Barry Taylor : following in the footsteps of Walt Disney-First published Feb 2020

November 16, 2021

Barry Taylor, or Tails to those who know him best, has enjoyed an illustrious life from engineering, inventing through to sportfishing and bowls administration.

When you’re a skinny, pasty 9-year old with a funny accent who’s just arrived in Arapuni on a boat from Scotland, and the local primary school kids nickname you ‘Tails’, then ‘Tails’ is what you become.

Barry Taylor has been ‘Tails’ since 1947. Ever since his father, a Rolls Royce Aero Test Bench Inspector who worked on the Merlin engines for Spitfires and Mosquitos during the war, brought the Taylor family out to experience new opportunities in the Antipodes.

Alan was a pretty clever guy. But apparently not clever enough for the people at TEAL who turned him down for a job maintaining the engines of the Solent Flying Boats at Mechanics Bay.

He had more luck with a bloke called Bruce McLaren, who recognised the added performance the Taylor Water Injection System gave racing cars of the day.

As a result, Alan Taylor’s many inventions (including the Taylor Car Water Heater) became part of the engineering folklore of New Zealand. ‘Tails’ followed in his father’s footsteps. But when he went stone deaf in one ear, Barry gave up engineering, and tried something completely different … becoming involved with marketing and advertising for the tabloid 8 O’clock, the New Zealand Women’s Weekly, and eventually the Reader’s Digest for 14 years.

Barry has heard more jokes about the little book in the little room than anyone else. But it was a holiday in the Bay of Islands with his wife Jill, that pointed Barry to a new future.

They loved the place so much, they impetuously put an offer on a property in Paihia. A matter of eight weeks later, Barry had thrown in his job at Reader’s Digest and become the Secretary/Manager of the Bay of Islands Golf Club at Waitangi.

But an even newer future awaited.

The legendary ‘Snooks’ Fuller, owner of the legendary ‘Lady Doreen’ outfitted with its legendary 4 gamefishing chairs, shoulder-tapped Barry to become the full-time marketer for the fleet of then 9 gamefishing launches operating out of the Bay of Islands Charter Boat Association.

The Bay had become one of the renowned gamefishing capitals of the world, and Barry was the guy to capitalise on that demand. Barry built the business up to 900 days a year on an expanded fleet of 21 launches. But the States was the centre of the sportfishing world.

Or at least the centre of the universe where people had the money to sportfish throughout the world.

So in 1984, Barry and his wife Jill shipped off to Los Angeles with the New Zealand Sportfishing Marketing Group (which comprised the likes of Air New Zealand, Mt Cook, the THC hotels, the trout guides, lodges and more) to tell Americans about world renowned sportfishng in New Zealand. The two-year posting turned in to 14 years. Barry visited many sportfishing clubs in the States, setting club members’ ambitions on a trip to New Zealand.

Somewhere along the way, some lawn bowls came into the mix. In fact, Barry started at the now merged Carlton Bowling Club (beneath the Newmarket Viaduct) in 1978, where he came runner up in the Junior Pairs twice and won the Junior Fours.

Those were the days when a ‘junior’ was a lead or two – regardless of years played and age. Despite managing the Charter Boat Association, he joined the Waitangi Bowling Club in the Bay of Islands and added some more club titles to his collection.

The adventure to LA in 1984 allowed him to do what not many other Kiwi bowlers would’ve done … he joined the Pasadena and Beverly Hills Bowling Clubs and played this most genteel of games in this most ungenteel city.

 THe remarkable four-foot trophy made of solid Brazilian redwood, with imbeds of Walt’s four personal lawn bowls, topped by a golden foot-high Mickey Mouse figurine.

Barry can even claim to have been runner-up in the Walt Disney Masters Singles on 6 to 8 second greens! It was a well-recognised event as Walt Disney himself had been a dedicated member and early benefactor at the Beverly Hills Bowling Club.

When the Taylors eventually came back to New Zealand, Barry took up the newly combined position of Centre Manager, Secretary and Treasurer of the then Kapiti Coast Bowling Centre.

It was right up Barry’s alley.

As a sleeves-rolled up type of guy, Barry was able to get stuck in and shift the Centre office to new digs, assist with the change of governance to a board structure, and introduce new emerging technologies to the Centre and its clubs.

With a marketing and sales guy in charge, the centre renamed itself to Bowls Kapiti Coast and Barry took to travelling about the clubs … helping them out with whatever.

Barry did great work in the Centre for 20 years.

“Unfortunately, I had to give it up because of poor health,” says Barry resignedly. “But it doesn’t stop me recalling the wonderful life I’ve had with Jill and the two kids … and now three grandkids and two great grandchildren.”

Keep up the fight, Barry, we’re with you all the way!