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Richard Taylor 2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur

Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop & Digital claims
2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

The prestigious title of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year was last night awarded to Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop & Digital at a gala dinner in Auckland.

A winner in the Service, including Financial Services, Property and Arts category, Richard Taylor was named the overall winner from five category winners who were each recognised as top entrepreneurs in their fields.

Richard Taylor will go on to represent New Zealand and compete with 40 other country winners at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year in Monte Carlo in 2007.

Chair of the judging panel and inaugural Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner, David Johnson, said Taylor's company was based on an extremely strong financial model and highly creative business.

"Twenty years ago, Richard Taylor and his business partners had the foresight to realise computer-generated technology was the future and Weta Workshop & Digital has successfully stayed ahead of the game since that time."

Richard Taylor said he was humbled and surprised by the award.

"Being named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year is a fantastic milestone and validation of the team's hard work at Weta Workshop & Digital. It provides us with the opportunity to reflect on where we have come from and look positively towards the future."

Richard Taylor has played a key role in the development of Weta into a multi-faceted company that leverages its intellectual property across a broad spectrum of related industries.

Weta Workshop & Digital is a comprehensive film and television effects facility that has been involved with a number of award-winning international productions. Richard Taylor has personally received five Academy Awards and four BAFTA Awards to name some of his 32 international awards.

Weta Workshop offers services to all aspects of the creative industry including design, special make-up effects and prosthetics, creatures, armour, weapons, miniatures, prop building, large scale sculpture, display work and costuming.

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Director, Roger Hatrick-Smith, said each year the awards consistently generate world-class entries.

"The calibre of this year's applicants, finalists and winners shows yet again why New Zealanders consistently rank among the best entrepreneurs and businesspeople in the world.

"Richard Taylor, who now goes on to represent New Zealand at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year is a credit to himself, his company, the business community and New Zealand."

Judging New Zealand's top entrepreneurs in 2006 were five independent judges, selected for their entrepreneurial spirit, business expertise and insights: chair of the judging panel and inaugural Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner, David Johnson of Trends Publishing; Michael Hill of Michael Hill Jeweller; George Fistonich DCNZM of Villa Maria and last year's winner; journalist and commentator Deborah Hill Cone and Peter Maire of Tahia Investments and founder of Navman.

Note to the editor:

About Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor
Co-Director and Effects Supervisor, Weta Workshop & Digital

RT FX was founded by Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger in the back of a small flat twenty years ago. From these beginnings a creative collaboration developed between Peter Jackson and New Zealand producer Jamie Selkirk, which was to become what we now know as Weta Workshop & Digital (Weta).

Richard Taylor has played a key role in the development of Weta into a multi-faceted company that leverages its intellectual property across a broad spectrum of related industries. A key motivator for the development of sister companies in the Weta family was Richard Taylor's vision to establish a framework within which specialist personnel could develop and enhance their careers. In an industry that is known for its project-driven career path this development is unique and provides a continuity of talent that enables Weta to retain and develop personnel with the appeal of challenging projects. This in turn ensures that Weta is able to pitch and win local and global projects that have the depth and opportunity for Weta to further develop its credentials.

Richard Taylor is the Design and Effects Supervisor of Weta Workshop. While not one for titles, he is also Managing Director of Weta Workshop & Digital, Weta Collectibles, Weta Productions, and Weta Tenzan Chainmaille - the latter in collaboration with a Chinese manufacturing partner to fulfill worldwide demand for chainmaille and the result of the development of the unique chainmaille used in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Richard Taylor's creativity and innovation are key components of Weta's success as is his leadership and business acumen. This can be measured in the way he has faced major challenges related to the industry, including fluctuating staff levels, competing internationally for clients and the critical need for experienced staff - up to 700 staff are needed at the height of production.

Taylor's international reputation has helped to establish Wellington as a centre for the film industry, bringing talent to New Zealand to work with Weta - all of which has contributed to a thriving local industry.

Category winners
The 2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Category Winners were:

- Retail, Consumer and Industrial Products: Chris Paulsen of House of Travel

- Services, including Financial Services, Property and Arts: Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop & Digital

- Technology, Communication and Biotechnology: Doug Bartlett of Cabco Group

- Master Entrepreneur (for leaders of well-established businesses which have a significant commitment to entrepreneurship): Bob Robertson of Infinity Investment Group

- Young Entrepreneur (aged 30 or under at the time of close of applications): Mike McDonald of Mactec Aerospace International.

More information about the awards can be found at

- ENDS -

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