David Ellis CNZM
Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM celebrated his first winner with Magnum in 1978 and his first Group 1 winner when Cosmetique (Barcas) won the 1986 Easter Handicap (Gr. 1, 1600m) at Ellerslie.
His immediate thoughts were that he would like to share the incredible experience with others and, so, Te Akau Racing began with Ellis buying horses and inviting people to race them.
Since then, Ellis has overseen an operation that trained well over 2000 winners, more than 260 black type or stakes wins, and his keen eye has selected horses to win over 70 Group 1 races – 92% of which he bought.
Ellis is acknowledged as one of the most successful and astute racehorse buyers, breeders, owners, and bloodstock consultants in New Zealand, and created a business that employs over 100 people in New Zealand and Singapore.
Brought up rurally in Pakuranga, and a member of the Howick Pony Club, Ellis boarded from age nine and represented King’s College, Auckland, at rugby, cricket, swimming and rowing.
He developed a love of animals and farming life and first year out of school attended Flock House Agricultural College in Bulls, where the principal was ex All Black coach JJ Stewart. He followed with a Diploma Degree in Agriculture, which required three years practical farming experience, from Massey University.
Ellis purchased 575 acres in 1979 at Waimai Valley, and bought a neighbouring farm in 1982 to develop Te Akau Stud.
Te Akau Stud now comprises 4000 acres, runs 2500 breeding ewes, 2200 steers and 800 ewe hoggets and finishes about 3500 lambs each year, alongside breeding, rearing, breaking-in, and spelling horses.
Awards and positions held:
- Bloodstock manager for corporate entity that owned Magic Millions (bloodstock sales) in Australia.
- Chairman and now Life Member of Waikato Racing Club.
- Northern Director on New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Board.
- Director of NZ Thoroughbred Marketing
- Gallagher Agriculture and Primary Production award winner at the 2009/10 Waikato Business Excellence Awards.
- Finalist in prestigious Waikato Management School Leader of the Year Award.
- 2017, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Awards “Outstanding Contribution to Racing Excellence”.
- 2020, appointed as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in the Queen’s Birthday Royal Honours.
David is married to broadcaster Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM. Karyn was an inaugural Trackside TV presenter and continued in the role for 26 years.
She is also past World President of Junior Chamber International (Jaycees) and immediate past Chairman of Waikato Racing Club.
David and Karyn reside with their two dogs at Te Akau Stud. Between them they have five adult children.
“We strive to provide owners with the same emotional thrills of winning that I first experienced many years ago, and carry on reliving every time we train a winner,” Ellis said.
“We continue to work with a great team of people and try to do the job better than everybody else.”
Te Akau Racing has collected 10 training premiership titles: seven in New Zealand, and three in Singapore.