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CCNZ CablePrice National Excavator Operator Competition 2021

CCNZ CablePrice National Excavator Operator Competition 2021

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Resources Download: get_app CCNZ CablePrice National Exavator Operator Competition Sponsorship Proposal

Event Detail

Prepare for excitement as New Zealand’s finest excavator operators battle it out to be crowned National Excavator Operator of the Year in the CCNZ CablePrice National Excavator Operator Competition!

The 26th National Excavator Operator Competition will be held at Central Districts Field Days in Feilding from 18-20 March 2021. 

Meet the contenders

Defending Champion: Riki Lum, Clements Contractors
A true craftsman with earth and steel, Riki Lum is also a master carver. He won last year’s event in a landslide victory, pulling clear of his nearest rival in the one-day job challenge by 20 points. Riki hails from Northland, and has worked on a range of different projects, developing a reputation for excellence, efficiency and an artist’s touch.


Northland: Stephen Jamieson, Fulton Hogan

Auckland: Tevita Tautua’a, Vita Civil
Tevita might have started off in civil construction as a traffic controller six and a half years ago, but he’s proven himself a natural behind the controls of an excavator. He faced off against more than 30 competitors at the Auckland Regional Excavator Operator Competition on his way to nationals, scoring 286 out of a possible 300 points.

Waikato: Mike Bowe, Bowe Brothers Excavating
Mike Bowe is a three-time Waikato champion and an owner-operator with an eye for detail. He enjoys working on projects big and small, especially challenging hill sites which keep him ‘switched on’.


Bay of Plenty: Craig Crowley, Crowley Excavators
Craig is a veteran owner-operator who has been behind the controls since he was 18. Environmentally sensitive earthworks are his specialty. Many Bay of Plenty orchards and vineyards have been prepared by his hand.


Hawke’s Bay East Coast: Dan Mepham, Gair Contracting
Dan Mepham of Gair Contracting was a contender at the 2018 competition winning the one-day job and, missing out on nationals by a single point in 2019. This year, he’s hoping it’s third time lucky.


Taranaki: John Northcott, Graham Harris Ltd.
John is a globetrotting operator, having worked in London and taken on demolition jobs inside the Sydney Opera House. His wide-ranging experience has prepared him to take on any excavation challenge.


Manawatu: Neil Tau, Downer
Hometown hero Neil Tau won the Manawatu regionals over last year’s runner-up Jim Beamsley. While he’s nervous about having a big audience, watching his skills should be a real treat.


Wellington Wairarapa: Ben Jones, Action Civil
Action man Ben Jones is a site foreman who works on residential drainage and infrastructure projects. He was the first man to take on this year’s Wellington Wairarapa course. His work ethic meant he was also last to leave, working to clean up the site (and polish his skills in the process).

Nelson Marlborough: Leslie Smith, Edridge Contracting
‘Smithy’ (as he is usually known) is a veteran operator, operating excavators in civil, forestry and mining for 34 years. He said his win came down to awareness of health and safety practices - recognised as a key part of the job, along will efficiency and precision.

Canterbury Westland: Sam Gilchrist, Dormer Construction
Sam is passionate about excavators, and took every opportunity to get behind the controls from a young age. He sees great opportunity in the civil construction industry, and loves taking on a challenge. Unfortunately, he won't be competing and has pulled out of the competition - he is stuck in Australia and can't get through MiQ!


Otago: Troy Calteaux, Andrew Haulage
Troy was the 2018 champion, but he put family before fame last year to attend the birth of his child rather than defend his title. This meant he had to win the Otago finals to make a comeback. He did it in style, proving he’s one of the very best and adding a second Defending Champion to the mix.

Southland: Brandon Ferguson, Fulton Hogan


Check out the action from the 2019 event:


This year's event wouldn't be possible without our awesome sponsors.


Platinum and Naming Rights Sponsor: CablePrice

Contact: email


beforeUdig is an online service which enables anyone undertaking excavation to obtain information on the location of cables, pipes and other utility assets in and around any proposed dig site, helping to protect themselves and valuable assets during these works. In most cases it provides a ‘one stop shop’ for contractors to communicate about their planned activities with utilities and authorities.
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CablePrice is the Platinum and Naming Rights Sponsor of the CCNZ CablePrice National Excavator Operator Competition and is also a Core Associate member of CCNZ.
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Connexis is a Gold Sponsor and provides nationally-recognised qualifications for the civil industry and is heavily involved in career promotion at the regional and national excavator operator competitions.
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First Gas
First Gas have been Gold Sponsors of the National Excavator Operator Competition since the very first competition back in 1994.
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Hirepool is a Gold Sponsor of the National Excavator Operator Competition and CCNZ Principal Business Partner since 2004.
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HUMES have been Gold Sponsors of the National Excavator Operator Competition since the very first competition back in 1994.
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Pirtek is our newest Gold Sponsor, coming on board for the 2020/21 round of competitions.
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Z Energy
Z Energy is a Gold Sponsor of the National Excavator Operator Competition and Core Associate member and have supported CCNZ and our members for many years.
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Youngman Richardson
TLC Insurance Limited
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Vertu Equipment Limited
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Liebherr New Zealand
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Vertical Horizonz NZ Ltd
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Absolute Immigration NZ
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Turners Group Ltd: Head Office/Auckland
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