Friday, December 26, 2014

Welly-moot #3.6 cancelled

Due to a very disappointing number of RSVP's from people planning to come to the end-of-year meeting/party on Dec 28 (ie, one person has responded), we've decided to cancel, or at least postpone the moot.

If you were thinking of attending on December 28th, please email me; I'll let you know alternative dates if we decide to have it later.

  - Jack

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Welly-moot Mailing List now active (testing phase)

I've managed to get a Mailing List thing working - if anyone's interested in getting an email everytime I post a blog entry here, please click on the picture of the envelope on the right hand side of every blog page.

As an aside, the other icons there also allow you to follow the blog in easy ways - follow us on Facebook, Twitter, RSS-Feed, or on Google+ as well; whatever is easiest for you. They all work.

The mailing list is still in "test" phase, but it should work ok. I've had a report saying that on some computers the resulting emails take a little while to open but I haven't been able to duplicate that yet (so more testers would be appreciated!).

I promise not to send loads of spam your way, and at the bottom of every message there's instructions on how to Unsubscribe again as well. Keep in mind it's all a manual system so I'll be adding and removing the entries myself, when I have time to do it (so please be patient with me!).

So, hit that magic envelope button! We have operators standing by!

  - Jack

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dec 28 - Welly-moot 3.6, our annual Christmas-moot

The last Welly-moot of 2014 will be held on the last Sunday of 2013, December the 28th. It's fast becoming a tradition, but Alex & I (Jack) will once again be hosting the final moot of the year at our house. Since this is our private home, we will not be taking on new members for this meeting.

Just like the last few years, this will be a shared lunch, so please bring a plate (full of food, obviously). :)

So, if you're currently a member of Welly-moot, and want to come and join us for a friendly get-together, send me an email and I'll reply with the address. If you're not sure if you're a member, email me anyway. :)

My email address is "".

We're aiming for a "bring a plate" lunch, so please bring something yummy to share. Home-cooked will receive the best compliments (hint!)...

 Details of the lunch:

  • Arrive here at around 11:00am
  • Lunch will be served around 12:30pm
  • Finish around 4:00pm

As for a theme - we're hoping that everyone has had a chance to see the last Hobbit movie, so that will be the topic of the day.

So be warned, there will be spoilers!

Please email me with your intentions!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hobbit 3 Premiere Attendance

The Welly-moot was present at the Hobbit 3 Premiere event at The Roxy last week, and Dianne sent me a copy of a great group shot. Thought I'd share it here for the group!

(If you can't see the picture, click on the link to get out of facebook - the blog has the pics)

  - Jack

Talk: "Tolkien & The Spirituality Of The Hobbit"

Through our contacts at the Roxy Cinema, I've been alerting to a Tolkien event happening next week.

On December 18 at 7:30pm, local vicar Dr Tim McKenzie will be delivering a talk on "Tolkien & The Spirituality Of The Hobbit" at the clubhouse of the Seatoun Bowling Club (16 Dundas Street, Seatoun).

 All are welcome - and the talk itself is free. The bar will be open for refreshments.

 I plan to attend, and will be driving through town to get there - let me know if anyone needs a lift.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Welly-moot Event: Wellington Premiere of Hobbit 3 BOTFA at Roxy

On December the 2nd, early in the morning, the Roxy will be hosting a special event and advanced screening of Hobbit 3 BOTFA for a select audience. The exclusive event, is Invitation Only, and the Welly-moot has been given a number of invitations to distribute amongst its members.

Those regular attendees of our meetings who were able to attend the event, as well as a number of other deserving Tolkien fans, have now been contacted, and your tickets should now be making their way to your door. If you haven't heard anything from the movie's distributors (Roadshow Ltd) by now, please get in touch with me as soon as possible!

I've been sent a press-release from the good folks at Roadshow Ltd, so rather than me retyping their event, here's the complete text from their memo.



Tuesday, 25 November 2014 – Auckland, New Zealand

Gearing up for the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Roxy Cinema in Miramar, Wellington will play host to a special celebration on December 2 (NZT), with an advanced screening of the film to an audience of fans, local cast and crew from film production with Sir Richard Taylor in attendance.

The Miramar event is part of a global celebration of the final journey to Middle-earth and will be linked via interactive satellite with the film’s London World Premiere, which will stream live before guests and VIPs prior to watching the highly anticipated finale of The Hobbit Trilogy.

Marking the end of an era, this special premiere event brings together the Wellington film community to celebrate all the hard work and inspiration that has gone into bringing the world of Middle-earth to life for The Hobbit Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy more than a decade ago.

“It’s truly fitting that the Wellington celebrations for the film will be held here in Miramar where it all began; as a phenomenal journey and era comes to an end,” said co-founder and co-director of WETA Workshop Sir Richard Taylor.   “The day marks a significant milestone in our career, and I am both excited and eager for what is next to come.”

Counting down to the New Zealand release of the film, New Zealanders can also enjoy a special 10-day projection presentation at The Roxy starting December 1.

The Hobbit Trilogy will be brought to life on the front of The Roxy building where a state-of-the art 10-15 minute projection show will play multiple times each night just after sunset.

“Ann and I are thrilled that our iconic, award winning cinema is playing host to such a significant and world-class event,” said Roxy co-owner Jamie Selkirk.

