I am starting off with my borrowed car, with the steering wheel on the right-hand side. It is helpful that all cars are like that. But I feel strange. Attention at the right side, they have priority, also on the roundabouts, Speed in cities – 5o km/h, outside the city – 100 km/h unless indicated otherwise. First motorway 1, then 2 and then main road 27. I left Aucklad in rain but the sun soon began to shine, like it should during the holidays. The destination is Hobbition in the Matamata region. I park in th e city centre and leave for an almost 3 hours’ guided trip.
We leave with the bus at 11.45, only to change for the next one about half an hour later – we go to the farm of Alexander brothers, where Hobbiton was built – first for the Lord of the Rings and then for the Hobbit.
It’s here that Peter Jackson in Septermebr 1998 found a place that ideally fit the vision of Middle Earth as described by Tolkien: hills, lake and the party tree. In March 1999 the army of New Zealdn came to this place to prepare it for the arrival of the film crew of 400 people. Roads, technical infrastructure andbuildings were needed. It took them 9 months. In December 1999 filming began that took 3 months.
It is really a giant undertaking. I take a lot of pictures but I know that they will not do justice to reality. When I look at the houses, I remember the scenes from the film. This is where the journey began, up there Sam met his daughter who ran to meet him, down here Gandalf travelled with his trolley, it’s here that Bilbo spoke on his birthday and disappeared.
The guide poses some theological questions. I make a short speech to the group who listen attentively. I remind them that Tolkien was an ardent Catholic. Let them know how much they owe to the Catholic church.
It’s time to go back. But it was worth having a look. To be continued. Now I move southwards. where a big cmmunity of native inhabitants of New Zealand, Maoris, live.
Categorised in: Fr Jarosław Szymczak