Wellington Airport and Weta Workshop worked together to create an unforgettable experience into the gateway of the Wellington region for the November 28, 2012, world premiere of Peter Jackson’s first film in The Hobbit Trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).
The 13 metre long Gollum suspended from the roof in Wellington Airport’s main terminal was developed
by Weta Workshop and Wellington Airport to create an unforgettable experience into the gateway of the
Wellington region, New Zealand.
The sculpture shows the emaciated physique
and momentary expression of glee on the
face of Gollum, submerged and reaching for
his favourite meal of ‘juicy sweet fishes’. The
Gollum creation was designed and facilitated
by Weta Workshop’s creative lead Richard
Taylor and Workshop Supervisor Rob Gillies.
Richard Taylor, who was overseeing the
project said, “we have had a long and
wonderful relationship with the Wellington
Airport team, who continually focus on
presenting an exciting gateway into our city.
We are thrilled to once again be creating
something with Wellington Airport that will
bring delight to the many visitors coming to
our fabulous city.”
“As the first and last impression to our region,
the Airport is proud to work with Weta and
have this magnificent sculpture on display for
all to see. Visitors can walk under and around
Gollum and the fish to explore the sculpture’s
beauty and intricate detail; it really does
feel like you’re in the stream with him,” said
Steve Sanderson, Wellington Airport’s Chief
Gollum was 3D modelled into the airport
display space. It was then created as a partly
digital, partly physical sculpture by a team of
18 Weta Workshop sculptors, model makers,
painters and other specialists. Milled and
sculpted from huge blocks of polystyrene
and coated in epoxy resin, Gollum weighs
in at 1.2 tonnes. The three fish were hand
sculpted using a fish sculpture from Richard
Taylor’s bathroom as reference. The piece
had to be created as 9 separate components
to fit through the doors of Wellington Airport.
Its structural armature is scaffolding pipe
designed to bolt together and it was installed
over three nights.