Winners of the STAR Awards 2021 revealed

16 April 2021

An example of grassroots, ground-up safety leadership has taken the top trophy at Transpower’s STAR Awards 2021 Ceremony, celebrated last night [Thursday April 15]. 

The Safety Thanks and Recognition (STAR) Awards are run every two years by Transpower to highlight the exceptional work delivered by individuals and teams in the electricity transmission sector. 

Judges announced six safety award winners and a STAR Supreme Award winner at the event held in Auckland and Wellington and streamed live to many more.  

Matt Iorangi, the Learning and Development Delivery Manager from Northpower, was announced as the STAR Supreme Award Winner after also receiving the Thought Leadership Award.

In announcing Matt’s win, the judges confirmed he was a relatable role-model to his colleagues, an enabler and facilitator for middle management, and having a reputation that gains the confidence and trust of senior management. 

Transpower Chief Executive Alison Andrew says that Matt inspired the judges as a true example of excellence.

“Safety is the number one priority for our business and the STAR Awards is a time for us to pause and reflect on all we can achieve when we work together on health, safety and wellbeing.”

“Some of our best lessons come when we examine all that we get right, and that is what the STAR Awards is all about. Congratulations to Matt and to all our winners. You are setting the standard and providing a level of excellence from which we can all learn,” she says.

Matt was nominated for an award for his role in making Northpower’s National Safety Forum initiative a success as its chair. 

In making the nomination, Northpower’s General Manager HSQE and Operational Excellence Lloyd Richards said: “Matt Iorangi has been instrumental in making the Forum the success that it is. The Forum enables safety participation and leadership from the ground up, encouraging collaboration as teams solve problems and innovate to mitigate critical risks.”

Earlier in the evening, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood presented the Hauora Wellbeing Initiative Award to Downer for its Te Ara Whanake initiative. This year-long programme was credited with helping create an environment in which Māori culture is recognised, celebrated and incorporated into company culture.

With over 24 percent of its workforce identifying as Māori, the programme focused on developing Māori leaders within the holistic Te Whare Tapa Whā wellbeing model. It also sparked interest for non-Māori leaders, for whom a new marae-based cultural competency programme has been made available. Some 266 people have been through Te Ara Whanake since 2014. 

In the Future of Safety Award, judges could not decide between two bright sparks awarding the title to both Lucy Bain from ElectroNet and Ventia’s Vili Hansen. The judges were impressed by Lucy’s attention to detail and commitment to safety that has seen her running crews after just her first year. Substation apprentice Vili is known by his colleagues as a strong advocate for safety and following best practice for staying safe by stopping work to address any risk identified.

The Team Safety Award went to the Rangitata River Event Response team from Ventia for mobilising in high-pressure and high-risk circumstances to assess, make safe and reinstate essential transmission equipment damaged in 2019 floods, all with safety as the team’s utmost priority.

Team member Simon Norton also won the Frontline Leadership Award, for demonstrating outstanding commitment to health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace during this challenging emergency response and programme of restoration work.

The final award, the Safety Innovation Award recognises an innovation, improved design or new technology with potential for safety improvement industry wide. The judges were most impressed by the ‘Conductor Catcher’ developed by Ventia. This device is designed to reduce the risk to people in the event of a conductor or joint failure during reconductoring, by clamping on to the conductor to prevent it dropping. It has greatly improved the safety of workers.

Learn more of the winners’ stories at  


For further information, please contact:    

Charlotte Haddon, Senior Corporate Communications Advisor 

021 448 753