Nikki Newham

Nikki Newham - Asset Planning Group Manager: Graduate 2002 


Nikki is Transpower’s Asset Planning Group Manager. She is responsible for planning asset maintenance and replacement and is a key contributor to our regulatory submissions to the Commerce Commission, including our RCP4 proposal. 

She joined Transpower as part of our 2002 Graduate Programme cohort and says her early days within the organisation set her up for success. She’s grateful for her early experiences, including in the System Planning team, as Chief Executive Advisor, direct work with service providers, and her many substation and generation site visits – including Manapouri and various wind farms - as well as visits to large electricity user sites like Tiwai Point and NZ Steel. 

Since her grad days Nikki has worked in a variety of roles, including within operations and system planning teams and as a regional service manager. She led Transpower’s most recent Grid Contract Reset Project, which successfully established new 10-year contracts for our core electrical service provider group across a reconfigured set of regional, specialist service and contestable contracts. 

The benefits of Transpower’s Graduate Programme 

“I’ve always been curious about how things work. I loved taking things apart as a child and lived near the Clyde Dam during its construction. Well, for some of it…it took a while. Knowing electrons are ‘out there’, but invisible, has always been fascinating to me, and was a factor when I considered career options.” 

“My time at Transpower really helped me understand our service provider’s experiences. These are the people working on the ground with our assets and in communities. Visiting them on site and understanding their ways of working means I better understand their perspectives. Today, if I’m asking something of them, I want to know they have the right expertise, planning and safety in place, as well as making sure they are looked after – being able to find lunch in some of our remote locations is important, and makes for a nicer day at work for everyone!” 

You get out what you put in 

“I’ve been well supported at Transpower over the years. However, it has been up to me to decide how I want to develop and what I aspire to. Transpower has provided me very TRANSPOWER NEW ZEALAND | Career reflections – Nikki Newham 2 real support when it comes to maintaining my academic and professional interests – I’ve completed a PhD, been part of several technical groups, and attended many interesting conferences along the way.” 

Engineering isn’t black and white 

“Push back on more out of the box ideas can happen. Being resilient means meeting people where they’re at and coming back to decision makers with everyone’s feedback considered, possibly from a slightly different vantage point. There are standard ways of solving problems 95% of the time. But engineering isn’t black and white. There is a creative element to our work, which I love. It keeps me interested and inspired.” 

Advice to new graduates and young professionals 

“Write down your professional development goals, find role models who aren’t necessarily like you, and draw on a wide variety of conversations and experiences. Get out in the world and meet people and take the chance to learn from them. Also, remember confidence looks different on everyone. Prioritise ways of being authentically you.” 

Why Nikki’s proud to work at Transpower 

“Our work uplifts lives. We’re here to create a better, decarbonised future. I appreciate how Transpower invests wisely and considers every dollar spent on our national grid. Today, I see Transpower very much as a future focused organisation committed to constructive listening and true collaboration.” 

“People at Transpower are passionate about making a difference. We’re a group of people willing to go the extra mile. It’s one of the big things keeping me here. We are a very relational organisation. I also like that we see our growth edges and take action, like how we’re considering new technologies to improve information storage and sharing. I’m also glad we’re evolving our understanding and embodiment of Te Ao Māori. Our work is so closely connected with the land and its people.”