Chancellor Russ Ballard (left) presents the Honorary Doctorate to Sir Richard Taylor. Watch the video on YouTube.


'New Zealand made' honorary doctorate celebrated

video-14x44.gif Watch the TV3 Nightline item


Tania Rodger, Amelia Taylor, Sir Richard
Taylor, Samuel Taylor and Norman Taylor.


Arts Minister Chris Finlayson delivers the citation.

Arts minister Chris Finlayson has hailed the “New Zealand made” appeal of Weta Workshop and its co-founder Sir Richard Taylor who has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University.

The Doctorate in Fine Arts was conferred at a graduation ceremony today, in recognition of the contribution Sir Richard has made to the New Zealand film industry and the Wellington creative community since 1986 when he graduated from the School of Design at the former Wellington Polytechnic. The school is a forerunner institution to the College of Creative Arts at Massey.

Sir Richard is, with wife Tania Rodger, a director and co-founder of the renowned special effects facility Weta Workshop.

Mr Finlayson, who delivered the citation at today’s graduation, says from Weta’s early days the couple were determined to employ New Zealand craftspeople who were “thin on film experience but big on artistry".

"Here was the stroke of genius, because the obvious thing to do would have been to use seasoned experts from overseas," Mr Finlayson says.

"But Richard and Tania wanted the freshness and originality New Zealanders could offer. In true New Zealand ‘give it a go’ spirit they took the risk and it paid off.”

Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says Weta Workshop has helped put New Zealand’s creative industries on the world stage through productions from Braindead to Black Sheep, King Kong to the global phenomenon of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the current filming of its prequel The Hobbit.

"Sir Richard’s vision, drive and creativity has not just provided hours of pleasure to millions of movie-goers worldwide, but with his employment of many School of Design graduates, is also a practical example of the creative economy at work," Mr Maharey says.

Sir Richard’s other business interests include a workshop producing limited edition high-end art pieces for collectors, and the television production company Pukeko Pictures, established with Martin Baynton and Ms Rodger, which has created the internationally successful children’s programmes The WotWots and Jane and the Dragon.

Sir Richard is a member of the University’s College of Creative Arts Hall of Fame and was knighted in 2010 for his services to the film industry.

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