Contest to find world's most dedicated Hobbit fans opens

The Fan Fellowship Contest, the ultimate contest to find the world’s most ardent fans of The Hobbit Trilogy, is underway with the first of a series of challenges unveiled today in New Zealand - and across the world over the next few days.

Fans can now send a postcard to director Sir Peter Jackson detailing why they should be part of a global fellowship of fans as part of their quest to journey to New Zealand, the cinematic Middle-earth, for a world-first private screening of Sir Peter’s final film in the trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies, in his hometown of Wellington.

‘Postcard to Peter’ is the first of four challenges created for The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest, which will invite up to 75 of the film trilogy's most ardent fans from around the world to travel to New Zealand for the journey of a lifetime.

The fans, along with a friend, will fly to New Zealand with Air New Zealand, the official airline to Middle-earth, arriving in early November.

Five-day journey

Once on the ground, they’ll be hosted by Tourism New Zealand and taken on a five-day journey through the locations and landscapes made famous by The Hobbit Trilogy.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says he is looking forward to welcoming The Hobbit Fan Fellowship fans to New Zealand, home of Middle-earth.

"We look forward to welcoming the lucky winners to Middle-earth, New Zealand and showing them that here, every day is a different journey, and one they will remember for the rest of their lives."

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says this competition is an exciting opportunity for Hobbit fans as well as New Zealand’s tourism industry.

"Air New Zealand has invested heavily in recent years in campaigns to market The Hobbit films and we have seen interest in New Zealand as a destination grow as a result. We hope this competition will further build on that work and encourage more people to consider a trip to the cinematic Middle-earth," says Mr Luxon.

Real Middle-earth

Fans will discover that the fantasy Middle-earth landscapes from The Hobbit Trilogy are real locations with an abundance of activities and experiences to be enjoyed.

Fans will experience a Maori cultural performance and a traditional hangi - a meal cooked underground, followed by a feast fit for a dwarf the following night at Hobbiton Movie Set - a picturesque private farm and the big-screen home of the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

No journey to Middle-earth would be complete without a visit to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital and the scene of countless battle scenes from The Hobbit Trilogy. Fans will be able to walk in the footsteps of their heroes through Paradise, visit the site of the Pillar of Kings, home of the Kawarau Bungy and relax over a coffee under the Misty Mountains at Wanaka.

Supporting the fans’ journey are New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, which will handle the worldwide theatrical distribution of The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies later this year, along with MGM in select territories.

For more information, and to enter The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest, visit TheHobbitFanContest.com

For information on New Zealand visit www.newzealand.com

About the prize

Contest winners will land in Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’, rated the third most liveable city in the world, before embarking on a specially designed itinerary to recognisable ‘filmscapes’ -the highlight being a special visit to Hobbiton, the famous movie set at the heart of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.

Now New Zealand’s fastest growing tourist attraction, Hobbiton is nestled in a working sheep farm near the small town of Matamata in the Waikato region. Fans will enjoy a private tour through the 12-acre site, with a close-up look at the 44 Hobbit homes.

The Hobbit Fan Fellowship will also visit other key film sites throughout New Zealand's Middle-earth chosen by Sir Peter Jackson for his epic trilogies and experience tourist attractions in those locations. Tourism New Zealand says this proves the stunning backdrops featured throughout both trilogies are not just fantasy but real places that holiday-makers can explore and enjoy.

The journey will end in Wellington for the ultimate film fan’s dream - a private screening of the final film, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, with Sir Peter Jackson. Fans will meet up with the famous director in his home town Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, where Sir Peter has based his filmmaking operations and which has now become a must-stop for film fans visiting the cinematic Middle-earth.

About The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Directed by Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies features a screenplay by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Jackson also produced the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh.

The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Philippa Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers. Production took place at Jackson’s own facilities in Miramar, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand. Post production took place at Park Road Post Production in Wellington.

New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Present a Wingnut Films Production, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. As with the first two films in the Trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the final film is a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.

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