Wife told Taylor of gong as he cut onion

21:55, Jun 06 2010

First it was Sir Peter Jackson, now special-effects maestro Sir Richard Taylor has joined him. But the Oscar-winner's wife found out about his knighthood before him.

Tania Rodger opened a letter informing Taylor of his gong while he was in the kitchen cooking tea.

"I was halfway through cutting an onion when she handed me the letter. I was in total disbelief. I had a really big smile for a long time.

"I could quite happily carry on behind the scenes, but the fact that people have taken notice of what I have been doing is pretty cool."

He can't wait to tell Jackson, who was knighted in 2009, and his wife Fran. "Peter's knighthood was an amazing moment for all of us. We were so chuffed, so it will be lovely to share it with Peter and Fran."

It was hard not to share the news with family and friends, but he did such a good job that he didn't even tell his dad. "I think he will be very proud. He has watched us toil away at this for nearly 25 years and he knows my passion for art."

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Both Weta Workshop, founded in 1994, and its offshoot Weta Digital have been involved in making some of the most successful movies of all time, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Avatar.

Taylor received four Oscars for Lord of the Rings, and an Oscar for work on King Kong.

The knighthood represented a "massive team effort" from his staff. Taylor knows they won't let the honour go to his head. "I will be back in the trenches pretty quickly."

He's still very hands-on at Weta Workshop. When The Dominion Post visited, he was covered in clay from his latest creations. "I have always enjoyed making things with my hands, which I would much rather do than sit behind a desk all day."

But it is not just his film-making that has been rewarded. Taylor's charity work, which includes the Neonatal Trust and Dyslexia Foundation, has a special place in his life.

About eight years ago, he was peering into an incubator holding his son at Wellington Hospital. Taylor and his wife spent five weeks in the unit after their son, born full-term, had complications. Today, he's active and healthy. "It's nice to be able to give back."

HEAVENLY FEATURES

Sir Richard Taylor established RT Effects in 1987 with his wife, Tania Rodger.

In 1993 they joined with friends Sir Peter Jackson and Jamie Selkirk to expand the company. They renamed it Weta, with Taylor and Rodger heading up Weta Workshop.

He has won five Oscars for his work in films, including the The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Other films Taylor has worked on include: Black Sheep, Meet the Feebles, Braindead, Forgotten Silver, Heavenly Creatures, King Kong, The Frighteners, The Chronicles of Narnia, District 9, Under the Mountain and Avatar.

The Dominion Post