Martin Freeman’s partner, actress Amanda Abbington, has taken the couple's two children, Joe and Grace, to New Zealand to watch their father portray Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit.
Before the cast and crew could begin filming, they had to be welcomed onto Maori soil.
“It was sacred ground,” Abbington said, “so before they could start filming we had this thing called a ‘powhiri’ where the Maoris accept you into their family.”
Sir Ian McKellen gave a speech at the foot of the mountain “about how actors are a tribe of people as well, who don't recognise colour, creed or religion. They're just thrown together.
“That's what it's like over here. You've got loads of people from all over the world coming in and it's like a lovely family. We came back a few weeks ago and it's just like coming home.”