The 2008 WAIKATO / BAY OF PLENTY Christmas function held at the Waikato Stadium was an absolute ripper of a night. Tim Armstrong and his band belted out some sensational tunes all night and kept everybody busy on the dance floor especially myself.
Even Elvis put in an appearance which stirred the ladies into a frenzy although I would have to say the years have not been kind to him and he is a lot shorter than I remembered.
A big thanks to Eddie Buckley our guest speaker for the evening, enlightening us on the Geothermal energy project in Taupo.

The Orica v. Redbull Rugby field sprint was a huge draw card for the evening particularly for the Waikato Stadium Security guards that seemed to be more interested than most and wanting to participate ..good on you boys.

A special thanks to our sponsors for the evening, your support is always appreciated.

Stu Marsden Award:

Another highlight of the night was the presentation of the Stu Marsden Award. The award was established in the name of Stu Marsden to recognise individual young achievers in the Extractive Industry within the Waikato / Bay of Plenty IOQ Branch. Applications are considered for individuals 35 years and under. The winner receives one year’s free membership to the IOQ and keeps the award for one year before returning it prior to the following year’s presentation. Individuals must attend the IOQ Christmas function to receive the Award. This year 21 people were invited to apply and 5 quality applications were received.

Aaron – what a beaming smile !
This year’s winner was Aaron Thwaites of HG Leach. Aaron started employment with HG Leach and Co in 2001 as a Bin Truck Operator and Crusher Operator with no previous industry experience. He very quickly excelled onto most machinery and began to gain a better understanding of quarrying and showed great interest in becoming a Quarry Manager.

In 2002, he hooked up to ExITO and began to work towards achieving this goal. In 2005, Aaron obtained his National Certificate in Operations as well as Shot-firer’s ticket, and with much satisfaction and pride he achieved his B-Grade Quarry Manager’s Certificate.
At the beginning of 2006, Aaron was appointed Quarry Manager of the Tirohia site near Paeroa, and stepped up to the challenge of promoting Health and Safety, and was proactive in running what is not only a very busy quarry but also had a big involvement in the landfill operation which is operated within the quarry?s old workings. Aaron is also Chairman of the Health and Safety Committee at Leach.

At the beginning of 2008 a promotion to operate the Waitawheta Quarry became available and Aaron accepted this new challenge. He has stamped his mark on this site and improved its health and safety practices as well as its overall tidiness.

Aaron is also a great mentor figure for our five Modern Apprentices and through his own achievements he has inspired them to establish a clear path and direction to someday become Quarry Managers themselves which can only be seen as a huge positive for our industry.

In summary, I think I speak on behalf of all that attended the evening that it was a very successful night. And on behalf of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Branch Committee we would like to wish all our members and sponsors a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Dean Torstenson.