E. Mervyn Taylor

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Ernest Mervyn Taylor (1906–1964) was a notable New Zealand engraver, commercial artist and publisher. He was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1906 but primarily lived and worked in Wellington, New Zealand until his sudden death at the age of 58.[1]


Taylor completed a number of murals towards the end of his career. Information is varied on the current status of these works: some are known to be intact, some have been boarded over, some are in need of restoration work, and the fate of others is simply unknown. These works are currently the subject of a Massey University College of Creative Arts research project, the E. Mervyn Taylor mural search & recovery project.[2][3][4]

List of murals[edit]

Original Location Architects Mural title Medium Dimensions Image Artist Date Current Location Notes Heritage listed
New Zealand Meat Board Directors' Room, Massey House, 126-132 Lambton Quay
Plischke & Firth Carved totara panel E. Mervyn Taylor c. 1957 Unknown
War Memorial Hall, 69 Main St
Sandblasted glass windows E. Mervyn Taylor 1957 In situ
Khandallah Presbyterian Church, 27 Ganges Rd, Khandallah
The Ascension Sandblasted glass windows E. Mervyn Taylor 1959 In situ
Post Office, 122 Queen St
Early Settlers Ceramic tiles 4400 x 4400 mm E. Mervyn Taylor 1960 Hidden behind a wall Masterton District Council
New Plymouth
War Memorial Hall, Museum & Library, 1 Ariki St
Edgar Collins Sandblasted glass window E. Mervyn Taylor 1960 In situ (site now known as Puke Ariki)
New Plymouth
Post Office, Cnr Gill and Currie Sts
Edgar Collins Sandblasted glass atrium ceiling Estimated at up to 8000 x 8000 mm E. Mervyn Taylor c. 1960 In situ, but partially covered and difficult to view (site now occupied by ANZ Banking Group)
War Memorial Stadium Hall of Memories, 2 Dixon St, North Masterton
Lest We Forget Ceramic tiles E. Mervyn Taylor 1960-61/1966 In situ
Centennial Library, 212 Marine Parade
Porter & Martin (A.A.) Painted wall partition, using a PVA matt latex paint from Resene E. Mervyn Taylor c. 1961 Unknown
Hutt Valley
Entrance foyer, Soil Bureau, 182 Eastern Hutt Rd, Taita
Porter & Martin (A.A.) First Kumera Planting Painting directly on concrete wall, using a PVA matt latex paint from Resene E. Mervyn Taylor 1962 Unknown. Site now occupied by The Learning Connexion art institution.
Entrance foyer (assumed), National Mutual Life Assurance Building, 153 Featherston St
Gray, Young, Morton & Calder Painting directly on wall E. Mervyn Taylor 1963 Unknown. Site now occupied by the Ibis Hotel.
COMPAC building, 1 Akoranga Drive, Northcote
Te Ika-a-Māui Ceramic tiles Approx. 2625mm (height) x 3430mm (width) E. Mervyn Taylor 1962 Removed from original location, undergoing restoration. Property of Spark NZ.
Entrance foyer of Broadcasting House
Supervising architect: Gordon Wilson (Government Architect) Time and Space Wooden carved panel, carved from one plank of kauri 1850 x 800 mm E. Mervyn Taylor 1963 Radio NZ boardroom, Radio New Zealand House, 155 The Terrace
Cable Price Downer House, 108 The Terrace (also referred to as 106-110)
Orchiston, Power & Associates Industry Ceramic tiles E. Mervyn Taylor 1964 Unknown Site now Berl House.

Expanded information on individual murals[edit]

Taita Soil Bureau, "First Kumera Planting"[edit]

One of his commissions was a mural at the Taitā headquarters of Soil Bureau depicting cloaked figure using a kō (Māori digging stick).[5] In the short film "Pictorial Parade No. 128",[6] produced in 1962 by the National Film Unit, Taylor can be seen discussing the mural with Mr. Normal Taylor (Director of the Soil Bureau), and subsequently painting it. Wall mural – painted in situ for the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR)’s Soil Building in Taita.

COMPAC Building, "Te Ika-a-Māui"[edit]

The mural was commissioned by the New Zealand Government to mark the 1962 completion of the Tasman leg of the Commonwealth Pacific Cable (COMPAC) – a huge underwater telephone cable system that connected New Zealand to its Commonwealth allies in the aftermath of World War Two. The mural was originally housed in the COMPAC landing station in Auckland. In 2014 this mural was discovered by artist Bronwyn Holloway-Smith. The work was brought to public attention once again through her project Te Ika-a-Akoranga.[7]

Other sources[edit]


  1. ^ Mackle, Tony. "Ernest Mervyn Taylor". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "E. Mervyn Taylor mural search & recovery project". Massey University College of Creative Arts. Massey University College of Creative Arts. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  3. ^ http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/about-massey/news/article.cfm?mnarticle_uuid=BAEA6C64-90ED-3141-0AA1-84B5420E9B00
  4. ^ http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/73986912/solving-a-wellington-art-history-mystery
  5. ^ Soil Bureau. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Information Series No. 94. 1973. 
  6. ^ National Film Unit. "Pictorial Parade No. 128". YouTube. Archives NZ. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  7. ^ Holloway-Smith, Bronwyn. "Te Ika-a-Akoranga". Bronwyn Holloway-Smith. Bronwyn Holloway-Smith. Retrieved 3 July 2015.