The little Kiwi people behind The Hobbit

Last updated 12:23 28/11/2012

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Born out of a British book and funded by Hollywood, The Hobbit is also a movie that has its heart in New Zealand.

But it's not only the panoramic wide shots and bevy of former Shortland Street stars that give it that Kiwi essence.

Behind the scenes everyday New Zealanders up and down the country have been working overtime to make sure the needs of the cast and crew are met, all with a smile on their faces.

Not many have a bigger smile than Sam Manu, who has been providing shelter for movie crews for the better part of 10 years.

Manu is one of a select group of 17 who have been recognised by Film NZ for their "best supporting role" in the making of The Hobbit.

Manu, who works for Hiremaster Wellington, followed the film crew around the country putting up marquees and making sure they didn't blow down.

Supervising location manager for The Hobbit, Jared Connon said the movie could not have been made without people like him.

"It took more than cast, crew and producers to make The Hobbit Trilogy happen. It took a huge supporting role from everyday New Zealanders like Sam who did their jobs with enthusiasm and great skill."

"Rain or shine, near of far, Sam was there and he was always available to help, 24/7."

Typically modest, Manu said he just liked to help.

"I enjoy travelling with the crews. Most of the time we get to a new place, I put up the marquees and spend the rest of the day checking they are all right but if I get bored I'll help with anything that needs doing; cleaning up after mealtimes, filling up water tanks, picking up rubbish. I see how hard those film people work and if I can help, well, why not."

The Glenorchy Fire Brigade along with the entire population of Naseby also deserved a standing ovation for their work with the film.

The volunteer fire brigade would often bring water to the set, when they were filming in locations where there was none, and Naseby "just gave an especially warm welcome".

Film New Zealand chief executive Gisella Carr said that if there was an award for Best Supporting Country, New Zealand would win hands down.

"We're saying 'thank you' to people like the Canterbury weather planner, the resource consent expert from Ohope, the Queenstown based helicopter pilot, the Wellington sushi maker, the digger driver and his wife in the King Country - and of course those wonderful folk who kept the crew fed and fuelled."

Hobbit Facts:

  • 99 sets were built
  • 6750 domestic flights were taken
  • 19 commercial properties were leased long term
  • 93,000 hotel bed nights were sold
  • 1800 rental cars were hired
  • 1650 work vehicles were used
  • $380,000 was spent on coffee
  • $9,180,000 was spent on set construction materials (with local suppliers)
  • approximately 16,000 days were worked by New Zealand actors
  • $1,450,000 was spent with local food suppliers

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