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About Wētā Workshop
What does Wētā Workshop do?
We design and manufacture cool stuff for the world’s creative industries. We’re best known for making props, weapons, armour, costumes, miniatures and more for The Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy.
What sort of projects do you work on?
We work across the world’s creative industries, including film, TV, education, LBE, tourism, consumer products, and more. We’ve even worked on children’s playgrounds. If it’s creatively exciting, we want to know about it!
What’s the difference between “physical effects” and “visual effects”?
A physical effect is a real, tactile object, whereas visual effects are digital (such as CGI). Almost every film and television show uses physical or visual effects in some way.
Wētā Workshop makes physical effects. These include things like costumes, weapons, armour, vehicles, models and miniatures, special make-up FX, and much, much more.
Do you make movies?
No. We help to design and make the cool stuff that you see in the movie. Things like the props, costumes, worlds, characters, vehicles, armour, weapons, miniatures, and more.
What is the difference between Wētā Workshop and Weta Digital?
Wētā Workshop specializes in concept design and manufacture for the world’s creative industries. We make physical items like props and costumes for movies, public art sculptures, exhibitions, collectibles, and much more.
Weta Digital specializes in digital visual effects and computer generated imagery (CGI) for movies and television shows. Though we share the name “Wētā”, we are two separate companies who operate independently of each other.
What role does Richard Taylor have at Wētā Workshop?
Richard Taylor is our co-founder, CEO, and creative director. After more than 30 years, he is still very much a part of the making and creativity that happens in the workshop. In fact, he has a hand in every project that enters our design and manufacture pipeline! When he’s not travelling for business, Richard can be found daily on the workshop floor, sleeves rolled.
Where are you based?
Wētā Workshop is based on the Miramar Peninsula in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. We’re just five minutes from Wellington International Airport, and ten minutes from the CBD.
Although our workshop is in New Zealand, we work with clients all over the world, from concept to delivery.
I want Wētā Workshop to speak at / attend my event.
We love to share our work with others. Contact us at [email protected] to talk further.
What shows / conventions do you attend?
We attend many different conventions in the USA, Europe, Australia, and more, including San Diego Comic-Con every year. For the latest news on where to find us, sign up to our mailing list.
I’ve got a question for Peter Jackson.
For all enquiries relating to Peter Jackson and WingNut Films, please contact [email protected]
What is a ‘wētā’?
The Wētā is an indigenous New Zealand insect. This creature has been on the Earth since the time of the dinosaur and has remained unchanged for millions of years. The Māori (the indigenous people of New Zealand) call this amazing bug ‘Wētāpunga’ which means ‘God of ugly things’. In our opinion, the Wētā is the coolest little monster in the world. Making it a very fitting name for a company that, among other things, makes monsters for a living!
What does the word WĒTĀ stand for?
Nothing! We take our name from the iconic wētā bug, a fascinating New Zealand insect.
How do I find out about tours?
Head to tours.wetaworkshop.com to find out more and book.
Do I need to book in advance?
We recommend you book your tour at least three days in advance, especially in the high season (November to May).
How do I book a tour?
You can book all of our tours at tours.wetaworkshop.com
Will I get to walk through Wētā Workshop?
Because of studio restrictions, we can’t take people through the workshop floor itself – sorry! Our tours take place in converted sections of the workshop, getting you as close as possible to the action.
Are your tours wheelchair accessible?
Yes, our tours are wheelchair friendly. If you would like to discuss any specific concerns, please contact [email protected].
Can I take photos?
Unfortunately we do not allow photography on the Wētā Cave Workshop Tour. However, we encourage to take photos on the Miniatures Stage Tour.
What are your opening hours?
We are open 9am to 5.30pm, 7 days a week (closed Christmas Day).
What is the Wētā Cave?
The Wētā Cave is our much-loved retail store and the meeting place for our two flagship tours. You can find it at 1 Weka Street, Miramar, Wellington.
I’ve got a question about your collectibles. Who should I talk to?
Be sure to check out our Support Centre. We might have answered your question already!
Do you make your collectibles at the workshop?
All our collectibles are developed or designed here at Wētā Workshop by our dedicated team of artisans, craftspeople, and production staff. We then work with trusted manufacturing partners in China to put these beautiful collectibles into production.
How do I contact customer service?
Our customer service team are always happy to help. Get in touch.
Clients and collaborators
When should I involve Wētā Workshop in my project?
We work with clients at any stage of a creative project. Many clients engage us at the very earliest stages, to help them come up with – and then shape – ‘the big idea’. Others engage us at the conceptual design or manufacture stage. Have a chat to us about your needs.
I’ve got a product / service that I’d like to pitch to the Workshop. Who should I contact?
If you’d like to let us know about your product, service, or idea, get in touch with us at [email protected].
Does Wētā Workshop do private commissions?
We take on creative projects of many sizes and scales. We are always happy to hear about potential exciting projects. Give us a bell at [email protected].
I’ve got an idea / treatment for a film script.
Sorry, but Wētā Workshop doesn’t make films. We suggest you get in touch with a studio or filmmaker to start making your story a reality!
How do I contact you about a project?
We’re always interested in learning about exciting creative projects. Give us a bell at [email protected].
Will you donate to my charity?
Unfortunately, we aren’t able to help everyone, as much as we would like to. But we are always happy to consider donation and sponsorship queries. Please email [email protected]
I want to use an image from your site or one of the projects you’ve worked on.
Contact us at [email protected]. We’re happy to help.
How long have you been making cool stuff?
Wētā Workshop was founded by Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger in 1987. We officially became known as Wētā Workshop in 1993. We’ve been making cool stuff for over 30 years!
What are some of your most notable projects?
We are known for contributing props, weapons, costumes, vehicles, armour, miniatures, and much more to a variety of wonderful projects including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit motion picture trilogies, Blade Runner 2049, Ghost in the Shell, Thunderbirds Are Go, and The Chronicles of Narnia – to name just a few. Most recently, we crafted the robot suit for I Am Mother, helped create the award-winning exhibition Gallipoli: The scale of our war, and manufactured weapons and armour for Disney’s Mulan.
What scale of projects do you work on – big budget or indie?
We take on projects of any size, scope, or scale. From bespoke, one-off suits and low-budget indie films to big budget blockbusters and entire armies, exhibitions and displays at monumental scale.
How do I get a job at Wētā Workshop?
Check out our dedicated recruitment site for the latest job opportunities.
How do I break into the industry?
We employ all sorts of talented, tenacious individuals from all over the world, each with wildly different backgrounds, experience, and skills. It’s not necessarily about having an official qualification. To us, the most important attributes are passion, tenacity, enthusiasm, and talent – in that order. Work at your craft every day, learn as much as you can from the folks who work in your desired field, and keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities. You never know where they might lead.
Can I intern at Wētā Workshop?
We don’t usually offer internships, as we prefer to offer jobs instead! However, you can always check our dedicated recruitment site for opportunities.
Do you run art competitions?
Wētā Workshop occasionally collaborates with like-minded companies to offer art and design competitions. You can keep up to date on Facebook or Twitter.
Do you run workshops or classes?
We currently offer a Masters of Design – Wētā Workshop School at Massey University here in Wellington, New Zealand. Head to our website to find out more.
Get in touch
Still got a question?