Hobbit folk try to keep a low profile

HELEN MURDOCH
Last updated 09:55 18/11/2011
Hobbit set
COLIN SMITH

UNDER WRAPS: Security staff and tents at the camp site at Canaan Downs, where it is understood shooting of scenes is due to start on the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

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The top of the Takaka Hill has been taken over by small people with furry feet.

Filming for The Hobbit movies began at the weekend on a privately-owned site and adjoining Department of Conservation land.

Last Friday security staff were guarding two large marquees, a number of half-moon, hut-like bamboo structures and what looked like utilities blocks.

The Motueka Golden Bay News understands filming will take place over this week, before the crew head further south for more filming.

Jules Harper, a co-director of the company which owns the Canaan Downs land, said the filming was "quite intensive".

"They have got a lot of equipment."

Jules said the film crew would be based there on and off over the next couple of months, but she said she was not allowed to give specifics.

3 Foot 7 publicist Ceris Price said the company would not reveal details of the location filming.
However, Golden Bay moteliers were expected to reap a pre-Christmas boon.

Steve du Fru of Sandcastle Golden Bay said five cast and crew members were booked in for eight days.
"It'll be a good pre-Christmas boost for the area. The restaurants and cafes will do well."

The production company has also booked out the Pelorus Bridge Cafe and Campground for 16 days from mid-December.

Owner Craig Neal said the cafe and campground would be closed to the public while 300 to 400 cast and crew filmed scenes in and around the camp and cafe.

Motel Association of New Zealand Nelson branch administration officer John Gilbertson said 3 Foot 7's accommodation bookings were "scattered all over the place around Tasman Bays".

In September John said 3 Foot 7 had made inquiries for booking 400 to 500 rooms in Nelson and Golden Bay.

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