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Resilient River Communities

One graduate’s journey from wanderlust to engineering

The path to Aleisha's role as a Graduate Project Engineer at Tasman District Council is as diverse as the projects she’s now involved in. With the establishment of the graduate position enabled through funding from Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit, Aleshia shares her journey, aspirations, and some of her learnings.
Tasman District Council

With a curiosity that spans cultures and landscapes, Aleshia's path to her role as a Graduate Project Engineer at Tasman District Council is as diverse as the projects she’s now involved in.  Her Civil Engineering Degree was earned at distance, meaning travelling to Australia throughout her studies.  

Aleshia's journey wasn't confined to lecture halls; she found her passion for civil engineering by exploring the intricacies of infrastructure on her travels - from the ancient Charles Bridge in Prague, to a sinking pillar in Berlin, and more recently, researching new approaches in New Zealand that combine environmental and ‘grey’ infrastructure (concrete structures such as roads, dams and sea walls) - these experiences have ignited her passion for engineering and environmental sustainability. 

Aleshia's role includes project management and offers a dynamic blend of challenges and rewards. From delving into the complexities of drainage systems, to collaborating with site engineers on bus stop designs, each day presents a new puzzle to solve. Yet, it's the tangible impact of her work that fuels her – witnessing plans materialise into structures that serve and protect her community. 

Aleshia’s work has included involvement in the Lower Motueka River Floodbank Improvement Project, a Resilient River Communities project which involves strengthening several sections of the Motueka River stopbanks. The project has been supported by $7.5m of funding from Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit. Originally built in 1956, the existing flood protection scheme protects the townships of Motueka and Riwaka, which are both built on the river’s floodplains, from frequent flooding in the lower reaches of the river. This project will strengthen the stopbanks back to full effectiveness and improve flood resilience for Motueka and Riwaka. The Motueka River catchment is one of the largest river systems in the Tasman District. 

Rekindling her ties with her iwi, Aleshia has also immersed herself in Te Reo courses, connecting her to her iwi and marae. Aleshia’s aspiration is to weave Te Ao Māori, the Māori worldview, into contemporary engineering solutions. Inspired by Māori practices and knowledge, she envisions a future where engineering infrastructure coexists with the environment. 

For those venturing into similar territories, Aleshia's advice is as practical as it is profound: stay motivated, network relentlessly, and never shy away from a challenge.

And to those who helped fund this opportunity, she is grateful to them for providing this next step in her career.

More about the Resilient River Communities project in the Tasman District.