Howard Taylor

Film Director, Theatre Producer

Howard is one of New Zealand’s most experienced directors with over a hundred hours of programming to his credit. His relaxed style of filming makes for intimate and revealing story-telling. He has shot in many countries round the world including England, France, USA, Tahiti, Mexico, Japan, Norfolk Island and he’s one of the few film-makers to have filmed on Pitcairn Island. While directing has been his forte, he has also produced a variety of programmes.

Howard learnt his craft at the NZBC (TVNZ) when the state broadcaster was the only game in town. After eight years as a film editor editing everything from news to drama, he moved to directing and producing. Four years producing Country Calendar was followed by a decade making arts programmes. In the 1990s he left TVNZ to pursue a career in the independent industry, with a focus on documentary. He has directed for a variety of independent production companies including Ninox, Gibson Group, Greenstone Pictures, Screentime, Imagination, Whakapapa Productions and Natural History New Zealand. Along side his gun-for-hire work, he set up Howard Taylor Productions for more personal projects.

Over the years he has been a board member of producer and director associations in their various evolutions – TVPDA, IPDG, SDGNZ – and a board member of various film and television awards bodies including the new combined SDGNZ and TBC Qantas Film and Television Awards.


A selection of his credits:

  • Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Howard produced this 75min music film directed by Geoff Murphy, featuring music by Paris-based Lucien Johnson inspired by the writing of Edgar Allan Poe. 2009
  • Guardians of the Light: the lives of the lighthouse keepers for National Maritime Museum, Museum of Wellington City & Sea & DVD documentary. Writer, director, producer. Howard Taylor Productions 2008
  • Te Whiringa Taura o Whanganui: Howard wrote, directed, edited and produced this history of the Whanganui – the River and the Iwi. 1 x 1 hr doco, Howard Taylor Productions/Maori Television, 2006-7
  • Coroner’s Inquest: Coroners and their work. 3 x 1 hr documentary series, Ninox Television/TVNZ. Writer, Director. 2004-6
  • Frontier of Dreams: Howard directed 3 episodes of this13 part series with an ambitious aim: to tell the history of NZ from its geological beginnings to today. It was the most expensive documentary series ever made in this country. Whakapapa Productions/TVNZ. 2003 – 2004.
  • Fifty Years on their Toes: Royal NZ Ballet celebrates 50 years with Romeo and Juliet. Twin strands: the creating of  a new version of the old ballet, and a history of the RNZB. 1 x 1 hr doco, Gibson Group/TVNZ. Writer, Director. 2003
  • Guthrie-Smith of Tutira: Howard wrote and directed this biopic featuring pioneer naturalist, author and wild life photographer Herbert Guthrie-Smith. 1 x ½ hr doco, TVNZ. Writer, Director. 2002
  • Secret New Zealand – Kirk, Commies & the CIA: Who or what killed the NZ Prime Minister?  1 of 6 x ½ hr doco series, Greenstone Pictures/TVNZ Writer, director.  2001
  • Sally, Sophie & Jeff Leave Home: Three intellectually disabled teenagers reach ‘adulthood’.1 x 1 hr doco, Greenstone Pictures/TV3. Writer, director. 2001
  • Shark Gordon: Shark expert Ian Gordon encounters shark species round the world. Howard directed several episodes of this 13 part wildlife series which was on high-rotate on Animal Planet for four years. Natural History New Zealand/Discovery Networks. 2000
  • Our People, Our Century: A century of New Zealand history. 6 x 90min doco series, Ninox Films/TVNZ.  Winner, Best Factual Series, NZ Television Awards.  Writer, director of 2 eps.  1999
  • Nude Zealand: Nudism in NZ. 1 x 1 hr doco, Ninox Films/TV3. Ninox Films/TV3. Writer, director, 1999
  • Snowbiz: the business of running Turoa ski-field. 1 x 1 hr doco, writer, director, Ninox/TV3. 1998?
  • The Business of Culture: The making of the 96 Wgtn. Int. Festival of the Arts, 1 x 1 hr arts doco, writer, director. Ninox Films/TV3. 1996
  • Warship: NZ Navy frigate prepares for battle. 1 x 1 hr doco, writer, director, Ninox Films/TV3/Discovery Europe. 1995
  • Police Recruit: A wing of recruits undergo their 6 months training. 1 x 1 hr doco, TVNZ. Writer/director. Finalist, Best Documentary, TV Awards. 1994/5
  • Work of Art – By the Light of the Mune: Howard produced this Roz Mason-directed doco in which Ian Mune makes a film with the NZ Drama School students.
  • Work of Art – Storytellers: 3 writers for children – Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley and Tessa Duder. 1 x 1 hr arts doco. Writer/director
  • The Race: 1 x ½ hr performance work – Michael Parmenter’s dance epic – director.
  • Billy Apple: Profile of a Conceptual Artist. 1 x ½ hr arts doco – writer/director. Nominated for Feltex best documentary award.
  • A decade making arts programmes on people such as Sir Toss Woollaston, Vincent Ward, Michael Parmenter, Neil Dawson, Judy Darragh, Six Volts, Lauris Edmond, Barry Barclay, Llew Summers, Terry Stringer and Burton Silver.
  • Curse of the Edgecumbes – Kiwi dairy farmer, stock-car racer and heir to a large English estate and title, Lord Bob Edgecumbe takes up his family seat in Sussex. 1 x ½ hr doco, Director, 1984
  • Pitcairn Pilgrimage: Pitcairn Island descendents from Norfolk Island return to their homeland. 1 x ½ hr doco, Writer/director, 1984.
  • They Call It Paradise: the underbelly of French Polynesia. 1 x ½ hr doco, Writer/director 1984


Howard has written for both screen and publication – scripts, magazine articles and reviews. Clients include:

NZ Family Courts Association

NZ Historic Places Trust

On Film magazine

Take magazine


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