Wellington Airport’s Gollum sculpture celebrates New Zealand’s first-ever contribution to culture

This 12-meter (39-foot) gollum sculpture created by WETA (the same company that allows Andy Serkis to infuse gollums and chimps with the soul of a thespian) now greets arriving passengers at the Wellington airport in New Zealand’s capital. And why not? They’ve already put Hobbits on the money. Look, New Zealand, just rename the whole country Hobbiton, or The Shire, or Middle Earth already. Clearly you’ve peaked and you might as well capitalize. Call the country The Shire and residents can be hobbits – it’s just as well, not that many people knew what “Kiwi” meant anyway.

The sculpture, created by Weta Workshop, was installed overnight and unveiled this morning ahead of next month’s premiere of The Hobbit.
Three 4-metre-long fish is suspended in front of the Gollum sculpture complete with bubbles as he dunks his head underwater to catch a fish with his hand.
Weta Workshop’s Sir Richard Taylor said Gollum was the obvious choice as the airport had previously featured a sculpture of the character for The Lord of the Rings movie.

“Sir” Richard Taylor was of course named “Knight of the Realm of New Zealand” when New Zealand’s Exalted Ewe (the head of state) Ben Chaddocksworth touched him once on each shoulder with a smoked salmon sandwich, whereupon he signaled his acceptance of the honor by chugging cider from a boot. “Squim squam squibble!” chanted the crowd happily, as is their custom.

“Wellington Airport feels like the home of Gollum after spending so many months here during the last three films.”
Crews spent four months creating the installation, which is predominantly made out of polystyrene, using Weta Workshop-designed robotic technology as well as chainsaws to carve the pieces.
The work showcased the skill of the Weta Workshop staff, from fine artists, to building and design.
Japanese fine art sculptor Masayuki Ohashi took the workshop’s design and made it into a reality, using chainsaws to carve out the fish and Gollum pieces.
“It was a very exciting project to work on,” he said. The installation would help introduce Wellington’s film industry to the world, Taylor said. [Stuff.NZ]

I like to imagine that the construction of the new Airport Gollum was the lead news story in New Zealand every night for six months, covering every aspect if its design, construction, transport, and installation, with every breathless reporter an antipodean equivalent of Huell Howser.

“Now, tell us how you got the Gollum here down to the airport.”

“Well, we used trucks.”

“On trucks? Well that is amAYzing!”