Weta Workshop launches Thunderbirds Are Go Experience

Another must-do experience has been added to the list for film and television fans visiting Wellington - New Zealand's creative capital - with the launch of Weta Workshop's new Thunderbirds Are Go Behind-the-Scenes Experience.

Fans of the Thunderbirds Are Go television series are now able to see and experience some of the incredible visual effects artistry behind the show in the new tourism experience that has just been opened at Weta Workshop in Wellington's Miramar film hub.

The Thunderbirds Are Go Behind-The-Scenes Experience takes guests on an exclusive tour of the authentic props, models and set pieces used in the production of the hit Pukeko Pictures and ITV television show.

Visitors to the Thunderbirds Are Go Behind-The-Scenes Experience will see a selection of the concept art that Weta Workshop designers created - and continue to create - for the popular television series, now in season two production. The 45-minute guided tour also features scale models used as the filming sets for Tracy Island, the Thunderbird Hangers, and Creighton Ward Manor.

Filming for the second season is underway now in Miramar, and the miniatures that visitors will discover on the tour are the same ones used on set. A shooting stage has been incorporated into the tour to provide a fascinating glimpse at the tricks of the trade used to bring this highly detailed world to the screen.

Thunderbirds Are Go, the contemporary retelling of the beloved 1960s TV show, features a blend of digital characters and physical sets, with the iconic vehicles and aircraft being a mix of the two. This unique approach keeps the show true to its lineage while giving filmmakers the ability to incorporate enthralling action sequences and a wider range of character emotions and movements.

Weta Workshop CEO and co-founder, Richard Taylor has long been a fan of the original show, which inspired his filmmaking career.

“My life-long fascination with model making and practical film effects was born of the Thunderbirds and other shows like it. So it has been terrific to have been involved in the design and manufacture of what you’ll see on this tour.”

The new experience complements the hugely popular Weta Cave and Weta Cave Workshop Tour experiences which attract tens of thousands of visitors every year. Film fans can also take film tours to The Lord of the Rings locations throughout Wellington, including Mount Victoria, where principal photography began on the first trilogy back in 1999.

The Thunderbirds Are Go Behind-The-Scenes Experience is open every day excluding Christmas Day, with a new tour departing every half hour from 9.00am – 5.15pm.

Bookings can be made online at www.wetaworkshop.com, at the Weta Cave Shop, or at the Wellington i-SITE in Civic Square. Tours depart from the Weta Cave Shop, 1 Weka Street, Miramar.

Weta Workshop

Miramar's Weta Cave - a mini-museum and shop front of the world famous, Oscar-winning Weta Workshop - is a compulsory stop for film fans.

Listed at the top of Wellington must-sees by Lonely Planet, Weta Cave offers an exclusive insight into the depth of creativity and imagination that goes into crafting the art of Weta. The mini-museum includes a small theatre showing a behind-the-scenes video of life at Weta, and Weta art to take home as souvenirs.

Visitors can experience a behind-the-scenes look into the inner workings of Weta Studios with a guided tour of the Weta Workshop exhibition space. The tour includes close-ups of props and models created by Weta over the years and insights into some of the ground-breaking processes used to create the magic of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.

Sir Richard Taylor - the man behind Weta Workshop

Sir Richard Taylor is the creative force - co-founder and co-director - behind world renowned Weta Workshop which provided the special effects wizardry of the blockbuster The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies, and a raft of successful movie and television productions seen in New Zealand and internationally.

His credits to date include five Oscars, four BAFTAs and a raft of other international entertainment awards - including numerous achievements for Weta’s success in the disciplines of make-up, costume and visual effects.

Taylor’s wide-ranging talent is about turning fantasy into reality, and his ever expanding portfolio of creations includes everything from larger-than-life monsters to amazing costume designs, high tech prosthetics, intricate models, sculpture and collector’s pieces.

In New Zealand, he’s also a local hero - honoured with a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2010, and named the 2012 New Zealander of the Year.

About Wellington

Named on BBC’s Hottest Cities and Rough Guide’s Top 10 Cities for 2015, Wellington has been labelled the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet and a ‘locavore’s dream’ by Vogue. Celebrated as the country’s creative and culinary capital, Wellington is nestled between two of New Zealand’s finest wine regions and packed with creators, doers and lovers of life with a contagious energy and passion for their part of the world. Loved locally for its dining culture, accessible waterfront, city markets, walking and biking trails, and some of the best coffee and craft beer on the planet, the compact central city is home to a thriving tech scene and vibrant street culture. Major attractions include the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, behind-the-scenes tours at Oscar-winning Weta Workshop, the historic Wellington Cable Car and globally recognised Zealandia eco-sanctuary.

Travel Tips

The Weta Workshop is a 15 minute drive from downtown Wellington or 5 minutes from Wellington International Airport.