Central Interceptor’s Tunnel Boring Machine receives Matariki star name

We've officially named our giant new Central Interceptor Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), Hiwa-i-te-Rangi. It's one of the Matariki stars ​to which Māori would send their dreams or aspirations for the new year. 
Tunnel Boring Machines traditionally receive female names. Students from schools along the Central Interceptor tunnel route were asked to vote for the star they felt best represented the goals of the project and whose characteristics resonated with them personally. Hiwa-i-te-Rangi was the winning choice by over 100 votes, followed closely by Waitī, which is the star connected to fresh water.

The Matariki cluster of nine stars is known in some parts of Aotearoa as Puanga, and Hiwa-i-te-Rangi is the final star. Traditionally, Māori would send Hiwa-i-te-Rangi their wish as it also represents vigorous growth, as some people may make New Year’s resolutions or wish upon a star.
Central Interceptor executive programme director, Shayne Cunis says having a name for the TBM is an exciting milestone: “The TBM is currently being assembled at a factory in Germany. It’s great to have a name.

“Tunnellers are a superstitious lot and we like the fact the name was chosen by children, our next generation because the Central Interceptor will benefit Auckland, by cleaning up our waterways for many years to come.”

In recent weeks, our team and Ghella Abergeldie JV staff visited five schools to talk to students about the project. They were shown videos about wet-weather overflows and their impact on the sea and waterways and learnt why TBMs are traditionally given female names.

The students asked many questions about how the tunnel will be constructed

The presentation was delivered entirely in te Reo Māori in the Te Whānau Whāriki rūmaki immersion unit at Richmond Road School, Grey Lynn.

Richard Waiwai, Watercare Poutiaki, Tikanga Māori (principal advisor) says the team helped explain the Māori world view of astrology: “Matariki is closely linked to te Taiao or the natural environment. It’s a time to celebrate growth and new beginnings, so these characteristics are a natural fit for the Central interceptor project.

The whakataukī we used as the overarching guideline for choosing the TBM names was Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti arahia ō tātou mahi or let the uniqueness of the child guide our work.”

The schools received a copy of a Matariki book by Professor Rangi Matamua, the recent recipient of the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Award from the Royal Society of New Zealand. Dr Matamua also gave permission for imagery from his book to be used to create bookmarks for the children.

Tame Te Rangi, chair of the Mana Whenua Kaitiaki Forum Managers Group says: “The pathway set for the TBM will most certainly draw upon the most robust values of resilience and vigour as it goes about its core activities. Hiwa-i-te-Rangi personifies such qualities as the reputational iconic markers of those values.”
The Central Interceptor will run below ground from Grey Lynn, under the Manukau Harbour to the Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant. It will have several link sewers and shafts along the route for collecting and transferring wastewater into the tunnel.

The TBM will be shipped to New Zealand towards the end of the year. The name will be printed on the machine and it will be blessed before excavation begins.