Our Wellington

News | 24 May 2021

20 Twenty One: Pita King

In four decades working at Wellington City Council, Pita King has seen every corner and crevice of our city. And he still gets a kick out of helping people.

A polaroid photo of Wellington City Council's Pita King, from the Transport and Infrastructure team, in his high-vis vest in the CBD on The Terrace.

It's a Wednesday afternoon, and the rumble of the downpour outside sounds faint from inside the warm office building.  

“Sorry I'm a bit late,” says Pita King as he shakes his dripping hi-vis jacket. “I’ve just been out at Tawa monitoring some drainage.”  

Pita is a Contract Manager, part of the Transport and Infrastructure team at Wellington City Council. 

As a 17-year-old, he wanted to get into the roading industry. After arriving at Council as a street cleaner then doing a short stint as a kiln worker, he finally got to the roading team working at the airport night shift and “never looked back.”  

Forty years later, Pita is still doing what he loves: fault finding across Wellington’s drainage systems to keep communities safe from potential flooding.  

He’s also often the friendly face of Council when dealing with customer’s roading and drainage complaints. 

“Keeping customers happy is my priority. I’m always transparent with them about what we’re doing to resolve their issue. 

“I even take some customers to the jobs with me, so they can see what we do. They always leave with a smile on their face,” he says.  

To manage the large and diverse workload, each team member is responsible for a different area. Pita controls the northern area, while his other team members control central Wellington and southern Wellington.

Pita is thankful for the technology they now have that allows them to better respond to whatever wild weather events occur.

A wide yellow graphic with the words 20 twenty one, celebrating our people, in black.

“We can control and dispatch jobs from inside the ute. It’s really easy to communicate with contractors on where jobs are at.” 

A key part of the job is building trusted relationships with contractors.  

“They’re representing Council, so it’s important we have a shared understanding of our values. They’re part of the team, and we want everyone to go home safe.” 

“During COVID-19 work was difficult as some services were stopped, but residents still brought out their recycling, and if this built up too much on the side of the road then we would throw this into our vehicles. 

“Our contractor's teams were reduced but we managed to keep roads open. We have a passionate group of volunteers who pick up litter around our streets. 

“One 72-year-old went out every day to pick up litter, and still does. I kept in contact with him over lockdown as he lives by himself.” 

In his early days at Council, Pita would spend his spare time playing rugby with a group from Council who quickly became family, as their team name – Te whānau o nga hau e wha, Family of four winds –  suggests. This whānau expanded into City Operation now known as Resilience-Waste Operations. 

While he’s seen every corner and crevice of the city, his favourite place isn’t because of the stunning scenery and wild weather; it’s the people.  

“I lived in Newtown for many years and always go back. It’s the kind of place where the local shop owners know your name and what you do. I love it.”  

It’s 2021, so we’re sharing stories about 21 of our people who have worked at Council for 20 years or more. Find out more about the series in this story