Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Moot Report - Welly-moot #5.5 (September 25, 2016)

We had a fun meeting on Sunday the 25th of September. It was the start of Daylight Savings Time, but it seemed everyone remembered it in time, and no one was too late at the meeting because of it.

We started off with the usual greetings, and caught up with news and updates from everyone, with a quick chat as usual. Mooter Sarah had recently visited England's Oxford and visited Tolkien's favourite pub The Eagle and Child for a meal, and brought back a few souvenir postcards by Andrew Manson. Andrew, who was the Artist in Residence at the pub, had a writeup in the Oxfordshire magazine recently, which is available as a pdf file here.


The theme for this meeting was "the diverse landscapes of Middle-earth". Everyone brought their books, tablets or their knowledge of Middle Earth. We talked about landscapes, forests, and mountains. We enjoyed sharing our ideas and thoughts.

Alex was particularly interested in the “stone-giants” from The Hobbit; there is not much explanation in Tolkien’s books and the ambiguousness of their existence; are they from Bilbo's dreams, or are they real? Kris found some good photos with rock falls, where it is believed that Tolkien got the idea of the “rock-giants” and found an article why they play games by throwing rocks, and risking their lives.


Next Welly-moot meeting will be the last meeting this year already. It will also be the last meeting hosted by Jack and Alex. As it was announced on the last post, we will be stepping down from being the main hosts of the meetings. We have a few Welly-mooters who have have got their hands up, to take over from us. But don’t worry, we won’t disappear. We will still be attending Welly-moots.

Before we go though, we decided to have a picnic lunch on Sunday 20 November at Rivendell in Kaitoke Park in Upper Hutt. We will try to have some attractions on the day as well - maybe a swords demonstration, a guided forest walk, best costume competition, or whatever. Come and join us! We will post the details when it is closer.

  - Alex & Jack

PS - please note the new date for next meeting - it was originally set for November 27th, but it's now November 20th

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Welly-moot #5.5 will be on Sunday 25th September

As promised, here's the announcement for the next moot - we will be meeting at the usual time of 2:00pm, in the usual place of the Embassy Cinema, upstairs in the Cafe, on Sunday the 25th of September.

For the afternoon's theme we will be discussing the diverse landscapes of Middle-earth. I'm keeping this deliberately vague, so everyone can come at it from their own angles. Does the map of Middle-earth make sense in a geographical sense (I've always been slightly worries about the "squareness" of the Mordor mountains, for instance). We're lucky here in New Zealand - Tolkien's landscapes are all around us.

Some creatures seem to have become part of the landscape. Think of the Ents and the Huorns, who basically make up a large part of the forest. Or those Stone Giants - did Tolkien intend for the mountains to be self-aware (think Caradhras), or was Peter Jackson taking artistic liberties?

How did Tolkien make the landscapes of Middle-earth into their own character?

So, come and join us for an in depth discussion. As always, meetings are free to attend, and attendance gives you membership for life. Bring money for coffee & cake from the cafe!

See you all Sunday!

Welly-moot 5.4 report (brief), plus an announcement

On July 31st, we held the fourth Welly-moot of 2016, which ended up being a very pleasant afternoon. The theme of the day was the nature of life and death in Middle-earth, which ended up being a very lively discussion, and the coffee flowed freely.

I also announced my intentions to step down as the defacto president of the group by the end of the year. I've been running the show for the last six years (counting the Noldor days, aka the First Age). In that time we've organised a good number of events, had a lot of fun, and we have got a good little group going on. I'm taking a new direction in my life and want to step away from quite so much of the "All Tolkien, All The Time" that I've been doing for the last 13 or so years.

Don't get me wrong; I'll still be running LOTR tours at Rover Tours and Flat Earth Tours, and I'll still be attending Welly-moots - I just won't be involving myself so much in the running of it; the blogging, the event organising, and the networking. I'm also not extending the collection of LOTR Cool Stuff quite so much.

I'm feeling very positive about the changes ahead, and I know the Welly-moot will fare well without me at the helm.

There are various tasks that could be handed over. At the moot, Daniel offered to take some of them, and I suspect he could do with a helping hand in a few places. If you're keen to get involved, let me know, I'm sure many hands will make light work, and two heads are better than one, etc.

Anyway, more details on all this when it actually happens (end of the year!), in the meantime, it's time I announced the next meeting (next week Sunday!).

  - Jack

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

(Finally, an announcement...!) - Welly-moot #5.4 is coming soon!

Although our original plan was to have a mid-winter christmas get-together like last year, life seems to have gotten in the way, and we can't commit time. We do have a doozy of a topic for everyone though!

The discussion will be a light breezy one - nothing less than the nature of life (and death) in Middle-earth. The elves are immortal, while men are not. How does that all work? And if you thought the elves had it good, the Maiar and the Valar are even more immortal, if there is such a thing. Or are they? Melkor/Morgoth gets kicked out of the Valar - does he die? Is that even a meaningful question? And what of Saruman?

Now, I'm counting on people to do a little bit of homework on this one - check your Silmarillions and your Unfinished Tales once more. If you don't have access to those, then the Encyclopedia of Arda is a great place to start looking instead (

Of course, if this is all just too heavy for you, feel free to bring your own topics!

New members are welcome as usual, and membership is free, and for life. Bring money for coffee and cake at the Embassy cafe, though.

See you in a few weeks!

