Born in Dunedin, New Zealand, he represented New Zealand in 41 Tests, and achieved an average of 44.64, including seven centuries. He went to O.B.H.S. (Otago Boys' High School). He would have appeared for his country much more, however, had he not elected to be unavailable for several seasons after falling out with administrators. Instead, Turner made his mark on the first-class cricket scene, particularly with Worcestershire in the English county championship. In all, he played 455 first-class matches, amassing 34,346 runs at 49.70, including 103 centuries—making him one of a select few to score a "century of centuries", one of only four non-English cricketers to do so (the others being Donald Bradman, Zaheer Abbas and Viv Richards). Turner also coached the New Zealand side twice—once in the mid-1980s, when he presided over the team's first and (to date) only series victory in Australia, and again a decade later.