Northpower line mechanic Eseta at work up in the bucket.

Three women on working in the man’s world of energy distribution

The chair of Vector’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Teina Teariki Mana, ponders the state of gender equity in an industry that still lags behind.

The energy industry is predominantly male and if you look at the statistics, Vector is no exception – just 3 in 10 of our employees are female. For generations, working in this industry was incredibly difficult for women to imagine. But that is starting to change. For me, diversifying attitude, belief and opportunities in our industry is important, but it’s also important to shine the light on some of the cool chicks we already have in and around our business.

Here is what three of our workers who are women have to say about believing that you can do any job you want to.


Eseta, Line Mechanic for Northpower, Auckland

Eseta, Line Mechanic for Northpower, Auckland

Tell us about your job.

I’m part of a four-person crew of line mechanics working on the Vector network around Auckland. I drive the bucket truck and go up to fix the power lines – that’s my role in the team.

Describe a typical day.

I’m doing maintenance and upgrades on downed lines and power poles, or inspecting the lines up in the bucket. It could be anything from fixing the lines after a tree branch has hit them, checking a pole for safety after a car crash or getting the power back on after a storm.

The hardest day I’ve ever had was when I was up in a bucket at 38 weeks pregnant. I remember my foreman told me “you’re a hard woman!”.

What made you interested in this type of work?

My dad introduced me to this job. He’s a police officer in Tonga. One day he took me to check out the first bucket truck in Tonga. This was when I was 11. Then after high school I did electrical engineering and then got into lines work. In Tonga I was the only female in the whole power company.

My dad’s still encouraging me to keep going and make foreman!

Why do you think there aren’t more women doing jobs like yours?

This job is not only for men – you can do it and you can do anything if you’ve got the heart for it. It’s a a good career.

Being part of a team is really rewarding. It’s the same small bunch of people to work with day in and day out, and it can be a challenge to work with people with different attitudes. But you just have to merge your attitudes and the way you work together. We listen to each other a lot!

Trish, Smart Meter Technician for Formway Group, South Australia

Trish, Smart Meter Technician for Formway Group, South Australia

Tell us about your job.

I’m the first female meter installed for Formway Group in South Australia. We’re installing them under contract to Vector as the meter provider. That means I’m out travelling around South Australia installing new electricity meters one by one.

You get to see a fair bit of the countryside because we’re very busy at the moment. I’ve seen a lot more of South Australia in the last seven months than I’ve seen in the previous 20 years I’ve lived here.

Describe a typical day.

A typical install will be for a customer who has solar on their roof, so they need a new two-way meter to record the electricity they’re selling back to the grid.

We’re pretty lucky in South Australian because we don’t get many snakes in the meter boxes, which is good. You get that more in Queensland. The worst we have to put up with down here is spiders in the switchboard. They’re not much fun.

What made you interested in this type of work?

I decided to start my trade at aged 35. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love being a sparky. Before that I was did a bunch of jobs but I wanted something where I wouldn’t have to change careers for a long time.

As for getting into metering it was pure luck. I’d been working in construction and I was looking for a change. I had a phone call to see if I wanted to interview for a metering job, and it all sort of fell into place with the Power of Choice. [‘Power of Choice’ refers to a set of wide-ranging electricity market reforms in Australia that meant, among many other things, smart meter installations would ramp up quickly.]

Why do you think there aren’t more women doing jobs like yours?

To be honest I’m not really sure. I’d like to think that women in the trade isn’t going to be a big deal in the next few years, that we’ll be part and parcel of it alongside the guys. But it is a bit of a surprise for a few of the customers when you rock up and they think: oh, I’ve got a girl changing the meter!

Kimberly, OnGas Delivery Driver, Palmerston North

Kimberly, OnGas Delivery Driver, Palmerston North

Tell us about your job.

I drive a seven tonne truck delivering 15kg, 20kg and 45kg OnGas bottles around Palmerston North. My record is 46 deliveries to 40 different residential customers in a day, all loaded and unloaded from the truck by myself!

I used to work in Auckland but shifted south a while ago. I love it in Palmy. It’s a smaller team down here but we’re pretty close knit.

Describe a typical day.

Back in Auckland I would start at 4.50am and be out the door on the way to the depot by 5.10am to beat the Auckland traffic. But now I’m in Palmy it’s a bit more relaxed, at least in terms of a start time! First thing I do when I arrive is check over my truck if it’s not already loaded from the night before I do that and get out on the road by 7am. Each day involves anywhere between 30-60 stops, driving an average of 130kms per day. It’s a very physical role, shifting bottles on and off the truck by myself.

The 45kg bottles are pretty heavy so I’ve found a technique that suits me. How I move the bottles might be different to how someone else does it because people aren’t the same height, build or strength.  It’s what works for you and how you’re comfortable doing it.

What made you interested in driving for OnGas?

I’m an outdoors person, raised on a dairy farm. I grew up with horses but trucking is my calling. I just love truck driving. It keeps me fit and keeps me in front of the customers.

Why do you think there aren’t more women doing jobs like yours?

I don’t think they believe they can do it. Or maybe they don’t get the opportunity. I’ve been in the job for three years now and I know when I applied I was the wildcard!

Teina Teariki Mana is Vector’s Community Engagement Manager, meaning she gets out and about with Aucklanders a lot. You can often find her at events and she even does a fair bit of good old fashioned door knocking when there’s some works going on.  


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