Keeping the lights on in Te Tairāwhiti

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Mikaere Ngarimu of Ngāti Porou is a finalist at the 11th annual New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards.

Mikaere Ngarimu is from Whareponga, an isolated community that is off the grid and he is leading the redevelopment of asset management for Gisborne electrical company Eastland Network.

“The work involves setting up the transformers in substations, setting up power poles and power lines in this area, in Te Tairawhiti and Wairoa as well.”

 “I'm passionate about energy, that's something my dad was really interested in, he's the reason why I like it, why I'm involved in this work. When I was young, we made a hydro unit at our house.”

A graduate of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Waiū in Ruatōrea, he was grounded in his culture.

"That was where my dad worked as well, so there were two places he was encouraging me into this work, and that's a really great environment to grow up in Te Ao Māori."

Mikaere's father Willie Ngarimu passed away in October last year, but not before inspiring Mikaere to pursue a career in energy.

"I hope that he's happy because this is something he really cared about, that and teaching children."

With nine years under his belt at Eastland Network, Ngarimu is now focussing on getting power to all whānau in the region.

“This is one of the reasons I came back to Te Tairawhiti, to get electricity to everyone so that the lights stay on.”

The New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards take place on March 10.