Hobbit fever is taking hold in Wellington as the capital prepares to host the world premiere of An Unexpected Journey next week.
Among the new additions to the city, is a two-storey image of Wellington atop a towering Middle Earth mountain, which was unveiled today, just six days before the premiere of The Hobbit film.
Weta Workshop posted an image of the banner on its official Facebook page today saying: "A spectacular new building wrap in Wellington, created by Clemenger BBDO, has been unveiled on the corner of Kent Tce and Marjoribanks St this morning."
* ONE News and onenews.co.nz will have live coverage of the Hobbit premiere on Wednesday, November 28 *
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown described the piece to the Dominion Post as ''a fun piece of fantasy on a grand scale''.
"Sir Peter Jackson has said that no one else does a premiere quite like Wellington and this latest installation is further proof that the capital will be looking its very best for the premiere," she said.
"Where else but in the middle of Middle Earth would you have Gandalf the wizard standing guard over our grand Embassy Theatre, 13 giant dwarves adorning the NZ Post building on the waterfront, Gollum chasing fish at Wellington Airport and now this huge image of the city itself in the middle of Middle Earth?''
The buzz around the city is growing, and will come to life this weekend with a Hobbit Artisans Market in Waitangi Park showcasing the various craftspeople and talent involved in the making of The Hobbit trilogy.
"On Saturday and Sunday we've got a great weather forecast and we expect thousands of people down here which will be really good," said market manager, Dilys Grant.
Over the next five days the market will play host to more than 30 artists - from glass blowers to leather workers, jewellers and sculptors - many of which have created work for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.
Prizes will be up for grabs to people who come to the market dressed as their favourite Tolkien character.
Restaurants in the city are also jumping on the fantasy band-wagon, creating some Middle Earth treats from The One Ring cocktail, to full-scale magic menus inspired by the films. There's even an exhibition full of creatures of fantasy, which have taken seven years to sculpt.
ONE News reporter Rebecca Edwards said organisers have installed a big screen which will show the full The Lord of the Ring trilogy over Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights, ahead of the premiere on Wednesday. It will also screen images live from the red carpet on the big night.
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