Psst ... hobbits coming to Te Kuiti
Word on the Te Kuiti street is the hobbits are coming to town.
Crew members from the big-budget Warner Bros project have signed-in to King Country lodgings and at least one establishment is booked out with creative types from October 30 to November 6.
Talking to accommodation proprietors was a cloak-and-dagger exercise and the film's production company, 3 Foot 7, was tight-lipped.
A contact at Panorama Motor Inn, 59 Awakino Rd, was cautious: "I don't know if I'm allowed to tell you," she said softly, before spilling the beans. "They're not here yet. I can tell you we'll have a couple on October 20, but you did not hear that from me. On the 30th we're booked out with them."
Motel Te Kuiti already has crew crashing in its beds after a bunch rocked up on Monday. Caves Motor Inn proved tough to squeeze information from. Are they expecting a flood of little people? "No" the woman said sternly, before a laugh forced through her steely resolve. She needed a second opinion. "It's the Waikato Times," she whispered, "wanting to know if we have any hobbits in at the moment – it's confidential isn't it?"
It is, apparently. Waitomo Lodge Motel, opposite Bosco Cafe, would neither confirm or deny hobbit arrivals.
"I'm not at liberty to say anything about the hobbits, I'm sorry," an employee said.