November 21, 2023: A three-day competition showcasing the incredible skills of line mechanics and cable jointers will be held in Te Awamutu next year.
Annual Connection 2024, held in conjunction with Connexis | Te Pūkenga, is a prestigious three-day competition that attracts national interest. It sees line mechanic crews and cable jointers from around New Zealand compete in a series of challenges that put their workplace skills to the test.
The event will be co-hosted by Waipā Networks and The Lines Company at Te Awamutu’s Castleton Park on October 22-24.
The Lines Company (TLC) is a community-owned electricity distribution company based in Te Kuiti, servicing the King Country and central North Island. A crew from The Lines Company won the 2023 overall competition and will compete in Te Awamutu next year as defending champions.
Waipā Networks owns and operates the electrical network powering the Waipā region around Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Kāwhia areas.
TLC chief executive Mike Fox says Annual Connection is a fantastic opportunity for people to see energy supply workers in action, explore career options and learn what goes into keeping the lights on.
“Supporting our communities extends further than power lines and cables. As key members of our community, we are constantly looking for ways to support those living on the network,” Fox says.
“As network operators, we play a vital role in powering our communities. Often this means operating in challenging conditions at odd hours.”
Waipā Networks chief executive Sean Horgan says the competition is an excellent way to introduce people to the industry.
“We’re really excited to have the opportunity to showcase the mahi our teams put into keeping the lights on and enabling our region to decarbonise,” Horgan says.
In addition to the competition, a suppliers’ expo provides insight into the innovative technologies used on New Zealand networks.
The Connexis | Te Pūkenga Excellence Awards will cap off the three-day event, recognising New Zealand’s top energy and telecommunications trainees.
Connexis director Kaarin Gaukrodger says it is always exciting to be able to take Annual Connection into regional New Zealand, where cable jointers and line crews play such an important role in keeping communities connected.
“Typically, the kind of work they’re doing is often in the backcountry, and at odd hours, therefore a lot of their vital work goes unseen, so Annual Connection gives them an amazing opportunity to demonstrate what they know and showcase these careers to the future workforce.”
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Connexis is a division of Te Pūkenga, New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. Connexis arranges, delivers, supports, and assesses work-based learning for the infrastructure industries of Civil, Energy, Telecommunications, and Water. Te Pūkenga brings together on-the-job, on-campus, and online vocational education and training through a unified, sustainable network of regionally accessible provision.