Who were the 2021 winners?

The STAR Awards 2021 winners


STAR Supreme Award 

For the highest honour in the STAR Awards, the independent panel of judges chose from the six award winners awards the one that they believed demonstrated the greatest positive outcomes to health, safety and/or wellbeing within their category. They selected the Thought Leadership Award category winner:

Matt Iorangi - Northpower

Star supreme

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 chairs 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. A keen hunter, Matt had walked out of the bush after a month’s deer-hunting to a full STAR Awards venue and the surprise of the top award. Read more. 


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. Read more.


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% of its workforce identifying as Māori, it has enabled people to bring their whole selves to work. The Te Ara Whanake programme 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. Read more. 



Future of Safety Award

Co-winner: 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 and undertaking the works, right through to disestablishing the site. Read more.


Co-winner: 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. Read more.



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. 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. Read more.



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, 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. Read more.



Thought Leadership Award (Judges' Commendation)

Steve Notman - Transpower


The judges wanted to give special recognition to the work Steven had done and the outstanding safety leadership he had demonstrated on the 21-month long Kawerau Project, being the go-to person for site safety providing vital support to management. Steve had considerable input in helping create a site team safety culture that valued transparency, the sharing of knowledge and a focus on risks in what was a challenging programme of work. Read more.