Home / Blog / A 12 Year-Old Went to Wētā Workshop Unleashed. Here’s what they thought!

A 12 Year-Old Went to Wētā Workshop Unleashed. Here’s what they thought!

The October school holidays are fast approaching and we’re hoping (really, really hoping) that we can get the kiddos out and about for a few days – even perhaps to some Auckland events? Did we just jinx it…

Whenever it is that we can roam free once more, one must-do, tween-friendly event in Auckland is Wētā Workshop Unleashed (if we do say so ourselves). 

It’s the kind of left-of-centre, quirky fun and magic that every preteen with a vibrant imagination deserves. Particularly after weeks in Alert Level 4 and 3 lockdowns. Fresh from the minds of Wētā Workshop, it’ll deliver a few hours of eccentric creative thinking in the city, with all sorts of other amenities at your fingertips for before and after the tour.

But don’t take our word for it! We’ve gone straight to the source for a review: Brendan the 12-Year-Old Blogger / Self-Professed SFX Enthusiast, who may or may not be entirely made up, will give you all the highlights of Wētā Workshop Unleashed from his perspective. 

Read on for his not-boring-adult thoughts about our latest gem. 

40I1079 250820 1

There’s an actual real robot thing that moves for real!

Okay, so, after Mum passed round our tickets while we were in the Wētā Workshop Gift Shop, we went and lined up outside the Unleashed doors. 

And our tour guide gave us a bit of a speech about what to expect from the tour, like there might be a large, purple monster roaming free to keep an eye out for. My sister totally fell for it, but I didn’t believe him. Honest.

Anyway, so we get in there and there’s A BIG ANIMATRONIC DUDE WITH HAIR AND IT TALKS AND MOVES AND EVERYTHING and you can tell it’s totally made by Wētā Workshop because it kind of looks like it would fit into Dark Crystal, you know? Total highlight for me right at the start of Wētā Workshop Unleashed. P.S: my sister did NOT appreciate it at all and was too focused on all the collectibles she could buy and taking selfies with the tour guide. So embarrassing.

40I1079 250820 1
MG 1369 091220 1

It’s gross! Like so, so gross!

Oh man, so once you’re well and truly on the tour and inside Unleashed, you get to see some epic behind-the-scenes production stuff from cool movies. Some are even still being made! But we can’t talk about that…

Anyway – get this - at one point there are all these fake, flayed-open creatures with squishy insides that you can poke and prod and all these dangling sinews of flesh around the place! It’s revolting and SO COOL. My sister kept making faces and saying “ew!” really loud and really disrespectfully. It annoyed me, even though the tour guide was laughing along with her. So I pushed her into a hanging sheep’s bladder.

MG 1369 091220 1
MG 1198 091220 1

You get to make your own clay models and sketches!

It’s a super big dream of mine to become an artist at Wētā Workshop one day, and be a part of production design for movies like Lord of the Rings and stuff. Sometimes it feels pretty hard to achieve.

So it was really cool to see that all these massively awesome, popular films start with small steps like crafting creatures out of margarine! While you’re at Wētā Workshop Unleashed you get to stop for a bit and draw out a character on tracing paper. Then you can play with tinfoil and clay to bring the flat design into a 3D idea. It was a memorable part of the tour for me.

My sister took way too long drawing some weird unicorn-like, fairy-ish something creature on paper that she didn’t even get to the modelling area. Mum and the tour guide said it looked cool like it would fit into the fantasy film Wētā Workshop's currently in the middle of working on. But I thought it was a waste of her time. So I quietly added a few things to its body while she wasn’t looking…I can’t say what though in this review or I’ll get in trouble.

MG 1198 091220 1

It’s close to heaps of Auckland city restaurants for lunch

After we finished up at Wētā Workshop Unleashed, we grabbed a bite to eat downtown. Because Unleashed is right opposite the Sky Tower, it’s near lots of different restaurant options. Usually Mum packs us sandwiches that get pretty soggy by the time we can eat them, but we don’t say anything because she “slaved away on them before we even got out of bed”. But because it was the school holidays and my sister’s birthday, we got to eat food that actually tastes good.

My sister chose Huami, one of the Federal Street places offering awesome set lunch menus. She really loves dumplings, so that made sense. And actually, to be honest, I kind of do too. I guess we have that in common, at least. She even said through a mouthful of spring rolls that she loved Wētā Workshop Unleashed and was happy I chose it for our Auckland event. 

So I guess we have two things to talk about these days.