Hobbiton, or How in New Zealand appeared the real village of Hobbits

Hobbiton, or How a New Hobbits Village has appeared in New Zealand.

This, of course, was an adventure – to go for half the world to find a fairytale place that would perfectly correspond to the description of the hobbit village from the book of Tolkien. And yet he managed it, although it took a lot of effort. Fly over the plane not one hectare of land, and then persuade the owner of these lands and his family to support this crazy idea. But the result was worth it.

“Once in the quiet of the morning, in those distant times when there was much less noise and more greenery in the world, and the hobbits were numerous and prosperous, Bilbo Baggins stood after breakfast in the doorway and smoked his wooden pipe so long that it almost touched him furry legs (by the way, neatly brushed hair). And just at this time passed by Gandalf …

“I’m sorry! I do not want adventure, thank you. Not today. Good morning! But please come to tea at any convenient time! Say, tomorrow? Come back tomorrow! Good-bye! “, And with these words the hobbit turned, slipped into the round green door and slammed it behind him, trying at the same time to slam not too loudly so that it did not come out rudely – after all, the wizard is a magician.” JRR Tolkien, “The Hobbit, or There and Back.”

This is how Tolkien introduced the little hobbit to the world many years ago. So people met a hobbit and a wizard who, one morning unexpectedly appeared at the threshold of the Bag End, at home Bilbo in a peaceful village and offered him a real adventure. An adventure that changed the life of a hobbit forever.


Matamata, New Zealand – January 7, 2013. Entrance to the house of the hobbit. Previously used in the filming of the films “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit”, it was kept for tourists. This “hobbit hole” was the residence of the character Sam.

In some ways, this is quite similar to the situation with the Alexander family, who in silence and calm bred sheep and cattle on the outskirts of Matamata in New Zealand. One morning in 1998, an unknown man appeared on his doorstep and asked if Alexander did not want to share an adventure with him. The stranger needed a place where there was as little noise and as much greens as possible, as well as a place where people live a quiet, peaceful life, as in the Shire of the book.


Matamata, New Zealand – January 7, 2013. The tourist is photographed in front of the sign “Welcome to Hobbiton”

Unlike the hobbit from the book (and subsequently from the film), the Alexander family did not realize that a wizard had come to them on the porch. Nevertheless, they said: “Good morning!” To the man and invited him to a cup of tea.


Matamata, New Zealand – January 7, 2015. A sign at the entrance to Hobbiton. Hobbiton is a city of hobbits, which was used in the filming of the films “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”

The stranger told the Alexanderers about his idea and warned that the process of its implementation would be exciting, but difficult and long, and the life of farmers will never be the same again. For a while farmers hesitated, but who would not do it in their place. But in the end, they said yes to this wizard named Peter Jackson, and so began a long but exciting adventure in six parts (over the next 14 years, six films were shot (the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy).


The holes in the ground leading to the Hobbits’ underground dwellings in Hobbiton are reflected in a small lake. Photo taken in New Zealand

The director subsequently told that he noticed the beautiful countryside where the farm was located, during flights over New Zealand (he tried to find the most suitable places for filming from the aircraft). Jackson was given a green light on the shooting, the script was more or less ready, and it remained only to find a place where the director could have made Middle-earth and his characters.

These magnificent agricultural lands in the countryside were simply ideal for Shire and Hobbiton. In the district there was not a single high-rise building, there were no roads, power lines … just solid green meadows, grassy hills, large trees and a small lake.


Hobbiton mill and double arch bridge, reflected in the lake. New Zealand

With the permission of the owners of the farm, Jackson and his team turned this place into the village of the smallest people in Middle-earth. Even the army of New Zealand helped the crew and built the road leading to the set. At that time on the road you could see all sorts of heavy equipment – trucks, bulldozers, excavators, literally anything you can imagine.

But the director, who adores his homeland, has ensured that nature is preserved in its original form. For example, a large tree, which was to become in the films by the Bag End collection of trees, was neatly dug up and transplanted. It was hard, but the effort paid for itself.


Appearance of Bag End in 2006

For about 8 months, the crew managed to turn the beautiful countryside landscape into the Shire. It was a hobbits village, which was left to the Alexander after the filming of the trilogy The Lord of the Rings in December 2000. Fortunately for all, the farmers decided to keep the charming props and moreover, allowed to visit its tourists.

“The day after the premiere of the Fellowship of the Ring, I contacted New Line Cinema in America, and it took me eight months to get permission to conduct tours around the place of filming,” recalls Russell Alexander, general manager of Hobbiton Movie Set Tours and an unofficial ” The Lord of the Shire. ”


Peter Jackson said of Hobbiton: “I thought that you could open the round green door of Bag End and find Bilbo Beggins inside”

But everything was not so rosy from the very beginning. On a farm with an area of ​​500 hectares, every day worked with the sweat of the day and night to 400 actors and crew members … And do not forget that throughout the years of filming Russell Alexander and his family actually lived amid this confusion, almost on the set .

Knowingly Peter Jackson said from the very beginning that for farmers everything will change forever, and the old life will not return. After filming “The Lord of the Rings”, Alexander’s former estate was not recognized. Moreover, the scenery was made mainly of temporary materials, such as a 7mm layer of expanded polystyrene, and they quickly collapsed.


Nora hobbit

It would seem that the shooting is over, and now the Alexanderers can live in tranquility further. But it was not there. The once-unknown quiet family estate has attracted much attention since the beginning of the filming. Tourists from all over the world began to flock to Hobbiton. Naturally, the first tours in 2002 were mostly informational, but tourists came more and more …


Then, in 2011, Jackson offered the Alexanders family another adventure, and the Hobbiton began rebuilding again for filming the trilogy “The Hobbit.” This time the hobbit houses and other decorations made it more durable. After the shooting, the whole world already knew the farm, like Hobbiton, and it has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country.


Shire from the Lord of the Rings. The fabulous village of Hobbiton is next to Matamata, New Zealand.

That’s just a simple knock at the door can change the lives of people who want to participate in the adventure. Also, the family’s friendliness, which said “Good Morning” to a stranger and invited him to a cup of tea, led to the fact that millions of people around the world had the opportunity to admire the fabulous beautiful scenery. And not only on the screen – over the past two decades, more than 800,000 people have visited Hobbiton on the Alexanders farm.


The Hobbiton.

Having visited the Hobbiton, having drunk ale in the tavern “Green Dragon” or just admiring the gardens and charming little houses of hobbits in silence, you quickly understand what comfort and calmness means, and why the hobbits always have a good morning and why they do not like adventure.


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