Extra-special prize for special-effects king

By Dave Williams

Oscar winner Sir Richard Taylor says a knighthood is incredibly special. Photo / Steve Unwin
Oscar winner Sir Richard Taylor says a knighthood is incredibly special. Photo / Steve Unwin

Five Oscars and four Baftas are recognition for a body of work in the film industry - but a knighthood for Weta Workshop's Richard Taylor is reward beyond the realm of his imagination.

Sir Richard, 45, who has won the movie awards for his work with the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, has been knighted in this year's Queen's Birthday honours list.

It comes after he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004, and was Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 and 2007, among other honours.

The co-founder and co-director of the Weta special effects companies in Wellington said the Oscars were an incredible occasion, but his knighthood was "incredibly special".

"You go and collect an Oscar for everyone in the workshop that has helped you get there. But I think this is more what you have done in your career and how you have tried to help your local community."

He and his wife, Tania Rodger, have been involved with a number of charities over the years, including the Dyslexia Foundation, but their core interest is now the Neonatal Trust, of which they are patrons.

One of their two children was born full term but needed to be in a neonatal unit, which made them aware of problems faced by other families, he said.

One in every 10 children in New Zealand would need the use of a neonatal unit, he added.

"There was little support for the families around that, and that is what inspired us to get involved and try and lend our voice to the fundraising and events.

"It started off as a Wellington trust but just this year we have managed to take in nationally."

Sir Peter Jackson, another Weta co-founder, who was officially knighted earlier this year, had not given him any tips about knighthood and how to handle the title of Sir Richard, he said.

"Peter takes everything in his stride and is very humble, and that's a good mentor to follow.

"I am sure the crew here at the workshop will take great delight for a few days but I am sure it will get back to being 'Richard' again. Ultimately ... we are pretty down-to-earth people as New Zealanders."

- NZPA

- NZ Herald

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