This was an image familiar to millions of people around the whole world even if they had not been even close to thinking of visiting New Zealand – anyone who’s seen “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and especially the first part, which pictures the peaceful, playful everyday life of Hobbits, knows this pictures – the Alexander Farm in the North Island in Matamata in New Zealand was chosen personally by the director Peter Jackson as what he thought – perfect for Hobbiton.
It took nine months and a work of 400 people to built the set – during this time the New Zealand army built roads to get to the site, and thirty-seven hobbit holes were created on the hillside with untreated timber, ply and polystyrene. Barberry hedges and trees were brought in and gardens were nurtured throughout winter. Thatch on the pub and mill roofs was cut from rushes around the Alexander farm, and oak tree overlooking Bag End was cut down and brought in from near Matamata. Each branch was numbered and chopped, then transported and bolted together on top of Bag End. Artificial leaves were imported from Taiwan and individually wired onto the dead tree.
Today, only 17 of those hobbit houses remain and they have been taken over by sheep. In 2011, the set was completely rebuilt for the feature films “The Hobbit” and now remain as permanent exhibit and tourist attraction for fans.
And just by the way – in my humble, personal opinion – it still looks amazing and I simply love the Birthday Tree!