character. Won’t spoil who it was, you’ll have to go and see it yourself!
There was an artist there who gave us a demonstration and talk about making things and props form everyday objects and things we’re likely to dispose of anyways. The talks and incentive from the artists was very catered to inspire people to create, especially children. Since now a days, many of our experiences are digital, most people have lost the curiosity and creativity to pick up a random piece of junk and just create!
Armour, armour, armour… This was a room dedicated to armour and guns. From huge swords to robots and a dog’s armour. We were able to pass around a few of the swords and notice the difference in detail and weight from some of them as they make props that are very detailed and high quality for close ups and others that are meant to be carried by extras and used in fight scenes.
There was a window looking at the black smith workshop. We were there on a weekend so there wasn’t anybody working but behold… Richard Taylor himself walked past right through us with the Government General and a dog! What a sight.
A few days later, I got to see him again in close proximity in the dressing rooms at a WoW (World of Wearable Arts) run-through. Since I’m volunteering as a dresser this year!
This was arguably my favourite room. Here, they displayed the multiple departments they have and how they work. We were able to touch around and see a few of the props and tools they use for the different disciplines Wētā Workshop encompasses. A world of possibilities…
Sixth and last room:
In this room, we encounter our second artist who chatted to the group about how to start sculpting something from scratch with simple materials such as aluminium foil and cutlery. We were invited to try and sculp something and add it to the collection of creations displayed in the room.
Somewhat the same room, was a photo green screen room with a few props for you to take a picture as a wizard or a creature from space perhaps.
Things to know:
- The tours frequently sell out, particularly during peak season (Oct-April). Book online in advance.
- Photography is strictly prohibited whilst in the tour spaces.
- On-street parking is free but can get busy. Please allow ample time to find a park.
- There is no luggage storage in the Wētā Cave or within the tour spaces.
- For groups of 20 people or more, please check out Events & Group Tours.
- Weta Workshop Tours holds a Silver Award from Be Accessible.
This is the basic experience. There’s a whole lot of tours and workshops you can partake. We have our tickets for the “Behind the seams” tour in October and are thinking on getting into some of the workshops in the future.
The Shop and Mini Museums
Encounter with the Trolls!
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