We are Warrick and Suzie Denize, the third generation of the Denize family on this Mangaotaki Valley property near Piopio. Warrick's grandparents moved from sunny Coromandel to wet and wild Piopio in 1941. Three generations later the farm is still in the family, with the fourth generation now all of school age.
The farm runs sheep and cattle and is dominated by Denize Bluffs, massive limestone cliffs running along the front edge of the property. Over the years many friends and family have visited the farm and enjoyed touring around it, usually finishing with a drive below the cliffs.
It was always our dream to start a tour featuring Denize Bluffs and when Sir Peter Jackson and The Hobbit team arrived dreams became reality. Now we can offer you a chance to tour this special place with its unusual and stunning rock formations, native forest and spectacular cliffs.
How it all Began?
Our farm became an unexpected film location for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"In the spring of 2010 and on one of the wettest days on record, we were visited by the Location Scout for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", Jared Connon. He was interested in looking at our property, in particular the bush (forest) and paddock at the base of our limestone cliffs. We battled our way through the pelting rain to show him around, slipping and sliding around the hillsides. We all got soaked to the bone and after he'd gone, both Warrick and I thought we'd never see the poor guy again.
However, he rung just days later to arrange another visit in the near future; this time with all the heads of department from Wellington.
Warrick felt that the paddock was too scruffy for such important guests and he set about grooming it. He picked up every broken branch and got rid of every weed. The rubbish heap he created was as big as a house! He then proceeded to mow 30 acres of paddock with his weed eater, not once but twice!
When the 4 helicopters with their 16 passengers aboard arrived, the paddock looked amazing; short tidy grass, no weeds and not a branch or twig out of place. One guest was heard to say, "it looks like a set already!" After an hour or two wandering around and lots of discussion and photos, they all flew to their next location.
Jared rang us a few days later to say that Peter Jackson was keen to use the area in the film. However, he wanted it 'scruffy with lots of broken branches, weeds and long grass'! We all thought it was very funny and Warrick still loves telling this story to visitors."
'Hairy Feet Waitomo Scenic Film Location Tour'