Sir Ian Taylor: High Tech Rock Bands and Breweries

In the small village of Raupunga in Hawke’s Bay, entrepreneur Sir Ian Taylor grew up in a state house with little material wealth, no electricity and no car. But there was always food on the table, helped by the occasional bucket of surplus crayfish left by the front door, and nothing was missing.

“I think I was brought up in the best generation,” says the 71-year-old of his upbringing in the 1950s. “When I was growing up having a job was not a big obsession and houses were affordable.

The businessman still lives in the first house he bought in Dunedin with his wife Liz Grieve, and where his sons grew up and lived with them for extra family support when their grandchildren were on the way.

Taylor says he looks at the desperation of people in today’s “crazy” house price market and wonders when a house has moved from a place you lived to a place you used to. earn money.

“It’s really heartbreaking. Today there are divisions everywhere. There is the digital divide, there is the economic divide and there is the racial divide.

Of Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāpuhi descent, Taylor runs award-winning Animation Research, which produces graphics for some of the world’s biggest sporting events. He has gained prominence in recent times due to his participation in a lawsuit aimed at convincing the government and officials that businessmen should be allowed to travel abroad and self-isolate at home in their own right. return.

kavinda Herath / Stuff

Sir Ian Taylor and other business leaders plan to test technologies that could be used to streamline New Zealand’s managed isolation protocols.

Taylor says he fears the Covid-19 pandemic could accelerate divisions in society, with a new division between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.

While not a big fan of the type of protests by Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki that he says puts everyone at risk, Taylor feels for the kids who have lost teachers. that they liked because they weren’t vaccinated.

He thinks there needs to be more respect for everyone’s opinions and an adherence to the pacific concept of talanoa, where people talk and listen with respect for the opinions of others, even if they disagree.

“It makes a difference,” he says. “Some people can really fear this and asking someone to tell you that a scientist will assure you that you are wrong is not very comforting.”

Taylor draws on extensive life experience, having toured for three years with a rock band, served in the military as part of compulsory military training, worked in a bottling plant at Speights Brewery, studied law and was a children’s presenter for TVNZ before setting up his own production company.

He started his graphics business from scratch, initially in partnership with the University of Otago, achieving a breakthrough when his company’s real-time 3D graphics software was used to track America’s Cup boats for the first time in 1992.

“I’ve only ever done things that I really enjoyed,” he says. “I never set out to start a business and even now I don’t see myself as a businessman. I certainly don’t see myself as an entrepreneur. I don’t understand these labels, and it might sound very simplistic, but I wake up everyday and go to work.

Sir Ian Taylor at the school he attended in the 1950s at Raupunga on the east coast.

ARL / Supplied

Sir Ian Taylor at the school he attended in the 1950s at Raupunga on the east coast.

It is a matter of pride for him that everyone who started with his business 32 years ago is still with the company. The 40 employees, he says, are “a family”.

He hasn’t had a pay hike in 18 years, vowing not to do so until all the “incredibly talented” people in the company are paid their fair value.

Ironically, the disruption of Covid may have accelerated this process. Travel constraints prompted her company to centralize its operations in Dunedin, which reduced costs, improved efficiency, and allowed the team to film more events remotely than they did. ‘could never have done it on the spot.

“Covid has taken our business to a whole new level that we could never have imagined,” he says.

Taylor, who voted Labor in all but two elections, says he is frustrated that business contribution does not appear to have been valued as part of the pandemic response.

“Politics shouldn’t have anything to do with it,” he says. “The country faces a huge challenge like we have never faced before. But every sign I see from this government or from the officials who work in this government is that they are not interested in what business can bring.

He is unwilling to go into politics, claiming it would drive him crazy.

The trip / YouTube

Animation pioneer Sir Ian Taylor has developed an online education program celebrating Polynesian migration to inspire children in science and technology.

What excites him is his latest project, the Mātauranga online education program celebrating Polynesian migration across the Pacific to Aotearoa thousands of years ago.

He hopes sharing such stories will enhance understanding and ensure the nation’s children are fully informed as they grow up together.

Taylor, who has a Maori mother and a Pākehā father, was criticized earlier this year by Wellington businessman and former Hurricane board member Troy Bowker for his article celebrating the Polynesian ancestors of ‘Aotearoa and their navigation in the Pacific.

Bowker called this a “load of utter nonsense” and accused Taylor of “sucking the left-wing Maori love agenda.”

Taylor says the reaction came as a huge surprise to him. But he thinks Bowker was ignorant rather than racist.

“Some people are just simply misinformed,” he says. “What I saw was someone who had never heard the story.

“We can change all of these silly things in less than a generation. By the time these children come out of school, they will have learned the history of Māui and Kupe, and they will have learned the history of celestial navigation and how brilliant it was.

Looking back on her life, Taylor says her path now seems clear thanks to Maori whakatauki, or saying, “Ko nga tahu ao tapuwai inanahi. Hei tauira ora mo Apopo ”, which translates as“ the traces we have left in our past create the paving stones on which we stand today ”.

“I look back and it all makes sense,” he says. “It’s also a lot easier to take your next steps because they’re really taken in context. You never really guess.

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