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Anaru Etana (L) and Robert (Himona) Knowles (R)

Taumarunui locals join TLC trainee programme

1 May 2023

The Lines Company’s (TLC) latest intake of trainee line mechanics sees two Taumarunui locals join the programme in its eighth year, boosting the current number of trainees.


General manager of service delivery, Jared Murrell, says the trainee programme is important not only for the network business, but also the ongoing success of the community.

“We’re here to operate a safe and reliable network, but it’s more than that. We’re an important local employer and we see training and upskilling of local people as part of the role we play in the region,” says Murrell.

“Building up our team at Taumarunui with additional trainees will help ensure electricity supply to the area remains solid, and in the process, we’re helping to develop local talent as our trainees earn, learn and grow on the job.”

Robert Knowles, known as Himona to most, took up the opportunity to train to be a line mechanic having spent time working in water services, meat processing and forestry sectors. An avid rugby player and outdoorsman, Himona says he has great family support behind him as he aims to achieve his goal of becoming a qualified line mechanic.

“I’ve wanted to be a line mechanic since I was at high school, and I had applied a couple of times and got a foot in the door this year.

“My five kids and wife are right behind me and my first week was pretty busy because of Cyclone Gabrielle. I was out there cutting tree branches and watching trained crews’ complete repairs. That week, I got to go all over the network area, saw poles and lines down and was shocked at the damage I saw.”

Himona says “there’s a lot to learn from the field crews and I’m looking forward to picking up the lingo and learning a heap of new skills.”

The second trainee, Anaru Etana, joined TLC following a four-year stint working in the forestry sector.

“I heard about the opportunity through word of mouth,” says Etana.

“I was looking for a long-term career opportunity and I was looking for a company which would help me progress my career.

“I can see there are lots of opportunities at TLC, with options to learn a range of skills, and I’m really looking forward to getting a trade under my belt.

“The team at TLC is awesome and I love the culture.”

TLC trainees are provided with quality training, stable employment, competitive remuneration and a host of employee benefits including medical insurance, free health checks, long service leave, free eye tests, accumulated sick leave, flu vaccinations, discounted fuel and much more.

After two and a half years in the programme, successful trainees are awarded a NZQA accredited New Zealand Certificate in Electricity Supply Line Mechanic Distribution. This equates to an NZCEA Level 4 qualification and is highly sought after within our industry.

TLC is looking to recruit a further five trainees this year, more information can be found here.

For more information contact