Showcasing the breathtaking special effects created by WETA Workshop and WETA Digital using sound and projection, the presentation follows the film’s characters and creatures on their adventures through the first two films leading up to the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Sir Richard Taylor also endorsed the projections. “I hope visitors to The Roxy are inspired, and enjoy their time in the heart of the film making capital, Wellington,” he added.

The incentive is supported by Weta Workshop, Weta Digital, Wellington City Council, Wellington Airport, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, New Line Cinema and The Roxy.

The film, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro Goldwyn-Meyer Pictures (MGM), is the third and final film in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit Trilogy and releases across New Zealand cinemas on December 11.

New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Present a Wingnut Films Production, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.”  As with the first two films in the Trilogy, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the final film is a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production.   Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM. 



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hobbit 3 BOTFA Release - Wellington Events

NB: This page will no longer be updated - check our new Calendar page instead.

Like last year, I've been collecting details about events planned around the opening of the final installment of The Hobbit movies.

Also: if you HAVE extra information on these, or other events, please let me know!

  • Update 1 (26/11/2014) : December 2 Premier event at the Roxy added.
  • Update 2 (26/11/2014) : March 7 official opening of Rivendell Archway updated.
  • Update 3 (26/11/2014) : December 2 Ian Brodie Exhibition and Book Signing event at the Roxy added.

Hobbit 3 Release, Wellington Calendar
(last updated November 26, 2014)

November 14, 2014
  • Embassy Theatre tickets go on sale for the Hobbit 3 midnight session. Full details on their facebook page.


November 30, 2014


December 2, 2014

  • Wellington Premiere for Hobbit 3 BOTFA at the Roxy Cinema, starting at 6:30am (early morning!), breakfast at 7:00am, and an early showing of Hobbit 3 BOTFA for a lucky audience. Event is Invite Only, and invites have been sent out already.


December 2, 2014

  • In the evening of the same day as the Premiere, Best-selling New Zealand author ("LOTR location Guidebook", "Hobbit Location Guidebook") Ian Brodie will be opening his new exhibition of photography at the Roxy Cinema, starting at 07:00pm. He will give a talk, and will be available to sign books as well. Time to bring in your LOTR guidebook, and buy the new Hobbit guidebook (which mentions the Welly-moot!)... 


December 5-6, 2014
  • Caburlesque Middle-earth Madness, R18-rated Cabaret Burlesque show at the Fringe Bar, tickets from $20. Their 2012 show Bare and Back again was a real treat - don't miss this event! It's a small venue, so get tickets ASAP!


December 10, 2014

  • Red Carpet Hobbit Fan Party, at the Roxy Cinema, from 9:00pm to midnight. Tickets are $265. Special guests are California Dreamers William Kircher's (Bifur) band. No door sales, prebooked tickets only.


December 11, 2014 - 12:01am midnight


December 28, 2014

  • Last Welly-moot meeting of 2014, venue to be decided. More details will be posted on this blog later.


7 March, 2015
  • Official opening of the Rivendell Archway. More details will be released in the coming month.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Welly-moot #3.5 report (from October 26)

Another two months, and another meeting has been held, once again at the Roxy Cinema in Wellington's Miramar suburb. It was well attended, we ended up having to shift to another part of the building to accommodate everyone, and then bring in more seats as well, so that was good.

Jack and Alex opened the meeting, and there were introductions all round. Jack had some updates also on other business.

  • The Rivendell Archway is now completed, at the Kaitoke Regional Park in the filming locations, exactly where the original stood. All the building work has been completed, and the paint has been applied. Only two things remain - we are waiting for the end of summer so we can apply a layer of weather-dependent artificial yogurt-mould, and in the next three months we're expecting an official opening ceremony from the Wellington Great Regional Council. Jack will update the group when this takes place.

  • The Hobbit 3 - The Battle Of The Five Armies will open early in December for general release, the exact date will probably be December 11th or thereabouts. The World-Premiere red carpet event will be held in London, as expected. A few functions have already been announced; a (more) complete list will be posted later.

  • Welly-mooter Emily (aka 'Sadie von Scrumtious') has announced that there will be another Middle-earth themed Burlesque Cabaret to celebrate the last Hobbit movie. The event will be held in Wellington at The Fringe Bar on December 5th and 6th (Friday and Saturday). Both nights will feature a costume competition for the audience, so prepare to get involved! The event has an R18 rating (for adult themed naughtiness!), and tickets will be around $25. I'll post more details on our facebook page at a later date.

  • Welly-mooter Kumiko has won the Student Prize at the end of her three year Weltec course’s Graduation Exhibition, to loud applause from her peers and the rest of the audience. Well done Kumi!

  • The Stansborough Prizedraw is in full swing, so if you want to win a full-sized Gandalf Hat, make sure you're in to win!

  • Sir Peter Jackson's Hobbit Fan Competition has finished, and the winners selected - of the 150 biggest fans around the world, three of them are Welly-mooters! Ash and Cinnamon managed to snag a seat to New Zealand (ok, not far to fly!), and on the names list, I noticed that Nicolas Gonzalez, formerly of Milford Sound but recently returned to Spain, is also returning to Middle-earth. Well done, all of you, and also to all those who tried and weren't successful. On the Welly-moot facebook page we'll be following their adventures through screenshots taken from the New Zealand 100% Pure YouTube videos. Follow us there!

