Giving back to Tāmaki

2 NOV, 2018 | Tāmaki News

They build new neighbourhoods, but did you know that construction companies are giving back to the local community too?

Waitemata Harbour Paongo is thrilled that the outdoor area of the Tongan pre-school he runs has been renovated thanks to HEB Construction. “Albert and Caroline from TRC came and asked if we needed any help. They connected us with HEB Construction, but we didn’t expect them to help us as much as they did,” Waitemata says.

The renovation is part of HEB’s Tāmaki Contribution. This is where building and construction partners commit to helping out the community as part of their contract.

The contribution can include things like employing local people, funding scholarships, training and mentoring opportunities for local people, as well as services provided to Tāmaki community groups.

HEB Construction project manager Julio Marti Herraiz, pictured above with Waitemata, says it made sense to put two local workers Zjovani Petera and Drevarn Tarei on the pre-school renovation.

“When the workers are local, they get more involved. There’s pride in contributing to projects in your own community. They are also keen to work Saturdays and are more flexible generally.”

At the pre-school Akoteu Toonga Fungani on Maybury Street, Zjovani and Drevarn replaced the deck and hand rail, rebuilt the retaining wall, put in new swings and painted the exterior of the building.

They also refilled the sandpit, water blasted the turf, replaced the canvas shades and stained the timber. TRC is chipping in too by extending the fence around the back of the building.

Waitemata couldn’t be happier with the transformation. “They did a good job and we really appreciate it, he says. “The kids have more space to play now. The children ran outside when they saw the outdoor area and were so excited.”

Once the job was nearly complete, school staff, and the construction workers and their families, got together on a Saturday and held a celebration at the pre-school.

So far, HEB and its subcontractors Cornerstone and Arvig Civil, have employed eight local people through the Tāmaki Jobs and Skills Hub. Seven are working on a development site in Fenchurch on Taniwha Street.

Earlier this year, HEB completed a landscaping project at the local school Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Puau Te Moananui A Kiwi. HEB has also contributed towards renovations at Marist Rugby Club in Panmure.

“It gives me a lot of satisfaction to be able to give back to the community,” Julio says. “We are trying to do our best to avoid disruption to the community but hopefully this kind of contribution makes up for some of the noise or disturbance.”