He's spent more than 41 years of his life behind bars and has a whopping 150 convictions - at least - to his name.

But now Arthur Taylor is hitting headlines for another reason - true love.

Taylor proposed to his partner Tui Hartman at the weekend during her visit to Waikeria Prison, and she accepted.

The happy couple spoke to the Herald today after announcing their news to family and friends on Facebook yesterday.

Taylor, 61, is currently serving a sentence of 17 years and six months for serious violent and drug-related offending.

He has more than 150 convictions for offences including bank robbery, burglary, fraud and drugs and has spent almost 40 years behind bars.

Taylor will appear before the Parole Board later this month seeking early release from prison.

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Through an intermediary, Taylor spoke about Hartman and their plans for the future.

"We had a visit on the weekend and I popped the question to her and she said 'yes, yes, yes," he said.

"So then she brought a ring in that I purchased, and I put it on her finger."

The ring Arthur Taylor presented to Tui Hartman after she accepted his proposal. Photo / Supplied
The ring Arthur Taylor presented to Tui Hartman after she accepted his proposal. Photo / Supplied

Taylor and Hartman met through Facebook and their relationship blossomed - starting with online messages and evolving to daily phone conversations.

Taylor has a Facebook page that is managed by a friend who posts updates and messages on behalf of the inmate.

The Herald cannot interview Taylor without express permission from the Department of Corrections, but he is able to pass messages on through the intermediary.

Taylor said his engagement was "great news".

"We're sharing our story, hoping it will give inspiration to others who are yet to find true love," he said.

"It just shows that love can take root anywhere and prevail in the most difficult of circumstances."

Taylor said his bride-to-be was "considerably younger" than him.

She did not want her age published.

Tui Hartman will marry high-profile inmate Arthur Taylor after he is released from prison. Photo / Supplied
Tui Hartman will marry high-profile inmate Arthur Taylor after he is released from prison. Photo / Supplied

"She started following me on Facebook some time ago," Taylor said.

"She was a paralegal in Canada, and a law student, living in British Colombia.

"She started following my cases, then she started sending me some messages which I got and we just started taking quite an interest in each other - more than just friends, shall we say.

"About six or seven months ago we managed to get an international number set up where I could phone Tui on her cellphone in Canada and we started talking.

"It cost me a bit of money actually - we talked sometimes an hour or hour-and-a-half a day and it was great."

Hartman decided to move to New Zealand and see if she could make it work with Taylor.

She arrived on January 3 and met her long-distance love days later.

Taylor said Hartman's father was a Kiwi and her mother was Canadian.

She had lived most of her life in Canada but had spent time in New Zealand before.

Hartman has studied law and heard about Taylor through her work as a paralegal.

"When I first saw her I said 'you're absolutely beautiful, inside and out'," Taylor explained.

"We had a real meeting of the minds.

"We found that we were so on the same page that we'd start sentences and the other one would finish them, that's how much alike we think.

"She's really interested in law, that's I guess where we really meet, but obviously on a lot of other things."

Arthur Taylor during a High Court appearance where he defended himself on serious drug charges. Photo / NZME
Arthur Taylor during a High Court appearance where he defended himself on serious drug charges. Photo / NZME

Taylor has been married once before and has three children, an adult son and two school-aged children.

This will be Hartman's first marriage.

The pair hope to have children in the near future.

"We obviously want to start a family at some stage and we know they'll be brilliant kids," Taylor said.

"We know our children will be just wonderful, so the sooner we can start that the better obviously."

Taylor said meeting Hartman in person was a special moment.

"Once we met, the chemistry was really there, we just about wanted to jump into each other's arms," he said.

Visits at Waikeria Prison, where Taylor was transferred to late last year, are extremely limited in terms of contact.

The couple have only ever been able to sit across a table from each other.

"She just radiates an absolutely loving and generous nature," Taylor said.

"We're just looking forward to hopefully getting on with life and being with each other.

"I'm absolutely certain it's going to work out really well, even despite the difference in our ages.

"We get on, we just seem to connect."

Taylor was thrilled when Hartman accepted his proposal.

"She's never been married before, she's had many proposals, she's a beautiful and intelligent woman, but she's always said it never felt right.

"So, obviously you can understand I'm honoured to be the one she said yes to.

"As far as I'm concerned, Tui's the most greatest and valuable export to New Zealand ever - so thank you Canada.

"I'm rapt, she's rapt, her family and friends are rapt."

Hartman posted on Facebook soon after Taylor announced the engagement.

"Arthur Taylor, there is no where on earth I would rather be than at your side in this lifetime and the next," she wrote.

"I feel truly blessed to know that my heart, my trust and my life are held safely in your hands."

Friends and family were quick to congratulate the couple.

"I really feel like the luckiest woman alive," Hartman wrote on Facebook in response.

"I couldn't ask for a better man. He is dream come true in absolutely every way."

Hartman said Taylor was her "best friend" and "my entire future".

She told the Herald she was drawn to Taylor after hearing about him and his work as a self-anointed jailhouse lawyer advocating for prisoners "through the grapevine".

Since making contact with Taylor, Hartman said they had been in contact every day.

"It went from there," she said.

"Then I moved to New Zealand."

Hartman was hopeful that Taylor would be granted parole at this months' hearing.

"I would love for him to be released, nothing would make me happier," she said.

The pair are planning on marrying after Taylor is released.

Unless granted parole, Taylor will remain in prison until October 2022.