For our telecommunications teams, building critical connections can mean more than just wireless towers and fibre cables. Working closely with local communities is one of the most important and rewarding parts of the job.

In New Zealand, our teams take pride in our iwi engagement, which has been recognised by a number of local groups. Recently, we were delighted to receive some wonderful feedback, following a project undertaken by our drilling sub-contractors, On Target Drilling Ltd in Matarangi — a seaside town in the Coromandel with a long history of occupancy thanks to its bountiful kai moana (seafood).

The local iwi, Ngati Huarere, commended the team for their efforts during the drill. 

"They were always asking questions and showed a real interest and wanted to learn more," said Wanda Brljevich, vice-chair of the iwi's trust board.

They were great at keeping in touch and were very aware of the cultural perspective of their work.

By asking questions, the team learned about how to care for the local area and culture. Through this process, Wanda was able to explain to the group how slight changes in soil colour could indicate possible archaeological evidence, as well as the broader cultural significance of the area.

New Zealand telecommunications team pictured in high visibility attire at project site

The site team leader for On Target Drilling Ltd, Jaco Venter, also spoke highly of the engagement with the local population.  

"The iwi were passionate about their work, as were we, so we were able to work well together," he said. 

They were really responsive and happy to answer any questions. Their passion and positive attitude to the work helped get things done right.