Theme: Hobbit 3 BOFTA - What's The Story?

Finally, we got around to the theme of the day - what will be in the final Hobbit installment. Peter Jackson's last Hobbit film will includes plenty of sword-clashing and arrow-flying action for your dollar, but there’s also a lot of story materials. We spent a large part of the afternoon covering these points (and more!)
  • Smaug, having left his treasure-filled nest, will wreak havoc on Laketown
  • Thorin has yet to actually retake the Lonely Mountain for his people
  • Bard’s quest for redemption needs closure
  • Four Dwarves have been left in Laketown (Kili, Fili, Bofur & Ori) – what will their roles be in Laketown?
  • The relationship between Tauriel and Kili
  • Amidala will get pregnant with twins, while Anakin will turn to the dark side
  • The movie needs to carve out screen-time for Bilbo (Martin Freeman), so that his story may actually be brought to a proper concluding point; after all, he's the main link between Hobbit and LOTR
  • Setting up other developments that transpire in the Lord of the Rings films

Other points:
  • According to the predicted synopsis posted on, Thorin will get obsessed with the treasure in the mountain and will refuse to share it --- remember that Thorin's grandfather grew mad with his obsession with gold in the previous movies
  • Smaug is not the only danger faced by the Dwarves. The Necromancer has sent legions of Orcs to attack the Lonely Mountain. In the second movie Gandalf was the amongst the first to discover the Necromancer's return in Dol Guldur. He also witnessed the march of his armies.
  • A difficult question in Hobbit 3 is posed to all the races in Middle-earth. Elves, Dwarves and Men will have to decide whether they will stand together against the forces of Sauron or die fighting between themselves. So far, there appears to be no good relationships among them.

On a related note, two days before the meeting, a number of leaked photos were posted to, probably from the new Brian Sibley "Making of Hobbit 3" book due out in the next month or so. The photos were pulled from the site within 24 hours, but one of the mooters managed to take copies before they were removed. After checking with everyone if potential spoilers would be acceptable, they were shown briefly. If anything, they just made us want to watch the movie even more! And no, they won't be posted here.  
[I will give one detail though - ominously, a pre-battle Thorin appears to be wearing a RED SHIRT. Not good. Just sayin'.]

All too soon, it was time to pack up again. By the time of the next moot, we will (hopefully!) all have seen the movie, and we will no doubt have a lot of new information to digest!

As seems to have become a Welly-moot tradition, Jack & Alex are planning on having another post-christmas moot/party at their house, but full details will be announced in due time.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Headsup: Welly-moot #3.5 is tomorrow! (2:00pm at the Roxy on 26/10)

Just an advance warning for anyone interested in joining the NZ Tolkien group tomorrow. Our meeting will take place this Sunday 26th of October, at the Roxy Cinema, at 2:00pm.

The theme for the meeting is the next (and last!) Hobbit movie. What do we think will be in it, and what will the difference be between the last movie and the last part of the book.

Also - the second Hobbit movie has just been released in its Extended format - has anyone had a chance to see it yet? Come talk to us about it!

Come and speculate with us! Everyone is welcome, entry is free, and you will be a member for life after attending just one meeting!

  - Jack

Friday, October 17, 2014

Stansborough competition!

Last week I was speaking to the good folk of Stansborough Textiles, who made all the beautiful material for the Middle-earth movies (amongst other many things!). Welly-moot visited them last year, and we got to see the ancient looms making "actual" Elven fabric.

Cheryl from Stansborough showed me the new products which will be released for the final Hobbit movie (The Battle Of The Five Armies), notably a new set of fingerless Gandalf gloves - very nice!
Gandalf's gloves - same design, same wool, same sheep. Now also for mortals.

So, we talked for a while, and we thought it might be nice to get these in (on?) people's hands before Christmas 2014.

For an extra incentive, with every purchase you will go into the draw for one fullsized Hat of Gandalf the Grey (a value of nz$320). The Gandalf hat is fully licensed, and authentic down to the last detail, including the patches on top.

Alex the Grey

How do you get into the draw? You get one entry into the draw if you buy any of the following products:


Buy any of these, and go into the draw to win the world's coolest hat!

To qualify, purchase them straight off their website before the end of November 30, 2014. In the order form "comments" field, make sure you type "Welly-moot".

All prices on the site are in New Zealand Dollars, and world-wide shipping is free, so that's all good!

NB - this draw is open to everyone, you do NOT have to belong to our group (yet). It won't hurt though, and we have a meeting on October 26th, if anyone's interested in joining. :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Two weeks till Welly-moot #3.5 (October 26th)

The next Welly-moot will be held in two weeks, at the Roxy Cinema as usual. Originally we had hoped to be present at the opening of the new Archway in Rivendell, but it looks like that's still going to be some time away. More on that as I get more information.

The discussion for the meeting will be focussed on the third and last installment of The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies. Specifically will predict the things that WILL be in the movie, things that MIGHT be in the movie, things that SHOULD be in the movie, and things that may hopefully MAKE it into the extended version.

