I've just come back from the second Welly-moot meeting, a coming-together of Hobbit fans here in Wellington, although at least one of the attendees had come from Auckland just to attend (well done, Haldirriel)! The first meeting was attended by 12 people - this time it had gone up to about 17. I think next time we'll have to find a "proper" venue! If anyone has suggestions for the next meeting, mail me!
A variety of subjects were discussed at the coffee meeting - Barbara had recently been to Hobbiton, and had printed her photos, so we all got a look at the almost finished sets there (I understand they are now completed but the photos were taken just before that). I didn't get copies - and I'd be prevented from showing them here in any case...
I'm currently trying to source a group-photo from Brian, who took a few snaps at the meeting (I'll post it here as soon as I have it). Brian is a huge Hobbit fan, and likes to collect news clippings. Brian had brought with him a large folder labelled "The Hobbit - Book 4"; yes, he has already filled three books just on The Hobbit! At home he has 22(!) large volumes filled with LOTR newsclippings!! Brian's partner Suzie was also there, as was their son Harrison.
Nicolás has recently moved from the Milford Sound in the South Island, and is currently looking for a house here in Wellington - he's hoping to get a job on the set in some way.
Also attending today were four US students from Wellington's Victoria university, three of whom I'd "rescued" off Mount Victoria a few days ago while they were taking photos of the wrong tree. The three are currently studying Film Studies here in NZ, while the fourth is a Psychology student. A bunch of Hobbit geeks together is probably a good homework assignment for a Psych student! (Unfortunately I didn't get names, so if you're reading this - drop me a line?)
Heike was there as well - I met her some time ago through the blog, she's left quite a few comments on the blog over the years. Today Heike brought me some home-made jam made from local wild blackberries - I've been eating the berries all over the region (Rivendell, the River Anduin, the Hobbiton Woods, and Brego's River all have blackberry bushes!) so the jam will go down nicely - thanks Heike! It will be enjoyed...
Jenifer and Ryan, and little Hawk, were there as well, although they were at the far side of the table (from me), so I'm afraid I didn't spend as much time talking to them as I wanted to this time - the same unfortunately went for Brendon and his partner Keryn. Brendon did bring his amazing copy of The Hobbit book, with at least twenty autographs in it!
I turned up with my lovely wife Aiko, who unfortunately had some other business to attend to for the rest of the afternoon, so she left me to it. I brought along my brand new map, recently created by Daniel Reeve (LOTR's Cartographer) for Wellington Rover Tours. I wanted to use the meeting to "officially" introduce the map to the world, so now that that has been done, I can start talking about them properly. If you look at the top of this page, you'll see a link to the "Wellywood Map" - if you want one as well, they are now available for purchase.
I'll write up another blog entry about that a bit later, but at the Welly-moot I had arranged with my boss that Wgtn Rover would donate a map to all attendees (they are usually $24.95 each). So thanks to Wellington Rover Tours there were a few lucky people there today! The other way to get yourself a map is to come on a LOTR tour, and we'll give you one!
I also tested interest for a possible Wellington Tolkien Society that I've been thinking about starting due to a total lack of a NZ chapter. There seems to be enough interest in it for me to pursue that further, so I'll be talking to the UK Tolkien Society in the next few months to see what I'd need to do.
All in all, it was a fun afternoon - it was very noisy and chaotic, there wasn't really an agenda other than "let's meet, drink coffee, and talk", and everyone had a great time! On to the next one!