City Rail Link salvage to aid Tonga rebuild

By Kelvin McDonald
(L-R) Maeakafa Tu’inukuafe and Sai’a Latu load salvaged material for Tonga. Photo/Supplied

Containers packed with material salvaged from Auckland's City Rail Link (CRL) construction will be shipped to Tonga next month to help rebuild communities battered by last year's Cyclone Gita.

The material was stripped from CRL buildings being demolished near the Mt Eden station by salvage company TROW, which has provided Te Puea Marae with recycled furniture for the homeless in the past.

“All sorts of things that helped people do their jobs in offices and factories at Mt Eden are still in pretty good nick and will now get a new life helping Tonga’s rebuild - a church in one village or giving children a decent classroom in another," TROW General Manager Sai’a Latu says. “It’s still good quality stuff, we’re not passing on junk.”

The salvage company worked its way through 10 empty buildings at Mt Eden, stripping out everything it identified as re-useable.

The contents of the two Tonga-bound containers include cupboards, desks, shelving, tables, doors, benches, toilets, drawers, ceiling panels and carpet tiles.

“Not so long ago a lot of the salvaged material, at least 40 percent of all construction waste, would have been trucked off to the nearest dump as waste. That’s an industry image we want to help change," says Latu. 

Former NZ Warrior and Kiwis league star Joe Vagana is Operations Manager for TROW. 

The company is the first sub-contractor to win a tender from the Link Alliance, which is delivering the substantive CRL work for CRL Ltd. 

With over $1 billion in contracts to be awarded for CRL, CRL Ltd and the Link Alliance say they are working to ensure that small Pasifika and Māori businesses like TROW are part of their procurement process. 

At a cost of $4.4 billion, the CRL is NZ's largest-ever transport infrastructure project involving the construction of a 3.5 km twin rail tunnel underneath Auckland city centre.