Ventia employee Anthea van Zuylen pictured outside

Connecting fibre to some of New Zealand's most remote and rugged regions is just one part of Anthea Van Zuylen's job.

For her and her team, the real connections come from the communities that they work in and the positive legacy that they try to leave everywhere they go! 

Anthea and her team have just completed another critical fibre connection at Castle Hill, an alpine village in the Canterbury region. This successful project came directly off the back of delivering a project on behalf of Chorus at Arthur's Pass, a village nestled amongst the Southern Alps in New Zealand's South Island.

"From the start we knew they would be challenging builds," Anthea says.

We strived to leave a light footprint in the eco-sensitive area as the villages are nestled in National Parks. Due to its remote location, logistics management has been key; and also, the small community aspect has been an important factor.

view of mountains in the Canterbury region, New Zealand

The Canterbury region in New Zealand's South Island.


Engaged in community

The 'community aspect' that Anthea refers to has become a key feature of her job, and it's clear that the team has left a positive impact on the community wherever they have gone. 

"The team dug a trench for a local café owner in their own time one weekend, and I joined the local WhatsApp group to answer any queries and to let the villagers know which roads the team is working on so their vehicles can be moved early if needed." 

She says many residents are keen on using the large rocks Ventia digs up (while trenching to lay the fibre network) for gardens and walls in front of their properties. Anthea double checked this was okay with local authorities and the team has been happy to drop them off or assist in the pickup. This has been great for the relationship with the community, and it has also reduced the amount of exported material Ventia has to cart away, making it a win for all.

Anthea says that when the team were working on the Arthur's Pass fibre-build they also assisted with a community program to rebuild an historic cricket field in the area; providing hardfill and using an excavator to help create a bund between the highway and the field.

The team enjoys helping out where they can, just doing a bit extra to make sure we're leaving the place in a way that upholds our companies' good reputations.

Chorus fibre works in New Zealand

The team put effort into helping the local community, doing extra wherever they can.


A pioneer in New Zealand telecommunications 

It's been more than 30 years' since Ventia's Anthea Van Zuylen first entered the telecommunications industry as one of the first females to graduate from the New Zealand Post Office Technical Training Scheme. 

Anthea was born in Christchurch, and upon finishing school, joined the New Zealand Post Office as a trainee lineswoman in 1986. 

"In those days I guess it was an unusual career path for a female," she says. "At one stage I was the only female lineswoman in the South Island. By the time I gained my Advanced Trade Certificate, there were several of us working in the field all over New Zealand."

Before joining Ventia in October 2021, she worked for several years as a project manager at Nelson Underground Services and as Operations Manager at Connect 8 in Auckland.

A natural leader, Anthea's job is to keep projects running smoothly, ensuring optimal health and safety, and making sure work is completed to an exceptional level and in compliance with all standards and requirements.

"Health and safety is the most important factor on site," she says. 

I take my role seriously to prevent harm to my team and the wider community. At our morning tailgate meetings, we discuss the days' activities and how to manage them safely; this can mean I could update and adjust safety measures over the day.

Cottage in Arthur

The recent successful project came directly off the back of delivering a project on behalf of Chorus at Arthur's Pass.


Redefining Service Excellence 

So much of what Anthea and her team do is about delivering excellence for our clients and the communities in which they are working. That doesn't mean she's content with what they have already done; she's always on the hunt for new ways to improve our service.

"My idea of redefining service excellence in the field is by being responsive to customer requests, council issues and Chorus escalations," she says.

"I show innovation by presenting design alternatives to improve build delivery and cost efficiencies, and we demonstrate sustainability as a team by always looking for ways to help local communities, reducing long distance travel with good planning and minimising our impact on the environment as much as possible."

A Chorus vehicle