There is pride in Roseanne Ulunga’s smile when she imagines what it will feel like when she takes her future children and grandchildren to a finished Te Waihorotiu Station (Aotea) and tells them: “I helped build this!”
Roseanne (28) is one of several site engineers working for the team at Link Alliance who are building the station. Her role is to plan and co-ordinate the relocation and reinstatement of utilities – power, gas, water, fibre - within and around the station footprint during and after construction.
Roseanne’s investigation and management of any potential compromise of services, is critical to site safety and instrumental in minimising disruption and maximising efficiency for businesses, workers, visitors and residents in the area.
Born and raised in Auckland, Roseanne’s mum is Samoan, and her dad is Tongan. “I’m into both,” she says. The day the project reached a tunnelling milestone and the flags of all nationalities within the team were brought to the site, both her parents’ flags were flown.
We asked Roseanne some questions about her job and the positive impact Te Waihorotiu Station (Aotea) will have on the regeneration of midtown.
You know more than most Aucklanders about how impressive Te Waihorotiu Station (Aotea) will be and what it will mean for the city’s transport efficiency. What aspects about the new station do you think will make their jaws drop?
It will be the huge scale. It’s a totally new station, built underground. People won’t be able to believe what they see at first. It will have a wow factor.
How proud are you of your team for bringing an immense and complex project like Te Waihorotiu Station (Aotea) to fruition?
I’m super-proud of the team I’m part of. Everyone is great to work with and there is a good culture here. Good vibes. It will be a huge accomplishment. We’ll all be so proud of it. This is the largest infrastructure project in New Zealand and working with great people helps a lot in bringing the best out of people to achieve great results together.
What is your education story?
I have a chemical and materials engineering degree and always wanted to work in water treatment and water management. This is not exactly water management but I’ve learnt a lot about water as well as general utility construction which I know will be useful when I get into my desired field later on. I’ve also developed further management skills, having to collaborate with different parties to ensure various tasks are completed to achieve overall project targets. I’ve been working on the City Rail Link (CRL) project for two years and it’s always interesting. I enjoy my job and the challenges that come with it.
How important is it to see mana whenua stories of place woven into the urban design of the station and also into the upgraded Myers Pass underpass which is coming to midtown next year?
It’s pretty cool. Even in our induction we were told the significance for Māori of where we are; where construction is taking place. We were introduced to it from the beginning and told how much Māori culture has been integrated into the design of the station. There is deep respect for all cultures on site. And I’m pleased to hear that is flowing through into midtown.
What do you see as the biggest benefits the city will experience when the CRL, and especially Te Waihorotiu Station (Aotea), are completed?
Looking through the list of projects in the midtown regeneration programme Auckland Council is delivering, it’s great that we are upgrading the area around the station at the same time. I probably won’t live in midtown when the station is finished and operational as I like living further out, but I will definitely catch the train here and enjoy the new vibe.
If you were asked to complete the sentence ‘I can’t wait for …’, what would you say?
I can’t wait for my future kids and grandkids to know I helped build this.