At Ventia, when it comes to building national fibre networks that connect communities, working with the local people is one of the most important aspects of the project.
When our Telecommunications team was tasked with bringing fibre to the people of Waimārama, a seaside village in New Zealand, we knew it was essential that they worked closely with the local kaumatua (tribal elders) of Ngā Hapū o Waimārama, the local iwi (tribe), to ensure the area's rich history was understood and respected.
Waimārama is a culturally significant location in Hawke's Bay in New Zealand. Ngā Hapū o Waimārama believe their ancestral Tākitimu canoe anchored there and it remains a place of deep importance for the local people, so it was crucial that we understood our responsibilities prior to commencing any construction.
Representatives from both Ventia and our client Chorus spent time with the kaumātua from Ngā Hapū o Waimārama to ensure that they understood these responsibilities.
To mark the commencement of the project, a dawn ceremony was held near the beach, where members of the local iwi performed a waiata (a song) and a karakia (a blessing), before a hikoi (walk) to culturally significant locations where they performed small blessings. The kaumātua took time to explain more of the area's history, providing the team with an important sense of perspective as they began their mahi (work) to build the town's future connectivity through fibre.