Lite Civil celebrates an industry first with He Waka Eke Noa

He Waka Eke Noa, Lite Civil, Makaurau Marae, Ihumatao

Lite Civil has grown from strength to strength since Jay Rawiri (Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāti Toro) and Komene Admore (Ngā Puhi) started the business four years ago. Backed by more than 25 years experience and an agile and innovative attitude, the Maori-owned business has become the first He Waka Eke Noa supplier member to be directly awarded a contract by Auckland Transport, through its Sustainable Procurement Programme.  

The contract for extensive civil construction at Makaurau Marae in Ihumātao was part of the AT Marae Entry/Exit Safety Programme and is set to improve the driveway and parking facility for the marae and on-site Kohanga Reo.  

While the project delivers positive social and environmental outcomes, it was also an opportunity for AT to test their innovative Sustainable Procurement Approach, providing opportunities for Māori and Pasifika businesses. 

“Through this procurement we have deepened our relationship with He Waka Eke Noa who are leading sustainable practice in New Zealand,” says AT Chief Executive Shane Ellison. “We are committed to supplier diversity to help create positive social and economic change.”

To deliver the supplier diversity outcome, AT only issued the Registration of Interest to HWEN civil infrastructure businesses. It was an opportunity to test the capability of HWEN businesses to deliver AT civil works and, the approach met the NZ Government’s Broader Outcomes requirement around procurement and increasing opportunities for Māori and Pasifika businesses, helping to grow the Aotearoa construction sector workforce. 

Lite Civil’s tender was a stand out, and in turn, won them the work from the 10 businesses approached. 

Dave Colquhoun, Procurement Manager at AT, emphasised that from a tendering perspective, Lite Civil’s response was professional and met all quality attribute requirements. And site visits are proving the team don’t just look good on paper, but are also achieving “high standard” work on site. 

“Being from Tāmaki, it’s so cool to be doing mahi for mana whenua from here,” says Lite Civil Director Jay Rawiri. “We’ve worked really hard to get our foot in the door and, as a kaupapa Māori business, the nature of this project aligns perfectly with our values and our desire to give back to the community.”

He Waka Eke Noa, Lite Civil, Makaurau Marae, IhumataoJay says that tendering for this job meant showcasing to clients the advantage of working with a flexible and dynamic business. 

He boasts the ability to scale-up their resources to adapt to large projects, as well as bringing in the very best local contractors to support other aspects of the job, streamlines the process for clients. This agility has allowed Lite Civil to respond quickly to schedule changes, like those recently affected by Covid-19. 

The project at Makaurau Marae involves extensive excavation works, installing a drainage and stormwater management system, and redeveloping the carpark and footpaths around the marae.

“We’ve employed a project manager purely for this job to ensure everything runs smoothly,” adds Jay. “As a civil contractor, we take care of the electrical and lighting aspects of the project as well, so we’re a one-stop-shop offering our client the benefit of only having to deal with one business. We’ve brought in electricians who were recommended by the engineer, we’re collaborating to ensure the long-term outcomes for this project.”

The Makaurau Marae project is part of an ongoing community development initiative by Auckland Transport and Jay hopes this work will demonstrate Lite Civil’s capability as the partner of choice for similar projects going forward.

“Sometimes the hardest thing for businesses is getting in front of these clients and buyers. If it wasn’t for He Waka Eke Noa we wouldn’t have had this opportunity.”

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