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Te Aratika provides pathways into trenchless education

TRACTO -Te Aratika

Te Aratika Infrastructure is a unique trenchless contractor, with education and a desire to improve the lives of its community a driving factor behind the company’s operation.

Always on the search for the latest technological advancements, the company has partnered with TRACTO and acquired a GRUNDODRILL 28N, and subsequent training, and is already educating the next generation of drillers on New Zealand’s North Island.

Located in Silverdale, New Zealand, about 30 km north of Auckland, Te Aratika Infrastructure is more than your stock standard civil construction and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) contractor. The innovative family business was established in 1998 to service the underground utility service industry with a passion for bringing positive change to the company’s community.

“Te Aratika” means “The Right Path” and reflects Te Aratika’s core intention of investing extensively in its people through education and employment outcomes to promote healthy, thriving families.

He aha te mea nui o te ao? What is the most important thing in the world? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata! It’s the people, the people, the people!

A grassroots beginning paved the way for the company to grow organically across industry sectors, and Te Aratika now has offices in six regions across New Zealand. Alongside the infrastructure arm of the group is Te Aratika Academy, a special character high school for students from years 9 to 13; Te Aratika Creative which teaches transferable skills through creative arts; and Te Aratika Industry Training, a registered private training enterprise that develops and delivers qualifications in vocational pathways.  

The right intentions
Te Aratika Group collaboratively encompasses its cradle-to-career model that focusses particularly on what Te Aratika’s Director Ronnie Rochel calls “young, A-typical stars”, allowing them to build their own pathways to success. Typically, more than 70 per cent of the group’s employees are aged between 17 and 26 years, often starting out with limited knowledge of the industries it works in and many from challenging upbringings. 

The business owners’ indigenous roots as Māori, and in excess of 25 years of expertise in the industry, means Te Aratika understands the importance of utilising the right tools, leading the company to recently partner with TRACTO and take delivery of GRUNDODRILL 28N.

The right equipment
The fluid assisted HDD rig was acquired to be used on important trenchless utility projects and came with a range of extensive product training from the manufacturer which has contributed to developing the skills of Te Aratika Infrastructure’s employees.

The 28N is one of the most powerful drills on the market, with 100 per cent of the machine’s 224 kW of power directed towards drilling operations, making the rig unique in the up to 300 kN pulling force power class. The extra power also supports an advanced mud system, supplying up to 650 l per minute of bentonite, facilitating increased productivity and faster drilling, as well as opening up the possibility for contractors to undertake larger and longer bores. In addition to this power and the effect it has on the functions of the GRUNDODRILL 28N, the drill also features automated and comfort benefitting the end user. Two multi-function joysticks are used for all functions in bore and drive mode and can be switched between manual, semi-automatic and fully-automatic modes.

In the airconditioned cabin is a panel PC with touchscreen and internet connection, making operations straight forward for the end user. Custom ergonomics have also been considered, with an extra-large and comfortable seat, equipped with air suspension and automatic weight adjustment.

The right direction
Te Aratika’s new machine arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on January 2022 and the company is proud of its achievements with the machine since. Significantly, the contractor recently completed a complex circuit of installations, totalling 5000 m, for power utility Vector, the country’s largest distributor of electricity and gas.

For more information visit Te Aratika Academy and TRACTO.

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This article appeared in the October edition of Trenchless Australasia. Access the digital copy of the magazine here.

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