West Ham United’s Kiwi defender Winston Reid at Weta Workshop
Nolan – in New Zealand for the Football United Tour – was so impressed with the tour of the creative hub that he hailed it as the favourite part of his visit to the country.
Like Newcastle on Thursday, West Ham were given the chance to experience the film-star sparkle of Wellington from a unique perspective during some rare team downtime.
Players, including Winston Reid, Mark Nobel and Daniel Potts, played around with the gigantic trolls that stand guard over the entrance to Weta Cave.
Even West Ham manager Sam Allardyce got in on the action, wielding a large replica sword for the cameras before the team were given a tour through Weta Cave, learning more about the intricate detail that goes into bringing award-winning movies like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit trilogies and King Kong to life.
After a walk through the Weta Workshop, the team moved on to Park Road Post where they met two-time Academy award-winning sound engineer Michael Hedges.
Hedges, who won Oscars for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and King Kong, wowed the team by allowing them get up close and personal with his Oscar, setting off a flurry of photo opps with the heavy statuette.
Kevin Nolan and midfielder Mark Noble were both elated after their Weta visit – agreeing it was fantastic experience.
“I think it’s probably been the best part of the tour,” Nolan said. “It’s really interesting to see what goes into making these films. You don’t understand how much work goes into just the one film. I’m really impressed.”
The team, who’ve been to the movies in New Zealand to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Transformers: Age of Extinction, found the Weta visit was an eye-opening experience providing a unique insight into the inner workings of the film world.
“I really enjoyed it,” Noble said. “You won’t get to hold an Oscar every day and to see what goes on in the films and how much work goes into them before you can even watch them at the cinema – it’s incredible.”
After a whirlwind tour of New Zealand – which has included team training sessions, a game against Wellington Phoenix at Auckland’s Eden Park and visits to the Auckland Sky Tower – Noble said it was “nice to see another side of New Zealand.”
Located in the creative hub of Miramar in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, Weta Cave and Workshop is one the city’s biggest tourist attractions.
Wellington – also known as ‘Wellywood’ in recognition of the international success of the local film industry – is home to some of the most creative minds in the modern film industry, including Wellington-born Sir Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Ringsand The Hobbit Trilogies.