Chathams Radio Staff

Managers of New Zealand Post Office radio stations were in the early days referred to as Officers in Charge, then later as Superintendents, and finally as Managers.

Officers in Charge

JL DaviesJohn L Davies, 26 May 1913 – 1914. More

Ralph Stanley Wheeler, Timaru telegraph office, 1933Ralph S Wheeler, 24 May 1914 – 1916. More

WFC (Frank) WhitemanWFC (Frank) Whiteman, 6 September 1916 – 1917. More

LH (Les) SteeleLes H Steel, 8 October 1917 – 1918 and 1919-1920. More


pellow-a_80Alf Pellow, from 25 August 1920. More

ALM Wllis, first manager of the Awarua wireless stationALM (Les) Willis, from 16 February 1923. More

Unknown personT Gates, from 21 October 1926. More

Les Elliston, manager of Awanui RadioLJ (Les) Elliston, from 4 April 1930. More

Unknown personD McMahon, from 26 February 1933. More

CN (Chas) HairCN Hair, from 18 November 1940. More

JU (Jack) BonischJU (Jack) Bonisch, from 14 November 1944. More

Unknown personCR Wyllie, from 22 October 1952. More

columb-pj_80Patrick J Columb, 3 June 1953 – 1957. More

JF (Jack) RyanJF (Jack) Ryan, 31 August 1957 – 1966. More

Unknown personKW Walford, from 31 January 1966. More

Unknown personDC Boyes, from 9 May 1967. More

Dennis E HoranDennis E Horan, from 29 September 1967. More


Photo unavailableBrian J Donaldson, 1975 – 6 July 1981. More

Lester Price, Manager, Chatham Islands Radio, c1982Lester J Price, 21 September 1981 – 1985. More

Paul D Burke, 1985Paul D Burke, 11 Dec 1985 – 15 Feb 1989. More

Tai Rio, Chatham Islands RadioNN (Tai) Rio, from 16 Feb 1989 until the station closed in 1991.

Thank you to Stephanie Day for assistance with preparing this list.

List of staff from the 75th Anniversary Scrapbook – 1988

ZLC staff list

ZLC staff list

ZLC staff list


I think corrections are required between the names D Condell and K Holt. There were at least two Shearers working in radio around that time. One was Dave Shearer, Radio Technician (working at ZLW/Makara) and the other was Dave Shearer (Supervisor, Room 53) Neither of them were anywhere near ZLC in 1958.
Enter me arriving at the Chathams 15.12.56 and leaving there on or about 12.5.1958 based on Dave Smith’s arrival (he relieved me) – thus:
D Condell: 3. 7. 1956 – 14.11.58
R C Williams: 15. 12. 1956 – ?. 5. 1958
D C Smith: 12. 5. 1958 – 4. 2. 1959

– Clyde Williams

JK (Bill) Riley was an operator c1947-1949, during which time he married Noelene on the Chathams. According to electoral rolls, they lived in Karori in 1949. They returned to the Chathams in 1952 and stayed until approximately 1958, during which time Bill was again an operator at ZLC.

I’m pretty sure Ken Wyatt was appointed a supervisor after AP Meek left.

M James refers to MJ Haurua. When he joined the PO the recruiting guy said Haurua was difficult to pronounce so suggested he use his second name, James, as his surname.

NRD Marshall says 14.2.1979 to 14.8.1978. Probably a typo. Likely departed 14.8.1979.

– Paul Burke (Mar 2019)


JU (John) BonischJU (Jack) Bonisch

Paul D BurkePaul D Burke

Patrick J ColumbPatrick J Columb

JL DaviesJohn L Davies

Les Elliston, manager of Awanui RadioLJ (Les) Elliston

CA Glennie of Awarua Radio ZLBCharles Alan Glennie

Tony Graham at ZLC in 1982Tony Graham

James Henry HamptonJames Henry Hampton

Dennis E HoranDennis E Horan

GW Marston, radio operatorGeorge W Marston

Alf PellowAlf Pellow

Lester Price, Manager, Chatham Islands Radio, c1982Lester J Price

JF (Jack) RyanJF (Jack) Ryan

LH (Les) SteeleLH (Les) Steel

Ralph Stanley WheelerRalph S Wheeler

WFC (Frank) WhitemanWFC (Frank) Whiteman

R Clyde Williams, radio operator, 1957R Clyde Williams
“I arrived by flying boat on 15 December 1956. The following day Prince Phillip aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia arrived at the Chathams Islands. He only stayed one day and I stayed 513 days.”

ALM WllisALM Willis


  1. Robert Arthur Gibson (Titch)
    02 August 2018

    Just come to the website looking at Gothic fire, had an uncle who was electrical officer on her. I did a couple of stints at ZLC first was 6 months from may to November??? 1969 and 6 – 9 months ish?? ending september 1973 I also did a couple of relief spells and a non-work visit some time up to 1982?? also very”ish”

  2. Clyde Williams
    26 April 2017

    I am sure it would have been he. Thanks

  3. Peter Huitson
    21 February 2017

    When I was at the Post Office Radio Training School at Trentham in 1970, Irwin Smith was the chief tutor. Could have been the same chap.

  4. Clyde Williams
    08 November 2016

    Brain explosion. The operator I relieved at ZLC Dec 1956 Irwin (Smith)? I had never heard of him before I arrived and I cannot recall ever hearing of him again. Where did he end up?

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