This will be the very last Welly-moot meeting before a related Peter Jackson movie comes out, so I can't think of a better discussion! I'm guessing the followup of this could be the next meeting - what DIDN'T make it into the movie (December moot?) :)

So, everyone, please watch the two previous Hobbit movies one more time, read the last parts of The Hobbit book once more, and come to the meeting with a shopping list of how your version of the script would go.

Venue: The Roxy Cinema, upstairs by the windows
Time: 2:00pm
Date: October 26th, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Report: Welly-moot #3.4 - All about Dain Ironfoot

Our meeting on August 31st was a very active one, and full of passion. In all, eight people turned up, and we all took active roles in the discussion; the history of Dain Ironfoot. In attendance were Alex and Jack, Cinnamon and Ash, Sinead and Luke, Miranda, and Wayne.

From left, clock-wise around the table: Cinnamon, Ash, Luke, Sinead, Jack, Wayne, Miranda. Missing (photographer): Alex.

As usual we started with Jack opening the meeting, and some general updates. First, some news about the Rivendell Archway in Kaitoke Park showing the recent photos. It looks quite beautiful and is nearing completion. The official opening is planned to be on October 11th, which is also the 15th anniversary of Day 1 of filming of LOTR. Hopefully Welly-moot will be invited.

The current hot topic is Peter Jackson's new Biggest Hobbit Fan Contest, and some of the Welly-mooters have applied already. Of course, of any of us win, we won't need to be flown to Wellington!

Cinnamon showed off a new keyring with the key of Erebor. It looked pretty cool. We talked about collections and different kinds of "collectors". Some display everything on shelves (like Jack), while others don’t open their items but keep them in the original boxes and just keep them for their own happiness (like Ash). Some do both.

The main activity was Dain Ironfoot aka Dain II. Most of us did some homework and we had active discussion about this mysterious Dwarf Warrior.  Cinnamon brought her reference book The Complete Guide To Middle-earth (by Robert Foster), and read the section on Dain II. This set up some general information about him, and we started bringing any additional background.

Jack brought a couple of Tolkien books as well - The Return of the King, The Hobbit, and The Unfinished Tales - and also added a family tree taken from the excellent LOTR Project site by Emil Johansson. If you haven't checked out this site, you're missing out. Our gratitude to Emil for creating this amazing reference site!

Dwarves, dwarves everywhere (click for larger version). Source:

An unexpected controversy, and a highlight discussion of the afternoon was "What are the Five Armies?". Obviously, the first four are Human, Elves, Dwarves, and Goblins, but what of the fifth???? Wargs?  Sinead and Miranda suggested that it might be Eagles. It is possible. Cinnamon checked her book and it says the fifth one is Eagles. However some of us were not totally convinced. Maybe Orcs? Jack checked The Hobbit, and found that Goblins and Orcs are same kind of creature.
"[...] Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kind) [...]" - The Hobbit (prologue), JRR Tolkien

Alex suggested that maybe it was Beorn. Did he came with some other bears? Wayne checked his beautiful two-part Hobbit book and found the Beorn’s entrance at the battle, “In that last hour Beorn himself had appeared – no one knew how or from where. He came alone.”

Jack & Alex. Alex is winning the argument.

The Hobbit book is quite clear about the fifth army - it's the Wargs. However, given the lack of importance given to the Wargs in the movie (other than beasts of burden), we must wait to find out Peter Jackson’s decision about the fifth army in the next movie.

The discussion moved on to the actor who will play Dain, Billy Connery. Ash used his iPad, and read out an interview with Connoly. Apparently Billy has never read the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings and he thinks people who read them are weird. :)

Here is a Yoube link to a similar interview from him. Be warned - it goes slightly NSFW after a while, but given that it's Billy Connoly, that's not too surprising.

After wrapping up the discussion, we moved on to some other business. Jack has been working in the background about a new feature for the Welly-moot, an email-list. We agreed that a mailing list will be useful and easy to receive timely notification of updates on the Welly-moot website. When the work is completed, Jack will send a single email to all past and present Welly-mooters - please REPLY to that if you want to be on the Welly-moot mailing list. New Zealand has very strict anti-spam laws (gladly!), so we have to have an opt-in list rather than an opt-out one.

The Hobbit 3 is coming in three months, so we are expecting more information about any events in Wellington, and we are trying to organise a Hobbit movie marathon at Roxy in December. We will keep everyone informed on this website if there is any update.

Next Welly-moot 3.5 meeting is October. We are thinking of having it at the Rivendell site in the Kaitoke forest. The area has been updated with some new poles, paved paths, new signs, and of course the new Archway. Let’s explore Rivendell!

Also Jack will take a Hobbit location tour of Trollshaw's Forest in Piopio (near Waitomo), as well as the new night tour at Matamata's Hobbiton including dinner at Green Dragon. He will report them with photos at next meeting in October!

Till then!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Heads-up: August 31 is Welly-moot day!

On the last day this month we will be meeting again at the Roxy Cinema for Welly-moot #3.4. Since the last of Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies isn't far away, this is a great oppportunity to discuss one of the lesser known characters from it - Dain Ironfoot, or Dain II.

