Celebrating 130 years of excellence in Temuka

An astounding work anniversary was celebrated at the Environment Canterbury Temuka depot recently - 130 years.

Between Paul Eddy (45 years), Paul Stephens (40), and Wayne Crisp (45) the trio have not only amassed a century on the job but surpassed it.

To put that into context, if we go back 130 years ago that was the year The Coca-Cola Company came into existence as a registered medicine company; in the same year, the Eiffel Tower was officially opened.

In fact, Environment Canterbury wasn't created until 1989. Before the local government structure was reformed, Paul, Paul and Wayne worked for the South Canterbury Catchment Board (later becoming part of ECan), which was set up after World War II.

Where did it all start?

Previously the area supervisor, river works supervisor Paul Eddy and labourer/operator Wayne began work in November 1974 two weeks apart, while Temuka foreman Paul Stephens joined the crew in January 1980.

The contributions of all three were recognised at a sausage sizzle celebration in Temuka recently.

A lot has changed in the last 45 years for ECan employees. None more so, Paul Eddy said, than the technology in use.

"When Wayne and I started in 1974, health and safety was more of an urban legend than a seriously-taken and well-practiced protection device," he said.

Wayne said he distinctly remembers "chainsaws without any guards" commonly used in the ‘70s. Seatbelts weren’t mandatory for front-seat passengers and drivers until 1975 in New Zealand.

Celebrating the terrific trio

Paul Stephens is the depot’s handyman – where no two days are exactly the same.

"The biggest change since 1980 has been the invention of the hydraulic digger," he said.

"Before that workers would have to run a wire around the base of trees that needed removing, and physically dragging them out with inferior machinery and vehicles."

The celebrations were also held in honour of area engineer Bruce Scarlett’s 42-year contribution to both the catchment board and the regional council.

Bruce passed away in 2016 and is still held in high regard by his colleagues and peers in the Temuka depot.