An ENVI-able awards night

An ENVI-able awards night

What a fine group of finalists rolled up for last night’s Engineering New Zealand ENVI Awards!  Tonkin + Taylor extends its heartfelt congratulations and thanks to everyone involved.

In particular, we’d like to applaud Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency, KiwiRail and the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Rebuild (NCTIR) Alliance. On the back of a joint win in the Engineering Impact category (with Auckland Council’s Te Auaunga), they went on to win the Supreme Award.

Meanwhile, we also take our hats off to Honor Columbus, who took away the Diversity Award for Māori and Pasifika in Construction, a self-funded, volunteer run initiative based in Ōtautahi/Christchurch. Via a speaker series, social media and connecting members to mentors, scholarships and other opportunities, the vision is to create an equitable construction industry where Māori and Pasifika people may participate and lead at all levels.

Honor created the project in 2018, after hearing Māori and Pasifika talk about the pressure to assimilate when they entered the engineering profession, and how that led to a loss of culture and community connections.

Both of these awards acknowledge not just engineers’ and scientists’ innovations and achievements, but serve to cast the spotlight on the communities they serve, and the role community plays in their success, even at the darkest of hours. In recent years, there has potentially been no better example than the small South Island township of Kaikōura.

When a devastating sequence of 21 fault ruptures with a combined magnitude of 7.8 Mw rocked Hurunui-Kaikōura in November 2016, Kaikōura’s road and rail links were severed and its port – the township’s economic heart – was rendered commercially inoperable.

The rebuild saw the NCTIR Alliance, comprised of 26 professional firms including Tonkin + Taylor, literally moving mountains – not only to restore normality, but to build back better.

Day and night, 2000 devoted, determined staff worked tirelessly to assess, mitigate and repair land damage, reinstate road and rail connectivity, and bring the township’s port – and its economy - back to life. Their dedication to task was so great, that this was achieved in record time.

The people of Kaikōura also rallied, lending their support at every level. In return, the recovery process helped to keep the local economy afloat, with small businesses flourishing in a time of adversity.

Just yesterday, Lyn Collins contacted Tonkin + Taylor to share her poignant memories of the days after the earthquake and to praise the work undertaken by so many:

“A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking the train from Christchurch to Kaikōura, my little home town, to visit my Dad. My parents were also affected by the night of Nov 14th and my Mum has since passed away. I was choppered in on day 5 of the earthquake and was overcome with emotion as I took photos and video footage of the devastation the earthquake had caused as we navigated our way to KK along the coast.

“On the train I was teary again when we reached the coast, not only because I could see and appreciate the amount of work that had taken place over the last 3 years, but also [at] the fact that my Grandfather was a surveyor with the Ministry of Works and surveyed not only the coastal roads, but namely also the train tunnels. How proud he would’ve been of the huge effort by all to achieve what you have and when the train passed through the first tunnel my heart nearly burst.