The Hobbit - Wellington airport welcomes giant statue of Gollum

A 13m-high Smeagol has taken up residence in one of New Zealand's main terminals to celebrate the upcoming release of the Tolkien adaptation

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The Hobbit - Wellington airport welcomes giant statue of Gollum
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New Zealand has been gripped by Hobbit fever ahead of the release of Peter Jackson's latest film - and the most recent addition to the Middle Earth celebrations is larger than life...

To mark the film's much-anticipated premiere in Wellington, a giant statue of Gollum - the creepy cave dwelling creature played by British actor Andy Serkis - has been installed in the city's airport terminal, looming above the waiting passengers below.

Built by Japanese artist Masayuki Ohashi out of polystyrene and resin, it took three nights to construct. 

CEO of the airport Steve Sanderson said of the statue: "Everyone will be amazed when they enter the terminal."

And that much is definitely true - at a whopping thirteen metres long and three metres high, the giant sculpture of Gollum attempting to catch fish wth his bare hands could come as something of a shock to weary or jet lagged visitors!

An Unexpected Journey, the first part of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy - which also stars Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen - gets its world premiere in Wellington on 28 November, before being released globally on 14 December.

So far, the capital of New Zealand has reportedly spent over $1 million to celebrate the premiere. Other celebrations include the decision to rename Wellington The Middle of Middle-Earth and to release Hobbit coins as legal tender. 

The Hobbit will be released in UK cinemas on 14 December 2012.