Harris-Ching dropped out of school at a young age and completed an apprenticeship in advertising, becoming an art director before becoming a full-time painter. He had his first solo exhibition at the John Leech Galleries in Auckland in 1966. Entitled 'Thirty Birds', the show comprised highly detailed watercolours painted in drybrush technique.
The great success of this show led to a mammoth commission to illustrate the Reader's Digest Book of British Birds, which Harris-Ching completed in London over the course of a year. This highly influential book included 230 full-colour pictures, was translated into over ten European languages and has remained in print ever since its publication in 1969.
After this considerable achievement, Harris-Ching moved out of London but remained in the UK, where he has continued to paint birds, as well as other wildlife subjects and some portraits. Harris-Ching designed a 1999 British postage stamp, Darwin's theory, as part of a series on famous scientists. He is married to Carol Sinclair, who has produced a biography of the artist.
Harris-Ching has held solo shows at the Tryon in 1986, 1988, 1993, 1998, and 2007.