When Peter Jackson began to look for suitable locations for The Lord of the Rings film series, he first saw the family run farm, Alexander Farm in 1998 and concluded that the area was “like a slice of ancient England”. The Alexander family moved to the 1,200-acre in 1978. Since then it has been a livestock ranch with sheep and Angus beef cattle.
After suitable negotiations with the owners, work commenced in transforming part of the farm into sets for Hobbiton and other parts of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Shire in March 1999.
Work included building the facades for 37 hobbit holes and associated gardens and hedges, a mill and double arch bridge, and erecting a big oak above Bag End that had been growing near Matamata and which was cut down and recreated on site complete with artificial leaves. Thatch on the pub and mill roofs was made from rushes growing on the farm. Generators were installed and water and sewerage also had to be considered.