Lord of the Rings fans turned away from set

Hundreds of Lord of the Rings fans are being turned away from one of the sets in New Zealand.

Hundreds of Lord of the Rings fans are being turned away from one of the sets in New Zealand.

Around 20 people each day make the trip to Matamata wanting to see Hobbiton, the home of the hobbits filmed on Ian Alexander's Hinuera farm.

A contract prevents him from benefiting from the film and therefore turning the set into a tourist attraction.

Despite the wrangle, Tourism New Zealand promotes Matamata as an attraction in its international campaign featuring New Zealand as the 'real' Middle Earth.

Mr Alexander's son, Russell, said: "It may be our farm, but the movie company still owns the set so it's up to them."

Both sides are discussing the contract's fine print. In the meantime the closest tourists can get is taking photographs beside the town's "Welcome to Hobbiton" sign.

Tourists Jayms and Emma Carter from Birmingham, detoured to include Matamata in their journey. "We were told in Taupo we couldn't see the set but we'd heard rumours you could," said Mr Carter. "It's a bit of a shame if it's just wrangling over a contract."

Lord of the Rings publicist Melissa Booth said the Hobbiton set was a unique situation because it's the only site in the country where there are remains of a set. "We weren't expecting so much interest so soon," Ms Booth said.

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