December 16, 2020

Team Profile:
Aroha Campbell

photo credit:
Aroha Campbell

1.     Why are you involved in geothermal / supercritical research?

I am proud to be of Ngati Tahu and Ngati Whaoa descent where geothermal has been an integral part of my life and my WHY! From a young age spending time with my dad attending hui at Ohaki Marae listening to kuia (female elder) and kaumatua (male elder) and retaining whakaro (thinking) to keep the whenua (land). Growing up and seeing first-hand the devastating changes to the mauri (spirit)of our Ngawha (hot pools), and whenua (land) including the Waikato river levels over the years that have impacted the surrounding whenua due to geothermal subsidence.  

For me, geothermal has been a journey to better understand its many characteristics through a governance and management lens and how can we do things better.  

My involvement in supercritical geothermal research ensures that we (Māori) are there at the start, testing current attitudes, challenging thinking and preparing the next generation of Māori leadership by providing science and insight to help inform critical decisions for future generations.

2.     What is the favourite part of your work?

What gets my juices flowing is the korero (conversation) at governance level, building relationships, participating in teams, agreeing to what is TIKA (right), to be fair and PONO (true), and ensuring these values are prioritised during the development of a geothermal project. This approach has demonstrated to be successful through the development of the Rotokawa field, 34.5MW Rotokawa power station, 140MW Nga Awa Purua power station and Ngatamariki field and power station.

3.     What are you most proud of?

I enjoyed leading a very small team that implemented the decisions of the Tauhara North No.2Trust (TN2T) in the early days of development at the Rotokawa geothermal field.  Communications were an integral component of building a strong foundation for our owners to put their faith and trust in five trustees. There were many challenges.

In 1994 two organisations, Mighty River Power (now Mercury) and TN2T, came together to further their geothermal aspirations, with the commissioning of the Rotokawa power station in 1997. In 2004 we agreed the principles of not just one further geothermal project but two, to run in parallel. Nga Awa Purua triple flash plant was commissioned in 2010 and in 2013 the Ngatamariki binary plant was commissioned.

I’m proud to have played a role in realising these projects and of the trust placed in me from the TN2T owners. but I’m most proud of establishing a strong revenue stream that will support the ongoing aspirations of the owners and descendants of TN2T.

4.     What is your favourite photo of you at work? 

Where are you?

On site at Rotokawa.

What are you doing?

During the two year construction of Nga Awa Purua, every Friday afternoon, I would drive passed Chairperson, Makere Rangitohereri and sometimes Deputy Chair, Rangimarie Ngamotu to this tree as it was the best viewing platform to see pasture taking shape into the foundations and finally power station completion.

Read more about Aroha's experience here.

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