Weta Workshop is a special effects and prop company in Miramar, Wellington.
Weta Cave is a mini-museum / shop attached to Weta Workshop premises. The best is that it is is free to visit.
The shops sells a wide range range of collectables and merchandise from small items, such as magnets and stationary, to large scale replica’s of props from films Weta has worked on.
The mini-museum includes props from films including The Chronicles of Narnia, District 9, The Hobbit trilogy, King Kong, Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Meet the Feebles.
A short behind-the-scenes documentary on Weta Workshop screens in the theatre every 30 minutes.
Weta Cave is the departure point for two ticketed tours – Weta Cave Workshop Tour and Miniatures Stage Tour: Thunderbirds a Go. During the peak tourist season it is probably best to purchase your tickets online. I have read of tours being sold out when people have visited.
I did a combo tour but they also offer an evening tour with a three-course dinner and a Saturday hands-on experience with a Weta Workshop crew member. Check out the Weta Workshops’s Tours page for more information.
The Weta Workshop Tour is a 45 minute guided tour of Weta Workshop.
The tour moves through various rooms learning about the different prop and costume making processes. It is very interactive, there is opportunities to handle various materials and there is one area set up with various stations where you can touch the various products Weta uses.
Photographs are not allowed to be taken except for the last part of the tour where a Weta Workshop technician is working on a stage area.
When I visited a technician was working on miniatures for a private commission. Weta was designing a miniature village with approximately 50 models for a client’s pet guinea pigs to live in.
The Miniatures Stage Tour: Thunderbirds a Go is a 45 minute guided tour of the miniatures shooting stages for the television series Thunderbirds a Go.
A van will transport guests from Weta Cave to Pukeko Pictures studios, which is located around the corner on Park Road.
The tour covers the history of the original 1960s Thunderbirds television series, the concept art for the new series, and a look at some of the household objects used to make the miniatures (or bigatures as they are called at Weta).
The highlight is the scale models of Tracy Island, Creighton Ward Manor, and the Thunderbird Hangers used for filming.
As the same with the Weta Workshop Tour photographs are only allowed to be taken at the end. There is a Thunderbirds a Go set that has been especially built for the tour.
While at Pukeko Pictures look across the road to Park Road Post, the post production facility owned by Peter Jackson’s production company Wingnut Films.
As I mentioned Weta Cave, which includes the mini-museum, gift shop and short documentary is free to visit. There is plenty to see even if you don’t go on a tour.
Weta Cave is located on the corner of Weka Street and Camperdown Road, Miramar, Wellington. It is open 7 days (except Christmas Day) from 9am to 5:30pm.