Arthur Taylor speaks out on first day of freedom

Arthur Taylor, one of the country's most notorious criminals, says he's a changed man and promises he'll live as a law-abiding citizen.

He was released on Monday after being denied parole on 19 previous occasions. Now one of his main priorities now is to get access to his daughter.

"It's still sinking in a bit actually. It's sort of surreal at the moment you know, 14 years I've been in there," Taylor says.

In there is, of course, jail. There's a lot to adjust to on the outside - even just the sunlight and wide open spaces and not using plastic utensils to eat

"This is the first set of steel cutlery I've picked up in 14 years," he says.

He's been out before - but ended up back inside. In fact, with 152 convictions to his name, he's been in and out of jail for much of the past four decades.

But he denies he's a violent man, and says the public "absolutely" has nothing to worry about. And he promises he won't be going back to jail.

"Arthur Taylor will never be going back to prison - ever," he told Newshub.

"For one thing, I'm a hell of a lot older. I was 40-something when I went to prison on this sentence."

Now his focus, he says, is his family - including seeing his 11-year-old daughter, who he had with former wife Carolyn Taylor.

"I just hope it doesn't end up in court - stupid stuff if it does. I want my daughter to know me and I want her to know her mum, who has now sadly died," he says.

Taylor's criminal past reads a bit like a movie script.

He broke out of maximum security in 1998 with three others and took refuge at a luxury Coromandel bach, only to be re-captured days later by the now Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

Then, in 2005, Taylor escaped again, but ended up crashing through the ceiling of a building and fell into a toilet cubicle - and onto an unsuspecting female occupant.

"They locked me up in maximum security and said 'you can't escape from here' so I showed them you could," he says.

More recently, however, he's turned from fugitive into courtroom battler. Now out, he says he'll continue to advocate for prisoners. And he's adamant he'll be staying away from his underworld contacts.

"Hey Mike, I might be a lot of things. But I'm not crazy or illogical!" he laughs.

He was engaged to law student Tui Hartman, but says that's on hold for now.

"[It's] on the backburner at the moment. I thought it's not fair until we see what each other is like in the real world," he says.

The real world for now is about adjusting to things like technology - and all the changes that have come with it.