Who are the winners?

Winners were announced at the STAR Awards Ceremony held on 15 April. The panel of independent judges described the judging process as far more difficult than expected. 

Sheridan Broadbent said, “There was some great safety leadership out there,” while Andrew Priest commented that, “Any of the finalists could have won their category. It is great to see such a wide range of initiatives across many activities.”  

Transpower Chief Executive, Alison Andrew, says, "Our judges tell me they had an extremely challenging task given the quality of the 66 nominations we received, and they acknowledged the significant effort that was made by everyone.  

"My thanks to everyone who got involved and are helping to lift industry knowledge. I look forward to sharing more about all nominees’ endeavours within the industry after the Awards period."


The STAR Awards 2021 winners


Safety Innovation award 

Conductor Catcher - Ventia

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.

Hauora Wellbeing Initiative Award

Te Ara Whanake - Downer

This pioneering programme helped create an environment in which Māori culture is recognised, celebrated and incorporated into Downer New Zealand’s company culture. With over 24 percent of its workforce identifying as Māori, it has enabled people to bring their whole selves to work. The year-long Te Ara Whanake focuses on developing Māori leaders in a Māori context based on the Te Whare Tapa Whā wellbeing model. It also sparked interest for non-Māori leaders, for whom a new marae-based cultural competency programme has been made available. 

Future of Safety Award

Lucy Bain - ElectroNet

Young trainee line mechanic Lucy Bain is showing notable promise and competency. Despite having completed just her first year, she is already running crews. Her sound communication skills, attention to detail and team focus means she plays an active part during both the planning and execution of works. Lucy has fully embraced the safety culture of the company. Her approach to safety does not waver from when she is loading up a vehicle, identifying hazards during the tailgate process, undertaking the works, and right through to disestablishing the site.

Vili Hansen - Ventia

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.

Frontline Leadership Award

Simon Norton - Ventia

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 and threatened the entire upper South Island power supply. 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.

Thought Leadership Award

Matt Iorangi - Northpower

As a relatable role-model to the people at the coalface, an enabler and facilitator for middle management, and with a reputation that gains the confidence and trust of senior management, Matt Iorangi was nominated to chair Northpower’s National Safety Forum. He has been instrumental in making the initiative a success, with his past ‘on the tools’ experience giving him a unique insight into everyday health and safety issues. The Forum enables safety participation and leadership from the ground up, encouraging collaboration as teams solve problems and innovate to mitigate critical risks.

Thought Leadership Award (Judges' Commendation)

Steve Notman - Transpower

The judges in this Thought Leadership category wanted to make special recognition of the work Steven had done and the outstanding safety leadership he had demonstrated on the 21-month long Kawerau Super Project, being the go-to person for site safety providing vital support to management. 

Steven had considerable input in helping create a site team safety culture that valued transparency, knowledge sharing and mitigation in what was a challenging programme of work.

Team Safety Award

Ventia - Rangitata River Event Response

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, their workmates 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 dismantle of the by-pass.

STAR Supreme Award 

Matt Iorangi - Northpower

The award category winner who the judges believe demonstrates the greatest positive outcomes to health, safety and/or wellbeing within their category.