It was a pleasant surprise to be involved in Making Rail Work.
I was fortunate to meet Katrina at Cooperative Business NZ, where I was involved in AUT’s ‘shadow a leader’ day. Through that program, I met Katrina, who proposed a rail cooperative in the Golden Triangle, which would also happen to be New Zealand’s first rail co-operative. I learned a little about what CEO Roz Henry does to ensure the co-operatives in New Zealand are well represented, who play a significant role in supporting Making Rail Work.
Initially, I was sceptical, mainly because my knowledge about rail was little to none. However, I was hooked on the idea when Katrina explained to me the impact rail could have on the future of New Zealand. Not long after, I emailed Katrina to gain more insight into the project. Since then, so many different people and perspectives have exposed me to rail itself and the policies, economics and politics encompassing New Zealand as its core.
Before joining the project, I was not aware of the vast extent of the underdevelopment of New Zealand’s rail link system. As an Aucklander, our rail systems mainly consisted of cancellations and delays; however, it rarely occurred to me that other places in New Zealand had it much worse (typical Aucklander behaviour).
However, watching my friends talk about moving overseas due to having limited opportunities here and with global disasters becoming a more prominent story overseas, it is abundantly clear that New Zealand needs a robust solution to prepare for the inevitable. Making Rail Work proposes that inter-regional passenger rail can serve as the foundation to grow the economy and further unite communities within the Golden Triangle.
With this at the forefront of my mind, it has been such a fun journey, seeing the team’s progress slowly come to life. Seeing people so passionate about the cause their service has been genuinely inspiring.
Despite us starting as a small team, over the year, the team has grown to accommodate people with a range of expertise and experiences in which we can all learn from each other. Being surrounded by community-driven people has expanded my perceptions of what is possible for the future.