Transpower's STAR Awards give recognition to the people who build, operate and maintain New Zealand's National Grid - the people who are keeping the lights on for everyone in New Zealand.

The STAR Awards - which stands for 'Safety Thanks and Recognition' - are held every two years and champion best practice. 

Sixty-six nominations were received for Transpower's STAR Awards 2021. An independent panel of judges shortlisted these to 17 finalists across six award categories, and Ventia was thrilled to secure four of these awards.


Simon Norton

Winner: Frontline Leadership Award

A person with over two years' service in the electricity industry who demonstrates outstanding commitment to health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.

Simon Norton showed his strong natural leadership while keeping safety front-of-mind during the Rangitata River flood response. This Canterbury weather event in December 2019 took out nine of Transpower's transmisison towers. Simon was integral to the success of the recovery operation, from the high-pressure first response to leading the months-long remedial works, including planning and staff management. He is considered an outstanding leader, trainer and mentor to trainees and teammates alike. 

Simon Norton - award winner

Ventia Central Lines CPK-WIL B Team

Winner: Safety Innovation Award

An innovation, improved design, or new technology with potential for safety improvement industry-wide.

The team from Ventia worked with Hanmer Engineering to develop the 'Conductor Catcher' - an innovative device designed to reduce the risk to people in the event of a conductor or joint failure when undertaking re-conductoring work. The Conductor Catcher, which allows a conductor to be pulled through a puller machine once installed, removes the need to keep repositioning and resetting winches, and in the event of a failure the device clamps on to the conductor to prevent it dropping. This device has not only improved the safety of workers, it has also delivered time and cost savings.

Safety innovation award

Southern Team, Ventia Rangitata River Event Response

Winner: Team Safety Award

A team or organisation that has significantly improved its safety culture and performance by adopting better ways of working.

A weather bomb in December 2019 resulted in unprecedented damage to Transpower assets - major damage to nine transmission towers, including some crossing the Rangitata River. Ventia's Southern Team mobilised immediately to assess, make safe, and reinstate this essential equipment under extremely high-pressure and high-risk circumstances. Safety was the team's utmost priority - the safety of themselves, each other and the wider community. The team also undertook the rebuild phase including design and construction of the by-pass line, the rebuild of the main line, and dismantlement of the by-pass.

Team Safety Award


Watch our video below to learn more about how team responded. 



Vili Hansen

Winner: Future of Safety Award

A trainee or apprentice in their first two years of service in the electricity industry who demonstrates outstanding commitment to health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.

Vili Hansen consistently demonstrates an outstanding commitment to health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace. During his apprenticeship in a live substation environment, he has become a strong advocate for safety – often articulating safety measures to all on site. With family his main motivation for staying safe at work, if a situation is not up to standard he will not hesitate to stop work – including sending substandard machines back to a hire company. A keen supporter of new trainees and new recruits, his positive demeanour bonds the whole team.

Villi Hansen - STAR Award winner