Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wellywood - Day 7

A full 8+ hours of sleep was very nice!  I had to check out by 10am because of my booking snafu, but it worked out fine because Te Papa (the National Museum) doesn't open until 10am.  I headed there with Don, Andy (not the tour guide), Michelle, and Irwan for a morning visit before our Wellington tour with the rest of the group.

It's a very large, well done museum, but with only a few hours we certainly didn't manage to see everything.  We spend a lot of our time in the exhibit on Galipoli, which meant we then had to rush through most of the other sections.  Lucky me, I have several more days in Wellington, and the museum is free, so I will absolutely be coming back to finish the Galipoli exhibit and see some others we skipped.

It was raining all day, so I'm glad I brought my rain coat on this trip.  We made a drive up to Mount Victoria where there is a nice lookout spot.  Unfortunately for us, because o the weather the view wasn't as lovely as it would be on other days.  Wellington is incredibly windy, which when coupled with the rain, doesn't make for fun outdoor activities.

We did get to see several things from the warm, dry bus though, so it was ok.  Our main stop of the day was the Weta Groups workshop.  Prior to the visit I had no idea what Weta was, but Wellington, sometimes nicknamed Wellywood, is known for movie making in New Zealand.  Once again, if I had been a Lord of the Rings fan, or into film making in general, I might have heard of them prior to this trip.

Those in the film industry know Weta quite well, the list of projects on which they have worked is incredibly impressive!  If you're interested, you can see the list here.  I had chosen not to do the tour of their workshop, but those of us who had not got to watch a short documentary on how they do what they do, and how the whole group originated.  It was fascinating, even for someone like me who isn't into most of the sci-fi or non-reality type of movies on which they often work.  The technical aspects of what they do and create, along with their costume and prop departments, certainly employ some very talented and creative individuals.  While chatting with one of the employees, while waiting for the documentary to start, I learned that Weta had done the sculptures in the Galipoli exhibit we had visited at Te Papa.  He said the exhibit is the largest one ever done by Te Papa and they are hoping to have it travel to some other commonwealth countries that took part in the campaign (such as India, Britain, and Australia).

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