Timaru still home for TV racing pioneer

Karyn Fenton-Ellis
Karyn Fenton-Ellis

Former Timaru woman Karyn Fenton-Ellis has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community, arts and racing.

"I was extremely surprised and very humbled," she said.

Although she now lives in Waikato, she still calls Timaru home.

"I basically spent all my formative years there. I was educated at Waimataitai and Craighead Diocesan School. I have many fond and strong memories - the first race meeting I attended was at Phar Lap Raceway."

Many of her areas of interest have their roots in South Canterbury.

"I was a keen member of the (South Canterbury) drama league for many, many years."

Mrs Fenton-Ellis said it was the people she met and organisations she belonged to that had boosted her to where she is today.

"It's really not an individual thing. There is a whole raft of people who enable a person to succeed."

In 1992 she shifted to Wellington to present Trackside television.

She is currently the director of Te Akau Racing in New Zealand and Singapore.

Mrs Fenton-Ellis was a trailblazer for New Zealand racing broadcasting as the inaugural presenter for Trackside TV and Radio Trackside.

She was elected chair of the Waikato Racing Club in 2013 and is a member of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Members' Council.

She has been a member of Jaycees since 1984, and was national president in 1993 and world president in 2000.

She has implemented a number of arts sponsorships and was a trustee of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand from 2007 to 2009 and a board member of the Christchurch Arts Festival for two terms..

"I'm extremely privileged to be given the opportunity to contribute," she said. "It doesn't matter how much or how little, everyone can contribute to make New Zealand a better place."

The Timaru Herald