Holes pop up as Hobbiton returns to life

Hobbit homes: The Hobbiton movie set near Matamata. A team of 60 people has begun building hobbit holes.
Hobbit homes: The Hobbiton movie set near Matamata. A team of 60 people has begun building hobbit holes.

New hobbit homes are popping up near Matamata. The farmer's field made famous as Hobbiton in The Lord of the Rings movies is being resurrected for The Hobbit.

The set was stripped bare in 2002 except for the frames of some hobbit holes – underground houses for the fictional creatures. Work to rebuild it started last year. Fruit trees were planted and earthworks started to clear a road.

Now new photos show several new hobbit homes well under way.

Red Carpet Tours owner Vic James said a team of about 60 was busy working on the new Hobbiton. "They are building, or rebuilding, at new hobbit holes. At least four of them are quite large."

British actor Sir Ian McKellen, who will return as the wizard Gandalf, has said he expects shooting of The Hobbit to start in June. But insiders say the film will be shot in 3D, pushing the start date out to October.

Mr James said the construction was good news, regardless of when filming started. "Of course they can start filming in the studio at any time. But they will need Hobbiton to be ready."

The Dominion Post