NZ 'perfect' spot for great grandfather's creations

By Kieran Campbell

Arriving back in New Zealand feels like landing in Middle-earth for Royd Tolkien.

As a 9-year-old reading his great-grandfather's novels, Mr Tolkien never knew a country "so perfect" to resemble the landscapes depicted in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

He landed in Wellington yesterday with four dwarfs and a wizard, some of the last cast members to arrive in the capital ahead of The Hobbit's world premiere tonight.

Director Sir Peter Jackson walked a black carpet on the tarmac of Wellington Airport to pose for photos with 17 of the film's cast and crew.

Mr Tolkien, who joined the cast yesterday on a special Air New Zealand flight from Auckland, said he always enjoyed returning to the adopted home of hobbits.

"I think [New Zealand] is such a perfect match for it [the books]. The idea of having something so perfect as a country ... for me, the landscape plays an important part in [the films]," Royd said during the flight.

"It kind of rekindles that magic I had back when I was 9 when I read [the books]. It's a perfect match."

Royd says his great-grandfather J.R.R. Tolkien never visited New Zealand.

Mr Tolkien says he is "uber excited" about the new film - and the subsequent post-celebration.

"[In] the Lord of the Rings there was obviously just the one dwarf in that, so for me the hobbits were the ones that partied the hardest back then [at the premieres]," Royd said.

"But there's a few more dwarfs now, so I think they're going to let their hair down, let their beards down a bit, go a bit nuts."

Graham McTavish, who plays the dwarf Dwalin, said the Hobbit-hype in New Zealand was "wonderful".

"It's been very touching," McTavish said. "I've never seen anything like it and I don't think I ever will again."

Sir Peter filmed most of the event with his iPhone as he led cast and crew down the black carpet.

* Visit nzherald.co.nz later today for full coverage of The Hobbit red carpet and premiere. Live updates will begin at 12pm and a live stream of all the action will start at 3:50pm.

- APNZ

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