From Frodo’s chainmail to Kaynemaile architectural solar screens: How Kayne Horsham became Lord of the Rings

Life & Leisure Magazine, re-posted through This NZ Life, August 2018
Words: Emma Rawson

A Wellington entrepreneur who created chainmail worn by Frodo and others in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy is making sturdy armour for buildings.

Not many businesses were forged in the shadow of Mount Doom but on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu, on which Sir Peter Jackson shot Tolkien’s Mordor mountain, Kayne Horsham had an idea that is now Kaynemaile, an architectural product exported to more than 30 countries.

As the artistic director for The Lord of the Rings, Kayne grappled with a hefty problem. Steel chainmail worn by the kings, dwarves and hobbits was simply too heavy for any modern-day mortal. It weighed 35kg per person; within 30 minutes the actors were collapsing in exhaustion.

Kayne looked closely at the 2000-year-old concept of chainmail and had another go at it. His modern version of the armour of the Middle Ages is a lightweight series of interlocking polycarbonate rings – the same material used to make aircraft windows and astronaut helmets.

Viggo Mortensen, the actor who played Aragorn, named it ‘Kaynemaile’.

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