Weta Cave Celebrates 10th Anniversary

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On Sunday, Weta Workshop’s world-famous tourism hub, retail store, and mini museum opened its doors to celebrate ten years in business – heralded by the proverbial popping of corks and the very real munching of cake. 

Included in the celebrations: appearances from friends and crew of Weta over the years, including Middle-earth calligraphy and signings by senior Weta Workshop artists Daniel Reeve and Daniel Falconer; meticulous metal-work by assistant swordsmith Christopher Menges; and the main event: the cutting of the 10th Anniversary cake by Weta co-founders Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger.

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There was plenty to celebrate. Born out of Richard and Tania’s desire to give the carloads of curious Lord of the Rings fans a peek at Weta’s work, the Weta Cave opened its doors in 2008 to footpath-clogging fanfare, quickly becoming an iconic Wellington tourism destination and a fixture of the blossoming Miramar film precinct.  In 2012, Weta Studio Tours was born, launching with the flagship Weta Cave Workshop Tour and rapidly expanding its stable of offerings to include Chinese language tours, bespoke events, high-end personal tours, and the Miniatures Stage Tour – showcasing the incredible Weta Workshop-built sets from the hit show Thunderbirds Are Go.

The response from the local and international community has been incredible. The Weta Cave now greets more than 150,000 people through its tours each year, with many more stepping through its doors to check out the Cave’s Weta-crafted retail range; browse the mini museum packed full of artefacts from the movies; and take a seat for a short documentary about the origins of Weta’s movie magic – free to the public. On hand to share the Workshop’s story with the thousands of fans each year: an enthusiastic staff of 35, many of whom celebrated with visitors on Sunday. To cap the event, Richard and Tania sealed a special Weta Cave time capsule for posterity.

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From the many locals who popped in, to the cosplayers, international tourists, and the curious, Richard and Tania thank all who attended and made the day so incredibly special. Here's to the next ten years!

10th Anniversary Competition - Answers Revealed

Those hungry for more than just a slice of Weta cake, had something else to look forward to. For a shot at winning a special one-of-a-kind Weta Collecta box full of rare Weta goodies, entrants were invited to walk down memory lane with the Workshop crew. Those who answered all ten of our brain busting questions correctly (or got 10 points overall) went into the draw to win.

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We had an overwhelming number of entries! But in the end, there can only be two winners. A huge congratulations to Luke Martin and Sharon Whittaker, our deserving recipients! Luke won the online portion, and Sharon took home the in-store prize. Thanks so much to all who entered - we hope you had fun!

Check your answers below...

Day 1 - 2008

Q: The Weta Cave opened in 2008. But when did we launch our first tour? 

A: 2012. Our flagship Weta Cave Workshop Tour was the public's very first glimpse into a converted area of Weta Workshop, full of props, weapons, costumes and more incredible artefacts.

Day 2 - 2009

Q: In 2009 came Avatar, featuring tons of Weta Workshop-made costumes, props, vehicles & more. But how many weapons did we make for the film?

A: Approx. 300!

Day 3 - 2010

Q: Name a charity or cause that Richard & Tania support?

A: Richard and Tania have been involved with numerous worthy causes over the years; so much so, that it would take a separate blog post to detail each one! However most entries correctly identified that Richard and Tania are proud supporters of The Neonatal Trust, providing support to families of premature or sick full term babies. All correct answers to this question received 1 point.

Day 4 - 2011

Q: Our crew had the proud honour of building this exacting miniature. But what project was it for?

A: Tangiwai: A Love Story. 

Day 5 - 2012

Q: How many tonnes of silicone were used during the production of The Hobbit? 

A: Roughly 4 tonnes were used in the creation of the prosthetics.

Day 6 - 2013

Q: Name another Middle-earth character we created for our capital's airport?

A: Smaug, Gollum, Gandalf - we've made all three of these larger than life characters for Wellington International Airport.

Day 7 - 2014

Q: It's 2014, & the crew are busy filming our hand-made miniatures for Thunderbirds Are Go. Name our production partner here on the Peninsula?

A: Pukeko Pictures.

Day 8 - 2015

Q: Cathy "Tree" Harris is shown here with our Cherub for the Yuletide horror movie, Krampus. Name another character we worked on?

A: Weta Workshop made numerous characters for Krampus - everyone who answered correctly at least once received a point! Some of our most popular guesses were the Dark Elf, Teddy, and Krampus himself - all among those correct.

Day 9 - 2016

Q: Gallipoli: The scale of our war greeted its one millionth visitor in 2016. This award-winning collaboration with Te Papa Museum features 8 hyper-real sculptures crafted by the Weta Workshop crew. How big are those sculptures?

A: 2.4 times human size.

Day 10 - 2017

Q: Our 2017 photo shows the monolithic LAPD miniature we made for Blade Runner 2049. Earlier this year, our miniatures team was delighted to receive an award for their efforts. What was that award?

A: The Visual Effects Society (VES) Award for Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project - awarded to Alex Funke, Christopher Menges, Steven Saunders, and Joaquin Loyzaga.

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