Richard Taylor is famed for his work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, with Peter Jackson, creating all the props, costumes, prosthetics, weaponry and miniatures for this epic trilogy. He has gone on to win multiple Oscars for his work and for his role in putting New Zealand on the international film industry map.
Richard studied at the Wellington School of Design from 1982 to 1984, where he tended to ‘alter the brief to suit his skills’; he completed a diploma in graphic design and so had to adapt his more obvious skills in three-dimensional sculptural work.
In 1987 Richard and his partner Tania Rodger set up Richard Taylor Effects Ltd. They provided a range of special effects and puppetry services for many clients including the TV series Public Eye, and inevitably came into contact with Peter Jackson and Jamie Selkirk. This ultimately led to the establishment of Weta Workshop in 1994.
Numerous collaborative projects followed - Meet the Feebles, Brain Dead, The Frighteners and Heavenly Creatures to name a few. Weta Digital was subsequently formed and the New Zealand film industry took a whole new direction.
The team at Weta have continued their inspired work with The Hobbit, King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Legend of Zorro, Kingdom of Heaven, Hellboy, Van Helsing, Master and Commander, Perfect Strangers, The Last Samurai and much more. Richard and Tania also created the enormously successful children’s TV series ‘Jane and the Dragon’ and have established a start-up company Magic Leap, working with augmented reality.
Having been awarded an ONZM for services to the design and film industry in 2004, Richard was promoted to a Knight in 2010, and was named New Zealander of the Year in 2012.