Experienced leaders appointed to TVNZ and RNZ Boards

Broadcasting and Media

The Minister for Broadcasting and Media Willie Jackson has appointed a group of experienced and skilled leaders to the boards of RNZ and TVNZ. 

“This Government supports RNZ and TVNZ in being world leaders in providing trusted news and stories that reflect our unique way of life and culture and these appointments will help drive both outlets into a new era,” said Willie Jackson. 

“The boards of RNZ and TVNZ have an incredibly important role in shaping the direction of public media in Aotearoa.

“We are excited to have selected a range of talented individuals to take up these vital leadership roles. The line-up includes some familiar faces and a wide range of expertise across public media, governance, marketing, finance, law and cultural development,” Willie Jackson said. 

Strategic consultant, accountant and skilled leader Dr Jim Mather (Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe) has been reappointed as Chair of the RNZ Board, alongside Irene Gardiner, Michael O’Donnell and Jane Wrightson. Broadcaster Jason Ake (Ngāti Ranginui) and experienced governor Sina Wendt join the Board for the first time. 

At TVNZ, Alastair Carruthers will take up the role of Chair, with Ripeka Evans (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Te Aupouri and Ngāti Porou) joining him as Deputy Chair. Alastair brings expertise in financial management, communications, and digital technology and systems to the Board. Ripeka is an experienced leader with a strong background in television, broadcasting and Māori development. 

Meg Matthews (Ngāi Tahu) and Aliesha Staples have been reappointed as directors of TVNZ and will be joined on the Board by lawyer and former broadcaster Linda Clark and experienced governor and strategic thinker John Quirk. 

“I am excited to see these two Boards take shape to lead RNZ and TVNZ into the future. 

“I am especially pleased to see the mix of commercial and public media experience, alongside a good balance of fresh faces and institutional knowledge. 

“These appointments represent an exciting new era for our public broadcasters as they continue to tackle the challenges of our changing digital and media landscape, ensuring that our public media is serving all people of Aotearoa now and into the future,” Willie Jackson said.

 Notes for editors: 

  • After these appointments, both Boards will have six members. A further member for each Board will be sought later this year for a 2024 start, to allow further opportunity to complement the existing skills and experience.
  • The terms of Jim Mather, Irene Gardiner, Jane Wrightson (RNZ) and Alastair Carruthers, Ripeka Evans, Aliesha Staples (TVNZ) are three years commencing on 1 July 2023.
  • The terms of Jason Ake, Sina Wendt (RNZ) and Linda Clark, Meg Matthews, John Quirk (TVNZ) are two years commencing on 1 July 2023.
  • Michael O’Donnell’s (RNZ) term is one year commencing on 1 July 2023.

 RNZ Board Biographies:

Reappointment – Chair 

Dr Jim Mather (Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe) is a skilled board member and chair with experience across a range of sectors including transport, media, health and education services, including as Chief Executive of Māori Television. He is a qualified accountant and a strategic Māori development consultant who specialises in the facilitation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi wānanga, strategy workshops, leadership development, board reviews, and integration of tikanga Māori into the culture of client organisations. He also has experience as a director on commercial boards. 

Appointments – Governor

Jason Ake (Ngāti Ranginui) has a background in journalism and production and has had an extensive career in communications, leadership, strategic analysis and project management. Jason has solid media and broadcasting experience which includes his time as a presenter for TV3, news producer and reporter/newsreader at Aotearoa Radio. He has over 15 years’ experience at a strategic level and is experienced in Māori communications and engagement strategy and was the chair for Maōri media sectorship review panel.

 Sina Wendt has 25 years working in governance and executive leadership roles across the commercial, public and not-for-profit sectors. Her experience includes Chief Executive roles at Leadership New Zealand Trust and National Pacific Radio Trust Inc, the first national Pan-Pacific radio broadcasting network which connects Pacific communities across New Zealand.

 Reappointment – Governors

Irene Gardiner has an extensive background in journalism and as a television producer and director.  She has more recently been a commentator on media and screen matters for both radio and television. She is also currently the president of SPADA (the producers’ guild) and is a board member of Able (a media access charitable trust) and Chamber Music NZ.

 Michael O’Donnell is a professional director with a focus on public good and consumer value. He has a background in funds management and was on the board for Kiwibank for a number of years.  Mr O’Donnell is experienced in technology and the digital transformation space.

Jane Wrightson has significant leadership experience in New Zealand media, having worked as a public media funder, a broadcast executive, and regulator for 30 years. She was previously Chief Executive of NZ on Air and Broadcasting Standards Authority. Jane is an experienced governor and is currently in her second term as part time Retirement Commissioner.

TVNZ Board Biographies:

Appointment – Chair

 Alastair Carruthers is an experienced governor and held the Chief Executive Officer position for Chapman Tripp for over ten years. His areas of expertise include financial management and accountability, marketing and communications, and digital technology and systems.  His directorships include being chair of Arts Council for New Zealand, a member of Unitec Institute of Technology Council and more recently Chair of Allpress Espresso Group of companies. He is also the current Chair of the NZ Film Commission.

 Appointment – Deputy Chair

Ripeka Evans (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Te Aupouri and Ngāti Porou) Ripeka is a director on Crown, Iwi and investment boards and a Māori development strategist. She was a senior executive at Television New Zealand and Chief Executive of Te Māngai Pāho the Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency. She has led transformational change as Chair, NorthTec and Deputy Chair, of Toi Ohomai Polytechnic. Currently Deputy Chair of Tupu Tonu the Ngāpuhi Investment Fund and Chair of the Courageous Conversation Aotearoa Foundation. 

 Appointments – Director

Linda Clark is an experienced lawyer who has managed a diverse range of complex legal, political, and regulatory relationships and disputes. Before her law career, Linda was a journalist and broadcaster. Linda has a thorough understanding of the New Zealand public broadcasting and media sector through her own experiences and her continued mentoring of young journalists. She is currently a member of the NZ Police Risk Assurance Committee.

 John Quirk has a significant governance career in the media and advertising industry and has a good understanding of broadcast and digital trends, both internationally and domestically. John has spent the last 20 years working in strategic investment and corporate advisory roles. He has extensive governance experience specialising in high growth, high tech companies including being chair of the Kordia Group.

Reappointments – Directors

Meg Matthews (Ngāi Tahu) has broad leadership and commercial experience across the marketing, finance, organisational strategy, and human resources sectors. She has significant experience in the travel and tourism industry and a growing understanding of Māori tikanga. Her governance experience includes directorships at Port Nelson and Real NZ and she was also chair for Cawthorn Institute and Nelson Regional Development Agency.

 Aliesha Staples has a significant background in media, technology, and innovation with a 15-year background in the film industry and is a producer of VR/AR, gaming, and technology solutions for a global audience. She is the founder and CEO of Staples VR, an emerging tech consultancy and development company, and specialises in innovation and digital disruption.