Hobbit Fan Fellowship: Middle-earth fans on 'The Hobbit' dream journey

A company of the world’s most passionate and dedicated Hobbit fans are about to set off on an unexpected adventure – travelling through New Zealand on a real life Middle-earth experience.

Topping off their dream journey, the fans will have the opportunity to meet celebrated New Zealand film director Sir Peter Jackson and watch a preview screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies at his private studios in Wellington – four weeks ahead of the official première in London.

The fan journey sets off as global anticipation builds for the 11 December release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, a New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM) - the third and final film in the filmmaker’s epic The Hobbit Trilogy.

Watching the latest fantasy unfold on screen is destined to be extra meaningful for the fans who will have just visited some of the real filming locations Sir Peter chose for The Hobbit Trilogy.

Fan Fellowship Contest

The lucky Hobbit fans from 25 countries are the winners of the global Fan Fellowship Contest run by Warner Bros, Air New Zealand - the official airline of Middle-earth - and Tourism New Zealand, the government tourism body responsible for hosting the fans in New Zealand.

An incredible 140,000-plus people from approximately 30 countries registered for the Fan Fellowship Contest, to find the most ardent fans of The Hobbit Trilogy. They were required to complete a series of Hobbit-related challenges including sending a postcard to Sir Peter Jackson explaining why they belonged in the Fan Fellowship, answering a Hobbit-themed quiz and supplying a video message sharing their passion for all things Hobbit-related.

Each of the winners was allowed to choose a fellow fan to share their once-in-a-lifetime journey which begins when they step aboard an Air New Zealand aircraft bound for Middle-earth. The fans will arrive in Auckland on 2 November and embark on a five-day expedition.

Real Middle-earth locations

The journey will visit locations and see landscapes made famous by both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies throughout New Zealand’s North and South Islands. The journey will show fans that the backdrops they’ve seen on the big screen are real locations they can experience as part of their holiday.

In Wellington, fans will meet Sir Peter Jackson at his private studios for the preview of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

As the massive battles of the Trilogy’s epic conclusion unfold on screen, the fans may recognise some of the places they’ve just visited - filming locations where Sir Peter and his filmmaking team captured the character and sweeping beauty of Middle-earth in adapting the timeless masterpiece for the screen.

Four New Zealanders are among up to 75 global winners of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest.

Winner Ash Meredith, from Wellington, said it was going “ to be amazing to meet fellow Hobbit fanatics from all over the globe right in my own back yard.”

Follow the lucky winners of the Hobbit Fan Fellowship on their real Middle-earth journey from 2 November at #Hobbitfancontest

About the Hobbit Fan Fellowship journey

The multi-national Fan Fellowship will fly in to Auckland, rated the third most liveable city in the world, and travel on to Rotorua, New Zealand’s famous, long-standing tourist destination, where they will be welcomed with a Māori cultural performance and traditional hangi banquet (cooked in an authentic underground oven).

Their next stop will be the Hobbiton Movie Set near Matamata in the Waikato region for a private tour of the picturesque shire which is the big-screen home of Bilbo Baggins.

Fans will be treated to feast fit for any Dwarf before continuing their journey to Queenstown in the South Island the following day.

Queenstown is New Zealand’s adventure capital and the scene of countless battle scenes from The Hobbit Trilogy. The Fan Fellowship will not only have the chance to walk in the footsteps of their heroes through Paradise but also visit the site of the Pillar of Kings, home of the Kawerau Bungy and zipline.

The journey will end in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city and Sir Peter’s home town, for the private screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Better known as ‘Wellywood’, Wellington is the home of Sir Peter’s filmmaking operations, which has become a must-stop for film fans visiting New Zealand.

The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Journey will be recorded by a group of 40 - 50 high-profile international and New Zealand media who will capture the highlights for global television, print and online outlets.

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.