News | 19 July 2023
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Eight-year-old 'engineer' checks up on Council

Transport and Infrastructure Manager Brad Singh recently received a letter from a young Wellingtonian called Anais, requesting action on streetlights, potholes, graffiti and of all things... snails.

A young girl smiling at the camera wearing an orange high vis jacket and a pink hard hat.

At Council, she became known as the eight-year-old engineer and was invited by Brad to pay the team a visit during the school holidays to see what was being done around the city.  

Last week, Brad traded in his manager’s hat for a tour guide’s cap , kicking the visit off at the Wellington City Council office building.

Letter from a young girl with stars drawn at the bottom of it.

On Anais’s arrival, she received a new pink high-vis vest, which she paired with a pink hard hat that Brad sent her when he replied to her letter.  

Now appropriately styled for the occasion, she was whisked away to the Traffic Operations Centre where she learnt how the traffic signals worked and how we operate behind the scenes to keep the city running. 

Satisfied with the Council’s approach to traffic operations, Anais made a brief pit stop to the Mayor’s office and was provided with a helpful overview of how the Mayor and Councillors work alongside kaimahi to keep Wellington a great place to live, work and play.  

A woman showing a little girl something on a computer screen in the middle of an office.

Next up, Anais met with the streetlight engineers before meeting Deane Virtue, who runs the Council Street Cleaning team, who provided Anais with an explanation of how we manage graffiti across the city. 

Anais then got to see the data collection and fancy machines used to evaluate Wellington’s roads. 

The floor walk was rounded off by a meeting with the friendly Transport and Infrastructure team who are responsible for building all our new cycleways across the city. 

Armed with an understanding of the Council’s internal machinery, it was then time for Anais to get out of the building and head out to a work-site.  

Brad and the team drove Anais and her mother Hayley down to a site that had reported a loose pothole. 

Brad and Anais walking down the street.
Brad and Anais on the way to check a loose pothole.

Operating as an assessor/assistant, Anais watched on as external contractors safely repaired the pothole and carefully levelled it over, ensuring a smoother journey for road users. 

With the mahi done, Anais and Brad drove back to the Council building, and discussed– sandflies. 

According to Anais, it was “the best day ever”. 

She thanked Brad and the Transport and Infrastructure team with the surprise delivery of a delightful card and morning tea, emphasising how “amazing” the visit was and how impressed she was by our dedication to making Pōneke “fell [sic] safe”. 

Anais's mum Hayley believes this trip will inspire her daughter in the future.

"It was so magic seeing how passionate everyone is about their work, and how connected they are to why it matters for the city. Anais has an impression of what work is about - it’s fun, important and all about serving others. That’s such a great thing for her to see at a young age when she’s thinking about what she might do one day. 

"I’m just so grateful to Brad for hosting us and for the thought that went into our visit by everyone in the team. It was so amazing to see how much everyone enjoyed sharing their work with Anais and more than happy to answer her very long lists of questions!"

Brad is grateful that he got to spend the day with the eight-year-old engineer.  

"It's not often that we get to see how the work we do daily impacts the community we serve. Anais’s trip really showed us how much our tamariki care, and the impact we can have on their futures. Definitely the highlight of my year!"