The little Kiwi people behind The Hobbit

23:23, Nov 27 2012
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Craig McIntosh, Hirepool Wellington.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Ella Bacher, Cheals Consultants in Taupo.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Ken Sue, location owner, Ohakune.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Pilot Hannibal Hayes, from Heliworks in Queenstown.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Vanessa Chin, Miramar Fruit Shop.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Sam Manu, Hiremaster, Wellington.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Syd Workman from Workman’s Café, Matamata.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Tony Trewinnard, Blue Skies, Christchurch.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Anna Humphries from the Department of Conservation in Wakatipu.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Khan Aronsen, Wellington's Life Eco Water.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Naseby.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Aaron Bradcock, a digger driver from Piopio.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Bex (and Emily) Gibbons from Motogrill, Queenstown.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
John Birkett, Wellington's California Sushi.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Jason McKinney and Peter Smith, North Harbour Rentals.
The Hobbit: Kiwi heroes
Glenorchy Fire Brigade.

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."

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