You can contact LEARNZ, part of CORE Education, at:
PO Box 13 678,
The NZ Transport Agency’s Communications Advisor to the Waterview Connection Project.
It is my job to tell the world about the Waterview Connection: exactly what we are building, why it is being built, how we are building it and how people will use it when it is finished. I do this by writing media releases that go to newspapers, television, radio and magazines throughout New Zealand; by helping journalists gather information for their own stories; through our project website; and through brochures, newsletters and signs. Internal communication is also important at the Waterview Connection because we have about 800 workers spread over five work sites. I produce a weekly newsletter just to keep our own workers ‘up with the play’ on progress and happenings around the project. I also help produce posters and signs that promote safety, quality and the kinds of behaviours we need to become a really high performing team.
I started my career as a reporter for newspapers and magazines, which is how I developed my writing skills. I then went into public relations, working mainly on the communication and public consultation for big public projects while they were still in the planning stages. I wanted a chance to work on the actual construction of some of these projects, so joined the NZ Transport Agency. The Waterview Connection project is the third big roading project I have worked on and the second involving a tunnel.
I like everything about my job, particularly the people I come into contact with every day.
There’s nothing I don’t like. Even presentations, which I used to hate, are fun to do when you are passionate about the project.
Everything – there is never a start or a finish with the things I do. I always have one or more newsletters on the go; the website always needs updating; there’s always someone wanting another poster and so it goes on.
I am a keen gardener and a year ago I initiated a community garden on the project. It started as one way we could contribute something positive to the community we are affecting by the construction. It has about a dozen regular gardeners and is proving its worth as a place people can come and learn how to grow their own vegetables, as well as make new friends.
The worst moment of my career was when there was no microphone for the prime minister when he came to open the last motorway project I worked on. To make matters worse, it started to pour with rain the moment speeches began, drowning out their voices.
I have a diploma in journalism. Also, I am an accredited member of the Public Relations Institute of NZ and have certificates in public consultation, facilitation and various other aspects of my work.
Mostly gardening. I have written a book for children on gardening called 'Get Growing'. And am hoping to write another when I retire next year.
Watch the video where Helen talks about her work.
Helen Cook is the NZ Transport Agency’s Communications Advisor to the Waterview Connection Project.