The Dwarves arrive at the Battle of Dale, (clipped from the new Trailer, (c) 2014 NLP)

Dain, son of Nain, son of Gror, lord of the Dwarves of the Iron Hills, and eventually King under the Mountain and King of Durin's Folk. He shared his great-grandfather Dain I with Thorin Oakenshield (aka Thorin II), and his son was named Thorin III. Another title - Dain, Slayer of Azog. Legend has it his last name "Ironfoot" refers to his iron boot holding down Azog's neck as he hewed the Orc's head off.
Who was he, what were some of his amazing achievements, and how is his character changed in the movie versions? Dain II will be played by Billy Connoly, who as far as I can tell is anything but dwarf-like, and yet so perfect for the role! I can't wait to see how he will look!

I think we can easily fill an afternoon with that, plus coffee.

So, come and join us for a Dwarven filled meeting, and if anyone's got any Dwarven artifacts to show off, please bring them - I may bring a couple of axes!

The time and place:

Sunday, August 31st, 2:00pm
downstair at the Roxy Cinema (Miramar)

As always - free to attend, but bring coffee-and-cake money. Note, attendance will make you a member of Welly-moot for life). See you there!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

News: Hobbit 3 BOTFA Contest starts August 25

Halfway through the mad busy time of finishing the last Hobbit movie, Peter Jackson takes out to go to San Diego Comic-Con. Halfway through the insanely busy time at Comic-Con, he takes time out to announce a fan contest, to bring "the ultimate fan" to Wellington, to watch the third movie "[...] with me, at the first official screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, right here in Wellington".

What are we to make of this? Is Wellington getting the Red Carpet World Premiere after all? Possibly; possibly not. It does mean, however, that SOMETHING will be happening here, as we had expected. Very exciting!

As for the contest - obviously, we're already IN Wellington, so I probably won't be entering it, hehe. If you're a past member of Welly-moot, and have left NZ's shores, this might be an awesome way to return!

The contest starts on August 15th, and we don't know what it will entail yet. Keep watching Facebook/YouTube, etc.

In the meantime, enjoy this fantastic poster, from The Hobbit blog:

Monday, June 30, 2014

Report: Welly-moot #3.3, a quiet but fun meeting

Today's meeting was a relatively small but fun get-together. Everyone brought their own experiences in Middle-earth and we shared our stories.

Jack opened the meeting of eight people; Jack, Alex, Franziska, Martin, Annabel, Wayne, and Ash & Cinnamon. We took turns giving updates about current Hobbit related events; everything from Hobbit 3's first viewing date, to the planned expansion of Wellington's airport runway.

Jack, and a rare photo of Alex, who usually takes the photos (thanks Annabel for sneaking this one in!)

Martin brought a copy of The Hobbit 2 Official Movie Guide (by Brian Sibley), and shared his Laketown experience as an extra. He does end up appearing in the movie, so that was all worth it.

Martyn (right) shows his scenes in the movie to Franziska (left) & Cinnamon (centre)

Ash brought his Sting replica, which is a beautifully made United Cutlery weapon. Compare with many unofficial replicas, it is so well made; beautifully decorated and gorgeous Elven patterns, and the real leather sheath still smells fresh.

Martyn, and Ash with Sting

Cinnamon shared her photos with the actors and crew from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. It seems she's managed to meet quite a few of them, including John Rhys-Davies.

The highlight of the day was Franziska’s presentation. She brought her laptop and had prepared a slideshow of her experiences in New Zealand's Middle-earth. She has been to many Lord of the Rings and Hobbit filming locations in NZ, and has met many people who have been involved these movies. You can find her wonderful experiences on her blog, Hebin thîr lîn mi nguren, as well as (a lot!) of fan-art about Middle-earth's elves.

Franziska has had a great year in New Zealand

Sadly, Franziska is leaving NZ and will return to Germany soon. Franziska, from everyone at the Welly-moot, thank you for bringing your enthusiasm and passion. We will miss you…at least until you return, which I'm sure will happen at some stage!

Franziska also baked some Lembas for the group. None left, sorry.

We had some discussions about what activities we can do or join for the release of the last Hobbit movie this December. There are some possibilities, however none of them are certain yet. We will keep everyone informed of any updates on this website.

After the meeting, we paid a visit to the Weta Cave. Some of members have not been there for a while and as it was the 60th anniversary of the release of LOTR, they had some great specials on some of their books. We had a quick chat with the staff and a number of Lord of the Rings tour guides who were just at the shop, and we took a photo with Franziska, and Tom the Trolls.

Wayme, Cinnamon, Ash, Jack, Alex, and Franziska, with Tom the Troll outside the Weta Cave

Till next meeting!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Heads-up! Welly-moot #3.3 this coming Sunday 29th of June!

The next Welly-moot will be on Sunday, June 29th, 2:00pm, downstairs at the Roxy Cinema (Miramar). I realise this is a later warning than usual, but hopefully we'll get enough people to make it worthwhile.

This time we're going to try to set up downstairs if we can swing it. Upstairs the high ceilings seemed toimpede smooth conversations a little, but if we can get a table downstairs I think that may help somewhat.

Given the late warning for the meeting, I want to leave the theme a pretty vague one. We're making this one a good old fashioned Show'n'Tell. Come and talk to us about your own experiences in Middle-earth, in whatever way. Maybe Middle-earth is New Zealand for you, maybe not. Everyone has their own story to tell, so come and tell it! If you've got any "props" to help you tell the story, take it along as well!

