18 Nov 2012

Gandalf statue raised ahead of Hobbit premiere

10:06 pm on 18 November 2012

A big polystyrene sculpture using 600 grass skirts, thousands of bamboo skewers and 150 litres of paint has gone up on Wellington's Embassy Theatre.

It is part of preparations for the world premiere of The Hobbit movie which will be held at the theatre on the 28th of this month.

Gandalf stands 9.4 metres tall.

Gandalf stands 9.4 metres tall. Photo: RNZ

Four builders worked for four weeks and three sculptors for 500 hours to create the piece.

It depicts Gandalf the wizard outside the door to Bilbo Baggins house.

The production designer for the movie Dan Hennah also designed the sculpture and says it's built to endure the Wellington weather.

He says Gandalf stands 9.4 metres tall and the greatest challenge was working out how a piece that big could go up in a public space.

The sculpture was installed in five sections without a hitch except for a short delay for rain.

Hundreds of imported grass skirts make up the foliage around the hobbit's door and trolley bus cables were realigned to accommodate the installation.

The Embassy Theatre has installed a new sound system, screens with 3D technology, new projectors and new carpet ahead of the premiere.