Meet three diehard Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit fans.
Amy Reid has seen The Desolation of Smaug 15 times at the cinema. In the 37.5 hours she has spent in a theatre seat, a tourist could fly halfway round the world from London to Auckland, get eight hours sleep, drive to Matamata and then take a two hour tour of Hobbiton.
She is planning a Middle Earth themed tattoo to celebrate the release of the final Hobbit film and estimates she’s spent thousands of dollars on Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film activities including travelling to Sydney just to meet the voice of Smaug, Benedict Cumberbatch.
Stepping away from the red carpet onto the pavement, 14-year-old Kimberley Collins walked around some half-constructed stands in front of Wellington’s Embassy theatre that were being built for the premiere of The Return of the King. It was her first trip away from home without her family and like a good kid she wanted to check in with her parents.
But as her hand touched the payphone a piece of steel dropped from the stands above, crushing her head and neck into her torso.
Kimberly came to in an ambulance, screaming, crying, and trying to escape because she hadn’t met Billy Boyd. A doctor at Wellington hospital armed her with a couple of Panadol, and $2 to catch the bus back to Courtenay Place and she arrived just in time to see Billy Boyd walk past.
Twelve years later, Kimberly says she can’t remember much else from that trip but the fracture in her neck has healed and she met Billy Boyd on one of his later visits to New Zealand.
In 2004 Leander Schulz lied to his parents about why he had to go to New Zealand on a high school exchange from Germany and “borrowed” his mum’s ID to buy a replica sword online.
The One Ring replica given to him by his Grandma has stayed around his neck since that trip and he now calls New Zealand home.