Communities are our heart and soul!
Ever considered what it might feel like to watch a wind turbine from your kitchen window? Or drive along hydro canals on your way to work in the morning? Well, that’s the way of life for our asset communities. They live, work, learn and play with our wind farms and hydro stations sitting in their backyards.
It’s a unique way of life and with that in mind, we want to make sure that the communities surrounding our assets are always taken care of! This includes giving schools and community groups the opportunity to visit and learn from them as well as funding amazing community projects. Here are a couple of stories from our North Island Wind Farms that we’re very excited to share with you.
Girls With Hi-Vis
At Meridian, we’re all about sharing our knowledge and helping educate Kiwi kids is a pretty key part of this. Girls With Hi-Vis is an event that we get behind every year. It’s about educating young women to show them what it’s like to work in engineering and trades – and the paths they need to take to get there. We look at it from an energy industry perspective, because while we’re lucky enough to have a few pretty amazing wāhine working in technical roles, there’s always room for more!
At our West Wind farm recently, we hosted a group of year 10 students for the day to get involved with what working at a wind farm is all about. It was a chance to get their hands dirty in the workshop – they built electrical circuits and scaled ladders in the personal protective gear that our technicians have to wear every day. The highlight though, had to be the bolt race. Yep, that’s right. The group were challenged to use drills and torque wrenches to screw in a series of screws as fast as they could. The one with the fastest time took on ‘Barnsy,’ one of our wind technicians. Fair to say, she smashed him – don’t believe us? Check it out for yourselves....
We also loaded them into a bus and took them up through the wind farm so they could get up close and personal with the turbines – and squeeze a quick photoshoot in too, of course!
Most importantly, it was an awesome opportunity for them to have a chat with our wind technicians and other women from around Meridian and ask questions about the work they do.
Vanessa Singh (15 years old) said “It shows how there is a space for women in all areas of the industry,” while her classmate Aine Bolger (14 years old) said “I didn’t even know this was an option!”
We reckon it’s a pretty special industry to work in, but unfortunately, it’s not one that has traditionally been promoted with females. Gender equality is important to us at Meridian, so we’re proud to help spread the word.
Power Up Community Fund
Education isn’t the only way we get stuck in around our assets either. For over a decade we’ve been putting our support where it’s needed the most, working with and empowering community groups and projects. This is through the Power Up Community Fund, made available for the areas around our wind and hydro assets. In order to qualify for funding, applications need to fit at least one of these criteria:
- Promote environmental awareness and programmes that sustain and improve the quality of the environment in the community.
- Contribute to the sustainability of non-profit organisations or volunteer services.
- Promote life-long learning opportunities for all.
- Foster the development of opportunities for sporting, social and recreational activities.
- Contribute to programmes that will enhance the attractiveness of the appearance of the community.
In the Te Uku area we’ll be contributing to:
- The Raglan Community House with funding going towards their DJ workshops for local youth.
- Raglan Area School, for surfboards for their ‘Seadogs’ – a student surfing and swimming club.
- Swings at Te Mata School as part of their playground upgrade.
- Planting equipment at Te Kopua Nursery.
- Raglan Community Radio with funds going towards a live broadcast unit so they can broadcast at local events.
And, in the Te Āpiti area we’ll be contributing to:
- A sensory space at Ashhurst School. This will be a therapeutic space for students with autism, emotional regulation issues or other special educational needs.
- Electrical services as part of the pool upgrade at Ballance School, which is used by both the school and wider community.
- Upgrades to the lighting power and control system for the Ashhurst Drama Group for the local drama productions which are held at the Ashhurst School.
We reckon these are some pretty exciting projects and at Meridian, we feel really proud to be in a position where we can help out. If you’re in an area around one of our hydro stations or wind farms and have a project that you need help with, we’ve got all the information you need right here to see if Power Up is right for you.