Improving social outcomes

The Central Interceptor is much more than a tunnel

The tunnel is being built to last 100 years, creating an environmental legacy for the people of Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau. However, our ambition for the project extends well beyond construction. We also want to deliver social outcomes that improve the well-being of communities along the tunnel route.
To do so, we have adopted four keystone values:
  • Tuakana-Teina: effective succession, mentoring, future workforce, internships, apprenticeships, career pathways
  • Mauri Ora: creating wellbeing and maintaining mauri/lifeforce/essence of both people and the environment
  • Whanaungatanga: family-based approach to work, being community-minded, ensuring quality of stakeholder, community and industry relationships
  • Tangata Whakapapa: embracing the wholeness of a person, true inclusion.
To support these values, a cultural outcomes group is guiding our programmes and providing advice on our initiatives. This group comprises representatives from Mana Whenua, our Watercare team and our contractor. You can read more about our social outcomes initiatives below. We’ve also put together a brochure of our social outcomes to date: click here to download.

Targeted student internships for Māori and Pasifika

The Central Interceptor (CI) project is committed to recruiting more Māori and Pasifika students, who can contribute to a growing national network of Māori and Pasifika business leaders. To help us do so, we have introduced the Ara Tātaki Engineering Pathway Scholarship. This is a partnership between the Watercare Central Interceptor Project and the University of Auckland, Faculty of Engineering.

Our objective is to provide targeted support to students from communities underrepresented in the engineering industry. This programme for the successful intern includes mentorship from UoA, three years’ scholastic funding from Watercare, a summer internship with the Central Interceptor and other casual work opportunities with us through-out the year.

This initiative will pave the way for a Māori or Pasifika student by removing roadblocks that might otherwise hinder their progress in our industry. We hope the programme will encourage other Māori and Pasifika students to take on engineering as a career option, knowing that it is both achievable and that there are organisations which support their aspirations.

Photo: Marihi Hōhepa Te Huia on his first day at work

To attract interest from eligible students, we advertised via the faculty social media channels, chat groups and relevant engineering forums. Fourteen students expressed interest, with five going on to apply for the Scholarship. Students were required to answer several questions and submit a short video explaining: “What impact would the Ara Tātaki Scholarship have on you, your family and your community?”

Shortlisted applicants progressed to a panel interview phase, consisting of representation from CI, UoA and mana whenua. Our interview panel reached a unanimous decision to award the 2022 Ara Tātaki Engineering Pathway Scholarship to second-year engineering student, Marihi Hōhepa Te Huia, who has iwi affiliation with Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngātiwai.

Marihi is a great fit for Ara Tātaki and he was a standout during the interview process, showing a high level of maturity and self-awareness. Marihi was able to demonstrate resilience gained through life experience and a deep connection to his culture, community and environment: all qualities we believe will propel him forward as he begins his career in engineering.

Manu Whenua laundry service in full swing

A commercial laundry services partnership with Mana Whenua hapū, Te Ahiwaru, is well-underway. Named Te Whare Manaaki, the laundromat opened for business in November 2021. It launders between 100 and 500 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) sets a day from all our CI sites.
Construction sites can expose employees to potentially harmful substances. Employees could take residue home on their soiled PPE, if there has been significant exposure. This could then pose a risk to whānau or household members who share the washing machine or facility used to clean the PPE.
Us and CI main contractor, Ghella Abergeldie Joint Venture (GAJV), were pleased to source and finance the laundromat infrastructure. This consists of two containers: one equipped with commercial washing machines and driers and the other with sewing and embroidery machines, with additional space to store PPE.
For the marae, this is an opportunity to run a new business, with the work experience lifting aspirations of the younger generation who are not currently in employment. The service is managed by Te Ahiwaru Trust operations manager, Tuini Tuwha, and employs three operators. Tuini says: “All those employed for the day-to-day services are descendants of Te Ahiwaru from Makaurau Marae. We’re excited about the new challenges and learnings to come; it’s a positive step forward for us.”
Staff member, Tommy Huia, busy with another big load
Photo: Staff member, Tommy Huia, busy with another big load

Supporting our neighbourhood schools

Make Give Live is a social enterprise focused on easing isolation and improving mental health and well-being in the community. Local groups meet weekly to craft beautiful knitted or crocheted items for those in need.
After Ghella Abergeldie JV bought 200 knitted beanies from the organisation we purchased 200 distinctive, bright pairs of slippers for our neighbours, May Road School. We are so pleased to be able to help the children’s learning by keeping them warm in the classroom.
Photo of May Road School pupils with their Make Give Live slippers
Photo: May Road School pupils with their Make Give Live slippers

Morningside Urban Market Garden

Grow Space is a community-focused, sustainable social enterprise. It aims to build the business skills, financial independence and social connections of migrants and refugees.
CI’s office is in Eden Park so we’ve sponsored a space at the park for an urban market garden, with a greenhouse, watering system and raised garden beds. A number of migrant and refugee women have utilised the space to develop gardening and business skills. They mainly focus on sustainability and using organic horticulture techniques, and are now delivering fresh produce to restaurants in the local area.
Photo of urban market gardeners harvesting mung beans
Photo: Urban market gardeners harvesting mung beans (Credit: Grow Space)

Leaving a legacy for our people: Dig Deep

One of our wellbeing initiatives is to enhance the long-term employment prospects and personal situations of our workforce by improving their confidence and capability. In 2020, we launched the Dig Deep Programme, a weekly two-hour workshop for 7-10 students, running over 20 weeks. Students are selected from a wide range of backgrounds, all with varying levels of work experience.

The Programme aims to build confidence with important life skills such as the improving their English language, managing money, learning to use technology and understanding health and safety.

Photo of our first Dig Deep graduates, Ernie Gotz, foreground, and Sione Pulu
Photo: Two of our first Dig Deep graduates, Ernie Gotz (foreground) and Sione Pulu

At our own custom-built training and induction centre in Māngere, we’ve now run six ‘cohorts’ with 37 graduates in total. Although literacy and numeracy elements are built into the course, students can use the course to gain a range of qualifications. For example, three graduates have earned a Dogman, a key role in construction, responsible for rigging crane loads and safe crane operations.
The programme has also been great for communication and team-building between employees and their supervisors. Some of the attendees also said they now have more patience, feel less stressed, and want to keep learning. We are pleased that improved confidence is such a practical help to our people, at work and in family and community situations.

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