Alternatively, come and enjoy a cup of coffee while listening to other people's stories. This isn't 3rd grade - you won't HAVE to do a speech!

 - Jack

Monday, May 5, 2014

Report: Welly-moot #3.2 a success.

The 22nd meeting of the Wellington Tolkien group Welly-moot #3.2 was held this weekend, in a new venue, the Roxy Cinema in Miramar. It was a very lovely place to meet.

The meeting was attended by a few more Miramar residents than usual; Annabel and her two hobbits were there, as were Sinead and Luke. The whole committee was present as well; myself and Alex, as well as Kris. Franziska was able to attend as well, although sadly her next meeting is likely to be her last one, as she will return to Germany later this year.

We also welcomed some new members into the group. From Australia, Trevor and Christine joined us from the Brisbane Tolkien group (which also includes Peter Kenny). Trevor and Christine had hoped to come on a tour with me the next day but I was called up for Jury Duty, of all things, and couldn't host the tour.

Jack & Alex, Luke & Sinead

Also joining us for the first time were Wellingtonians Andrew and Tessa. Andrew works with Alex, and is apparently quite the LOTR collector! (We'd love for you to bring some cool stuff with you next time, Andrew!)

Annabel, Franziska, Andrew & Tessa

Due to the auspicious date, Jack started the meeting with a "May the 4th be with you", and discussed the latest rumours and announcements regarding the new Star Wars VII casting, which of course now includes "our" very own Andy Serkis.

We went around the table to see if anyone else had any updates. We'd met Welly-mooters Kim & Warren in the morning at the "Wellington Better Home & Living Show 2014". They have successfully managed to set up their business creating and selling their new sculptable concrete "Pal Tiya". You can take one day workshop to learn how to use the materials and create your original sculpture. Their website is A basic bag costs only $16(nz). Sign up for a class if you're keen, it's a lot of fun to use, and very addictive!

From the Brisbane group, Trevor announced a Medieval Festival

in Brisbane in October 2014. This will be a costumed event, if you are interested in attending. Check their website for more details

Then it was time for the main theme for the day - "When does Saruman go to the dark side?". A few had done some research - kudos goes to Kris, Franziska, and Sinead. 

Jack started the conversation by dividing the "dark side" into a beginning and a finality. Even at the final stages, Saruman could have returned to the good guys. Saruman didn’t kill Gandalf, or use his army of Orcs and Uruk Hai. Although he chose not to, he could still have put down the Palantir of Orthanc. It's not until he cuts the tree of Orthanc and Fangorn that he reaches rock-bottom, and irretrievably turns bad. The final chapter of Saruman (in the books, at least) of his ultimate doom in the Shire is an inevitable end, and in some ways represents an almost pitiful end to a great wizard, defeated by the smallest of the speaking peoples, hobbits.

In the Middle-earth mythos, his cutting down of the trees is a necessary step into darkness. In Tolkien’s worlds, trees are very important. In all of his stories, not just limited to the Middle-earth sagas, all of the Good Guys either live in trees, live under trees, in trees, with trees, tend to trees, are compared to trees, named after trees (eg, Legolas Greenleaf), symbolically represented by trees (eg, Aragorn, who is the White Tree), or, as in the case of the ents, ARE trees.

It can not be an accident of Tolkien that the most heroic person in LOTR (surely Samwise!) just "happens to be" a Gardener back in the Shire.

After Saruman destroys nature, it is nature that comes after him.

Kris brought up the characteristic differences between Saruman and Gandalf. Saruman counts arrogance as one of his character flaws. He knows Gandalf’s greatness, however he wants to be in charge of the world, and perhaps fears Gandalf's superiority. Gandalf knows something is wrong with Saruman, however he keeps showing his respect to Saruman or he is pretending not know Saruman’s power-seeking (but ultimately) self-destructive behaviours.

Franziska suggested that Saruman uses technology (eg, his Palantir) and machines, and although he has been connected with evil, he "merely" desires to have knowledge of the world and primarily his desire is to make the world better, however he uses wrong tools. Whereas true evil (like Melkor/Morgoth) seems more interested in destroying everything created by Eru, Saruman appears more interested in ruling it all. Perhaps a more optimistic viewpoint?

Sinead pointed that Saruman wasn’t given any rings and so he is jealous when he suspects that Gandalf has been given a ring of power. This especially since Saruman adores having power over other (including his fellow Istari).

Our discussion expanded to the characters of Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel, and the nature of Mirkwood, Ents, and trees in general.

And then it was almost time to pack up again. A last roundup of plans for the end-of-year release of The Hobbit 3 (now subtitled "The Battle Of The Five Armies"). We are keen to have a movie marathon; Hobbit 1 and 2 before the Hobbit 3 is shown in December at Roxy Cinema. We will keep informed any other possibilities in this website.Jack will find further information about any upcoming functions.

Regarding the new venue - despite noisy conditions due to the high ceilings, we have decided to have next meeting at Roxy Cinema again. Next meeting is on 29 June at Roxy Cinema, 14:00pm, a theme to be decided and announced later.

