The Lord of the Rings Exhibition

The Lord of the Rings Exhibition has returned to Te Papa after its world tour. Its return evokes memories of “Wellywood” days when film crews and camera trucks were a common sight on the streets of Wellington while the trilogy of films was being produced.

If you saw the exhibition of movie memorabilia when it first appeared, then its probably worth shelling out the shekels to see it again, as over half of the exhibits are new.

There’s material from the third film, “The Return of the King” and additional material from the two earlier productions. The star attraction has to be the massive model of Minas Tirith presented with intricate detail. Take a few minutes to look for the washing on clothes lines, battlements under repair, and winches set into the ramparts to lift goods between the city’s levels.

Most of the displays have video features associated with them, providing commentary on the “who, how and why” aspects of the displayed item. The video features usually require interaction from the audience to select one of about three clips to view. This means that you’ll need five or more minutes to view the full set at each location.

The entire exhibition is now so large that it is easy to get lost, especially after leaving the room where the ring is on display. There are two parallel halls where the first-rate artwork competes with models of orcs, trolls and cities. However, there are several doorways allowing passage between the two, and the opportunity to double back and rejoin the stream of humanity wending its way past the models.

There’s plenty of other material at Te Papa if you’re visiting as a group and not everyone is interested in LOTR memorabilia.

The Awesome Forces geological exhibition has plenty to interest the first-time visitor, including the opportunity to experience a simulation of the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake inside a house if you’re feeling a bit bereft after the recent lull in our seismic activity.

However, the exhibits are in need of a bit of a revamp to encourage people to pop back again, and could perhaps take a leaf from the LOTR exhibition. Imagine what the gang from Weta Workshop could do if they were unleashed on Awesome Forces!

As for the lull in earthquake activity, it’s over. In the past few days, earthquakes near Seddon, Murchison, Te Anau, Wellington and Waipukurau indicate that our piece of the plate boundary is again taking up its share of the strain as the tectonic plates collide.

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