The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Thea Awards, international awards recognizing excellence, innovation and leadership in the creation of compelling visitor experiences, named Wētā Workshop Unleashed, a fantastical film effects experience in Auckland, New Zealand, to receive a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Wētā Workshop’s Head of Tourism Jake Downing says Unleashed’s award for Outstanding Achievement (Brand Experience) was a wonderful boost for the Auckland attraction which is building towards its one-year anniversary and has recently opened its red doors after three months of lockdown.
“The recognition from our peers in the themed entertainment and visitor experience world is very special. It’s confirmation we have something exceptional and world class here in Auckland.
“We can’t wait to welcome guests back. Unleashed is all about fun, imagination and escapism, and I’m sure that’s what people need a dose of after putting in all the hard mahi to keep our country safe. We’re ready for them,” Downing said.
Wētā Workshop CEO and Creative Director, Richard Taylor said Unleashed was inspired by the imaginations of the crew at Wellington’s Wētā Workshop.
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“Wētā Workshop Unleashed is a fantastical version of our real-life film effects workshop in Wellington,” stated Taylor. “Every day at the workshop we have the opportunity to design and build imaginary worlds, tap into our creativity and turn our ideas into fun and fabulous creations for the entertainment industry.
“Unleashed was possible because of the extraordinary focus of a wonderfully passionate group of people who collaborated for an entire year. It’s our hope that guests visiting Unleashed feel inspired to do the same and discover their love of making and creating.
“It’s wonderful our Auckland-based experience has been recognized in such an esteemed way. Capturing the attention of the Themed Entertainment Association and winning this internationally recognized award is very special,” Taylor said.
TEA’s Thea Awards Judging Committee described Unleashed as a richly engaging and educational experience, in their official remarks:
“Presented with tremendous creativity and imagination, Wētā Workshop Unleashed is also unforgettably entertaining. It brilliantly straddles the line between a traditional behind-the-scenes tour and a full-on theme park attraction, offering as much creativity and imagination in the way it tells its story as is contained in the content itself.”
In 2018 Wētā Workshop received a Themed Entertainment Association Thea Award for Gallipoli; The Scale of Our War, an immersive exhibition at the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongawera, which tells the story of New Zealand’s Gallipoli campaign in WWI.