Hope to see you all there!

  - Alex and Jack

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Heads up - welly-moot tomorrow!

Just a quick reminder - the next Wellington Tolkien Society meeting, Welly-moot #3.2, will be held tomorrow, Sunday the 4th of May, at the ROXY CINEMA, not at the Embassy Cinema.

The theme will be "when does Saruman go to the dark side?".

The meeting will start at 2:00pm. Bring money for coffee from the roxy's cafe. Hope to see you all there!

  - Jack

Friday, March 28, 2014

Next moot one month away... May 4th 2014

The next Welly-moot (#3.2) will be held on May the 4th this year (Star Wars day!), and we'll be talking about that Sith Istari, Saruman the White. Specifically, when does Saruman go to the dark side? Is it when he captures Gandalf? Or when he first starts using the Palantir of Orthanc? Or does it happen much, much earlier - some say he gets jealous when Gandalf (his subordinate!) gets the Narya, the Ring of Fire from Cirdan the Shipwright.

What do you think? Come and join us for another afternoon of in-depth Tolkien based discussion (or George Lucas; sometimes we go offtrack a little).

NB - This meeting will be held at the Roxy Cinema in Mirama; NOT at the usual venue of the Embassy in Courteny Place.

The time will remain at 2:00pm. The meeting is expected to finish around 5:00pm.

Membership is still free (but bring money for coffee at the Roxy Cafe), all you have to do is attend one meeting!

  - Jack

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Moot Report - Welly-moot #3.1 (Feb 23, 2014), short but sweet

Just came home from the Welly-moot this afternoon and, as we expected, it wasn't a huge meeting, but very productive. In the end, only six people attended - Alex & myself, regulars Martyn as well as Kumi, and two new members Sinead and Luke. A warm welcome to the new members; Sinead and Luke are young passionate filmmakers, who have recently come (back) from Australia, and are now living in Miramar itself.

[pic]: Jack, Luke & Sinead, and Kumi. Jack is wearing the new Welly-moot longsleeved t-shirt. Let me know if you're interested in getting one.

For today's meeting we didn't have a specific Tolkien theme, but I wanted to run a few administrative issues past the group to see what the general feeling was about the direction of the Welly-moot.

Don't worry - the low attendance this meeting was more likely due to the holiday season than lack of interest, so the actual future of the group is not in question.

Embassy or Roxy?

We discussed the meeting location - for the past few years we've been meeting at the Embassy. For various reasons I've been mulling over the Roxy as an alternative venue. We decided today that the next meeting could be held there as a trial run, to see if it suits our needs better. There will be a bigger announcement coming if we decide to go through with that decision.

[pic]: Kumi and Martyn


There is some tentative news about the Riventroll project. We have been working to get this project running for almost one and half years. We think we have found a potential local sponsor, and the project might be about to get started properly soon. We will keep you informed, especially any willing volunteers who want to support Kim & Warren in creating our Troll. More updates as they come to hand, but watch this space!

Another related project might be launched soon afterwards. If you've been to the Rivendell location in the Kaitoke Regional Park lately, you may have noticed a new structure there.

[pic]: "Which way is it, Gandalf? Mordor, is it left or right?" -Frodo

Over a year ago, when the RivenTroll project was being decided, we also looked into making other structures within the Rivendell area (the Troll will be just outside it, at the entrance). The meeting, which was held in the park itself,  was attended by representatives of the Wellington Greater Regional Council, the Welly-moot group (ie, me), and people from all the Wellington LOTR touring companies. It was agreed at the time that we could add appropriate structures into the area, and the first one is almost complete - the Entrance Gateway into Rivendell. A lot of the work on the structure was put in by Ted Guise from Movie Safari Tours, and the project was headed up by Nathan from the GWRC. It's not quite complete - it will still get a full elven look - but the structure itself is there, and it's in a photographable state.

Eventually, we hope to put other structures into place as well - Frodo's Bedroom, or Elrond's Study, or even just certain garden features. Since the area is in a publicly accessible corner of the open park, it was decided by all that there would be no company names logos on any of the structures, but would be gifted to the park. It's a very exciting project, and I'm proud to say I'm part of it all!

Extended Ultra Marathons

Welly-moot wants to be the first group in the world to watch the Hobbit Marathon, later this year. Hopefully we can convince the Roxy to show Hobbit 1 and Hobbit 2 before the premiere of Hobbit 3, so we can watch them all in a row. As an extra goal, we'd be keen to wath all SIX movies in a row, and if we achieve this, we can be the first people in the world to do so (nice being this close to the dateline, eh?).

With that in mind, there's another potential "first" coming up late in 2015 - the Extended Ultra-Marathon. This would be at the release of the last Extended Edition of the 3rd Hobbit movie, so we would be watching a VERY long Middle-earth saga. LOTR is now 11 and a half hours long, and the first Hobbit movie is alread 3 and a quarter hours, so extrapolating that would make it some 21 hours long, hopefully all in a single sitting. It will be a one-off event, and we still have to convince a cinema to screen them all in a row, but it's the only chance we'll have to do it first. Wellington SHOULD be first, I think. :)

We had some discussion about this, potentially at the Roxy, since the Embassy seemed unwilling to do anything for us last year. We could potentially organise a Welly-moot event gaining support by collaborating with the Roxy and/or the Red Carpet Tours, who hosted a very succesful Hobbit 2 party at the Roxy last year. This year will be the last movie, so we don’t want miss any opportunities.

