Richard Taylor (filmmaker)

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Richard Taylor

Taylor in 2014
Richard Leslie Taylor

(1965-02-08) 8 February 1965 (age 58)
Cheadle, Cheshire, England
NationalityNew Zealander
PartnerTania Taylor

Sir Richard Leslie Taylor KNZM (born 8 February 1965) is the founder, creative director and head of New Zealand film prop and special effects company Wētā Workshop.

Early life[edit]

Taylor was born in Cheadle, Cheshire, England, on 8 February 1965, and emigrated as a child to New Zealand, where his family lived at Te Hihi, and later the Auckland suburb of Patumahoe.[1][2] He was naturalised as a New Zealand citizen in 1974.[1] Taylor studied at Wesley College, Paerata, and then became a graduate of the former Wellington Polytechnic.[3]


Peter Jackson, Taylor and his company created all of the props, costumes, prosthetics, miniatures and weaponry for Jackson's epic The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. For his work on the three films, he shared in winning four Academy Awards. This included two for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in Make Up and Visual Effects, and two for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in Costume Design and Make Up. He was nominated for Costume Design for The Fellowship of the Ring.[citation needed]

Taylor can be seen and heard on all of The Lord of the Rings DVDs, in behind-the-scenes documentaries and on the audio commentaries on the extended edition DVDs. He also appeared on set to give direction to actors and stunt personnel in several fight scenes.[citation needed]

Both Richard Taylor and Wētā Workshop appear in the documentary film Reclaiming the Blade, where they discussed the creative and technical process of how movie props (specifically swords) are created at Wētā Workshop. Swords created by Wētā for films such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia are featured in the film as well.[4][5]

In the 2004 New Year Honours, Taylor was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to design and the film industry.[6] In the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours, Taylor was promoted to Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to film.[7]

Wētā Workshop has also worked on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Richard Taylor and his crew designed and built all the armor, weapons and special props for the film. The company were also heavily involved in the making of Peter Jackson's interpretation of King Kong for which he won his fifth Academy Award, in Visual Effects.[citation needed]

In April 2009, Richard Taylor won the supreme award at the World Class New Zealand Awards. The awards honour New Zealand's tall poppies who are successful on an international level.[8]

In February 2012 Taylor was named New Zealander of the year, beating finalists World of Wearable Art founder Suzie Moncrieff and Auckland plastic surgeon Sharad P. Paul, nominated for his work on skin cancer.[9]

As of 2014, Taylor is involved in Magic Leap, a startup company reported to be working on projects relating to augmented reality and computer vision that has received over $500 million of venture funding.[10]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Richard Leslie Taylor in the New Zealand, Naturalisations, 1843–1981". Operations. 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Thunderbirds – Taylor made". New Zealand Herald. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Alumni Galleria". Massey University. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  4. ^ "Reclaiming the Blade » » Weta Workshop Offers Exclusive Footage". Archived from the original on 16 August 2007.
  5. ^ "Reclaiming the Blade". Archived from the original on 28 April 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  6. ^ "New Year Honours 2004" (14 January 2004) 4 New Zealand Gazette 73.
  7. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2010". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  8. ^ "2009 World Class NZ Awards Gala Dinner". Kea – New Zealand's global network. 15 April 2009. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Richard Taylor named NZer of the Year". 3 News NZ. 17 February 2012.
  10. ^ Hollister, Sean (19 November 2014). "How Magic Leap Is Secretly Creating a New Alternate Reality". Gizmodo.

External links[edit]