Building the Future
To mark its association with nearby Hobbiton Movie Set, the Matamata Visitor & Information Centre was transformed into an iconic Gatehouse. With large round doors and a straw roof, the Gatehouse was styled to reflect Hobbition.
Construction of the Gatehouse
John Key (left) with Peter Jackson
On November 29, 2012, then Prime Minister John Key officially opened the stunning structure on the corner of Broadway and Hetana St. This coincided with the premiere in Wellington of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
The Gatehouse project was driven by the former Matamata Public Relations Association – now Chamber of Commerce – which worked for more than a year to gain approval to build a façade around the i-SITE.
The magnificent concept came courtesy of Lord of the Rings’ production designer Dan Hennah. Hobbit art director Brian Massey was project manager, with construction work undertaken by Matamata builder Darren Roa.
A tremendous community effort saw around $250,00 raised to complete the Gatehouse.
The building brings a touch of 18th century to Matamata and has become one of the most photographed buildings in the country.
Due to visitor demand, an extension was built just a year after the Gatehouse opened.
This was officially opened by then District Mayor Jan Barnes on December 11, 2013.
Delve into Matamata’s History
As such a central township, Matamata has always been a stopping point for travellers or tourists. Over the centuries many travellers have passed through the Matamata district. Flax traders, missionaries, government officials, travellers and explorers passed through the Matamata Plains on their journeys and many left records of their visits. Read about the history of the Matamata township to learn about how it has evolved from a century ago.