Leave a comment, here or on Facebook, with your thoughts about this, and let’s talk about it more at the next Welly-moot!

Welly-moot Mailing List

I'm in the process of setting up a Welly-moot Mailing list so you can receive any update from Welly-moot directly into your email address. That will be handy, and has been requested by a few people. I will update here as it happens.

Weta Digital Presentation

While not related to Welly-moot, I was reminded that for the Wellington Writer's Week festival coming up next week there will be a talk on The Hobbit's Smaug by members of Weta Digital, entitled  “WETA Digital Presents the Desolation of Smaug". The talk will be an hour long, will cost $18 to attend, and will be held at the Embassy on Saturday the 8th of March. Sounds exciting! Details on their website. Let us know if you go/how it went.

Next Meeting

We also agreed on the topic for next meeting; "When and why does Saruman go to the dark side?". Speaking of the Dark Side, the meeting will appropriately be held on International Star Wars day, May the 4th ("be with you").

As a secondary topic, both Tauriel and Radagast were picked as interesting characters that we might want to discuss also, so get watching the movies for Tauriel and Radagast, and start reading the Unfinished Tales for Saruman's Untergang!

Full details will be posted on this blog later, but expect the next moot at the Roxy, on May 4th, 2014.

See you there!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Headsup: First Welly-moot of 2014 coming up February 23 - next weekend!

Look sharp everyone, the first meeting of 2014 is almost upon us. I've got a few announcements and updates to talk about, and would like to talk to people about a few directional issues of the group. Nothing stressful, I just want to discuss a few items to make sure we're all on the same wavelength.

The meeting will be held at the usual place - at 2:00pm, upstairs in the cafe at the Embassy. All welcome, including new members, so spread the word!

Free as usual, but bring money for coffee (from the cafe).

  - Jack

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Welly-moot 2.6 (Dec 29, 2013) - Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!

On the last Sunday of 2013, we opened our house once again to the Tolkien group for our end-of-year get-together. The theme for the meeting, if there was one at all, was the second Hobbit movie; The Desolation Of Smaug. By now everyone'd had a chance to see it, so any and all spoilers were totally permissable.

People started arriving around 11:00am. Appropriately, Adam was the first man to arrive, but all in all it was quite a merry gathering, with fifteen of us physically present, plus another three virtually (via Skype); Jack & Alex (the hosts), Kris, Wayne & Hilary, with Terry, Ash & Cinnamon, Kumi, Adam, Emily & Richard, Kim & Warren, Annabel, and Jennifer & Ryan with young Hawk via Skype from the USA. We hadn't met Emily's friend Richard yet, and Wayne & Hilary brought the Tolkien loving Terry with them.

Overall, it was a great way to catch up with everyone, and say goodbye to 2013, which had brought us the second Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug. Everybody had seen it, and it was discussed in great detail. I won't pretend we came to any sort of conclusion, but that's always been part of the enjoyment of Tolkien - it means different things to different people, including to Peter Jackson, apparently.

The lunch was brought out - a lot of effort had gone into the dishes from everyone - thanks to all who slavered over the hot stoves! We all appreciated it!

As always, click on the pics for higher resolution. If you don't see any pics, it's probably because you're reading this on facebook. You need to come to the blog instead.

That's Kim's hands cutting into the gorgeous Smörgåstårta (Scandinavian Sandwich-Cake), a recipe from Weta's Magnus Hjerte. It tasted terrific, and didn't last long enough, I thought.

Nibbles galore, freshly baked breads, pasta salads, and in the bottom right in the picture, Kumi's Sushi.

Special mention : Warren & Kim brought these great tasting biscuits, shaped like a certain other Dragon, currently residing in the Wellington Zoo.

Ash starting the dessert, while Adam contemplates another Mead.

Terry and Wayne engrossed in Kim's views on Hobbit 2:DoS. She seems to be speaking in sign-language though. (Emily on the right).

Hilary and Kumi deep in conversation. Warren deep in chocolate brownie-heaven.

Me (Jack) enjoying Kris' Mead. Very nice it was, too! Adam looks like he already enjoyed a few there (actually, he just blinked at an inopportune time). Cinnamon destroys a cupcake.

At some point in the afternoon, the party split into two groups - almost all the boys went downstairs, to the mancave, while almost all the girls stayed upstairs. We hadn't intended to break away for more than a few minutes, but the girls kept bringing us food down there. Almost... like they were encouraging us to stay... longer...? Surely not!

"To the batcave, men!". Warren in the red shirt, then Richard, Adam, and Terry. I think that's me with the iPad on the left.
I should point out that Cinnamon was honorary man for the afternoon, and joined us for an in-depth geek-out in the Tolkien-themed room I keep hidden down there.

What a great way to end the year! And looking forward to the rest of 2014, which will bring the last movie set in Middle-earth.

The next Welly-moot will be on February the 23rd, where we will discuss all the things we were supposed to discuss this time around but were too busy stuffing our faces. Normal time and place (2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema, upstairs in the cafe).

  - Jack