Women in high vis sitting on a bench that's on a hill with expansive views.

22 April 2020 – What happens when your ‘workplace’ is taking care of our environment and you’re locked down indoors?

Stephanie Kirk is acting in the role of the Consenting and Compliance manager for Mercury on the Turitea wind farm build in the Manawatū. She used to be on site 2-3 days per week. Now she’s locked down with her family in Rotorua and some very different co-workers: “Having a dog, puppy and a 10 month old nephew in the house definitely make for some abnormal working distractions!”

The site of what will be New Zealand’s biggest wind farm is big, over 9km long and around 8km wide at some points, and Steph knows it well in all its windy glory. This knowledge of the site (and lots of photos and notebooks) is key to continuing work during this time, along with keeping up contact with the rest of the team.

“The bulk of my time right now is spent working with the councils and the contractors for the wind farm, preparing our management plans for the southern section of the turbine build. They encompass all of our environmental requirements and obligations. All of the people I’m working with are working remotely too, and we have regular virtual catch ups and scheduled meetings.”

Steph is confident that hard work by the teams involved left the site in great shape for its own lockdown.

“I was extremely proud of the effort the crews on the ground put in to get that site in tip top shape. We had 48 hours to shut the site down and ensure that it was in the best position to withstand rainfall events during the lockdown. It’s in an intense rainfall area, and the site’s environmental controls are designed to capture and treat any dirty water run-off before it leaves the site.”

Steph is continuing her close relationship with the contractors, Councils and DOC during the lockdown, and looking forward to getting her boots back on the ground of the site itself once she’s able to again.

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