The Press
May 20, 2001

Magic in the Making
Staff Reporter

Landscaper Andrew Kolff has fallen under a spell after working on Lord of the Rings. His job of creating a 600-year-old landscape has left him enchanted, finds Mary Lovell-Smith.

7.30am: Mid-winter. It's dark. The sun won't rise over the mountains for another hour and a half. The temperature is minus 14deg. The workers of Rohan pull their jackets more tightly around them, a futile gesture in face of the gale swirling up from the deep south. Wind-chill factor? No-one bothers even estimating it. What's the point? There is a job to be done, and who knows the consequences should they fail.

His fingers, numb with cold, fumble around the hefty stone he is placing in the rock wall. Andrew Kolff has left his wife and young son asleep in their snug Methven cottage, to drive for nearly two hours through some of the most rugged terrain he has encountered in his 32 years. It will be another 12 hours till he will see them again.

The snow on the tops of the craggy mountains surrounding him are washed in pink. The sun is coming. He sniffs the air deeply and detects a whiff of the hearty breakfast – bacon and eggs? sausages and beans? – the chef is preparing in the prefabricated canteen.

Around him the town of Edoras is rising slowly but surely through the rocky plateau of Mount Sunday at the head of the Rangitata River in Mid Canterbury. Above the scrape of his shovel on the frozen ground he can hear muffled hammers, shouts, and footfalls as the small army of construction workers go about their business.

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