Profiles of North Canterbury Radio Trustees and Management

OWEN PATERSON (Founding Chairman)

Owen trained as a teacher before embarking on a career as a radio and television broadcaster, newsreader and television producer-director. He was the first face on TV in Christchurch during tests in 1961.

In 1969 he moved to the UK for experience and, as Director of Special Operations for a BBC subsidiary, helped develop the use of live satellite programmes before forming his own UK-based communications company Visionlink International Ltd. A founder member of the International Society of Satellite Professionals, he co-ordinated transmissions for the First German Spacelab Mission and was a keynote speaker at several US satellite symposia while a member of the Royal Television Society.

During his career working for broadcast networks, the corporate world and government agencies, Owen directed events in over 70 countries. During this time he worked with artists as diverse as Sir Peter Ustinov, John Denver and Sir Michael Caine, was involved in a number of Third-World UNICEF projects and had “character-building” experiences with many Heads of State. His long interest in the performing arts and education proved useful as a Governor of Cricklade (Tertiary) College in Hampshire.

In 2001 Owen retired back home to North Canterbury where he grew up and now participates in several community service projects. A Rotarian, he also shares his experiences as guest speaker at service groups and clubs.

GARETH RENOWDEN (Board Chairman)

Gareth, an Oxford University graduate, is a writer, photographer and truffle grower based in the Waipara Valley. He has had a 35-year career in journalism and magazine publishing and has written books on olive growing, truffles and climate change. He is the publisher of the influential Hot Topic blog covering climate change science and policy. His most recent book is a science fiction satire set in NZ. Gareth has been actively involved in the New Zealand truffle industry’s development since 1997, being a Past President of the Truffle Association. He was a founder member of the Waipara River Protection Group and played a key role in developing a management strategy for the river. Gareth is also a committee member of the New Zealand Meteorological Society.


Ron van Til is the owner of an award-winning large-scale bakery operation which supports 150 staff. A former board member of the NZ Baking Society, Ron’s background includes Supermarket Management in Australia and Key Account Management for Colgate Palmolive. He currently sits on the Board of Enterprise North Canterbury, mentors many other business owners in his spare time, and still finds time to participate actively in various local sports. Having lived in North Canterbury most of his life Ron is very passionate about the local community.


David is presently Mayor of Waimakariri but has served as a local Councillor for more than 20 years. He is a retired educationalist whose career has included positions as Assistant or Deputy Principals of Cashmere and Rangiora High Schools and as a Teacher-Adviser at the Christchurch College of Education. He is involved in a range of local community groups including the Rangiora Early Records Society, the Waimakariri Community Arts Council, the Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group, the Methodist Parish, Rotary and Community Watch.

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