  - Jack

Monday, May 30, 2016

Welly-moot #5.3 Report

The Welly-moot group met yesterday at the Embassy Cinema. We have new members whom we met at the Middle-Earth movie marathon in March this year. Welcome Kay, Molly and Helena!

Unusually, we didn’t have a specific Tolkien topic for this meeting. We started as usual with a round table discussion, with updates, and we shared our experiences of the movie marathon. After that, it became a very enjoyable non-topic discussion.

We discussed the upcoming Armageddon Expo in Wellington next weekend; the excellent Hobbit Location Tour "Hairy Feet Hobbit Locations" in Piopio Waitomo; the latest Superhero movies (X-man, Avengers, Captain America, Superman vs Batman, etc), TV shows, costumes, etc. The Welly-mooters are a wealth of geeky knowledge, and we had no problem filling the afternoon with a wide range of movies, TV series or characters.

Some updates for everyone.

  • There is a Middle-earth-themed LARP event (Live Action Role Playing) in Queenstown later this winter. We will update as soon as we have more details, on this site. In the meantime, if you're interested, follow them on facebook.
  • The new Rivendell Rebuild project for Welly-moot is the Bilbo bench/statue in Kaitoke Park. We have two wonderful Sculptors to give us a hand. We will be pushing this project forward this year!
  • We're also organising a Welly-moot craft meeting, hopefully for later this year. The idea is to have Kim Beaton (who you may have met at the Marathon) show us how to sculpt a beautiful miniature Hobbit door, to decorate your garden with. There will be somecosts associated with that, so will keep everyone updated as we go.

The next Welly-moot meeting is to be a mid-winter party like we did last year. The date will be Sunday the 31st of  July. It will be fun so don’t miss it.

Also, some Welly-mooters are going to the Armageddon with their own costumes this weekend. We (Alex & Jack) will be going on Monday the 6th, if all goes well. See you there!

   - Alex & Jack

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

May 29th is coming up fast - Welly-moot #5.3!

It seems we haven't had a "proper" meeting for aaaages, what with the Ultra-marathon coming in between them. High time to remedy the situation!

In about a week and a half, the Welly-moot will meet at the Embassy Cinema, upstairs in the cafe, at the usual time of 2:00pm. The topics covered will no doubt include "how we all experienced the Ultra-marathon", and what have we all been up to since then.

I would like to invite people to bring their own topics as well, and there's one or two things I'd like to put to the group, for the future of the Welly-moot.

So if you want to have a say in how things will go from here, please, DO attend!

As usual, attendance is free, and ensures lifetime membership to the only official NZ Tolkien Society. Bring money for coffee and cakes from the cafe.

See you there!

  - Jack

Sunday, March 27, 2016

That was one successful marathon!

It's finished. It's done. We came, we watched, we survived (most of us). All six extended Middle-earth movies in a row, in a single sitting. Truly, the end of all things.

I hope everyone enjoyed the event as much as we did! Everything went right, from the chosen date of Good Friday, March 25th (which won't happen again until the year 2157!), to the fantastic venue The Roxy Cinema. Thank you again for hosting this for us, you were marvelous!

In fact, a few thank you's are in order.

Thank you first and most importantly of all, to the Roxy Cinema for all their support, and in particular to Alice, who helped so much the whole way through; to Phil and Valentina for supporting it throughout the planning and preparation stages; and to Richard for keeping things flowing at the event itself! And of course to the other, invisible, behind-the-scenes staff who set up, cooked, and cleaned up afterwards for us. You all did a great job!

Thank you to the Roxy also for the amazing prizepacks both before as well as during the event. And of course congratulations to the prizewinners!

Anna receives her prize.

Thank you to the Miramar Events Trust, for you support, and assistance talking to the media.

Thank you to the Weta Workshop, and in particular to Tania Rodger, for setting up the venue in true Weta style.

Thanks to Daniel Tararo and Kris McMeans who blogged, tweeted, facebook, and most importantly, periscoped their way through the event, with live interviews for the world to watch.

Thanks to Erica, Wilson and Luke for recording the event for your documentary. Let me know when it's available to watch somewhere!

Thank you to Chewy from Wellington Rover Tours for supplying the courtesy shuttle, for getting people There And Back Again, and also for printing the much appreciated Survivor's Certificates. They will make great reminders of this mega event.

We lived!

Also thank you to Mojo Coffee for making sure there was enough caffeine to go around for the fans!

A HUGE thank you to all the special guests who came and honoured us with their presence - Jamie Selkirk (with Oscar!), Daniel Reeve, Daniel Falconer, Peter Hambleton, Sanit Klamchanuan, Kim and Warren Beaton, and Sadwyn Brophy. You made yourself so very available to the fans, with conversation, photos, autographs, and (to Daniel Reeve in particular) with your amazing skills.

A special thank you to Jed Brophy for being there right throughout the event, and getting just as tired as the rest of us! Your dedication is amazing!

A HUGE thank you from me (Jack) to the rest of the Welly-moot committee - Cinnamon, Alex, and Kris. Cinnamon, I forgot to mention you in the speech before the first movie - but I couldn't have done it without you. Alex, you were always by my side. And Kris, my costume looks amazing, thanks to you!

And last, but not least, thank you so much to the amazing fans we managed to convince to part with a not-insignificant amount of money, some who came dressed up, some who flew from halfway across the world, and at least one who walked about 40kms to get to the cinema on time. Your dedication to these films is always amazing, and knowing that support existed made the efforts to organise this so much easier.

Thank you all - I for one, enjoyed this event immensely! I trust everyone else did also!

   - Jack Machiela