New Zealand’s capital is in the grip of Hobbit-fever.
Pointy-eared fans of the Tolkien fantasy took over Wellington for the premiere of Peter Jackson’s latest epic movie The Hobbit.
At the city’s airport, the Bilbo-Baggage appeared to emerge from the very bowels of Middle-Earth itself.
Airline stewards were transformed into Elf and Safety officials.
The national airline arrived with a specially Hobbi-fied Boeing 777, adorned with what it claimed was the biggest aircraft sticker ever.
It had brought many of the stars of the film, which is the first of a planned trilogy.
New Zealand has adopted The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as national treasures ever since Jackson began making his movies there 12 years ago.
The production has been at the centre of several controversies, including a union dispute in 2010 that led to the government changing employment law.
The first film of the Hobbit series is set 60 years before The Lord of the Rings and was originally planned as just two films, until the producers decided there was enough material for a third.
The follow-up is due out in December of next year, and the final movie is scheduled for release in the middle of 2014.
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