Digging deep — Kahen Wilson

Digger driver heads to nationals

by Mike Isle

Cantabrian Kahen Wilson will dig deep when he dons his hard hat and climbs into the cab of a 12-tonne digger this week when he represents Canterbury and Westland at the National Excavator Operator Competition in Feilding.

Mr Wilson is one of 10 regional champions from around New Zealand who will test their excavator skills at a series of entertaining and highly challenging tasks that won’t be revealed until competition day.

In the past, these have ranged from tests of ‘real-world’ skills such as traversing a trench or lifting and relocating a manhole cover, to crowd-pleasing tests of precision such as uncorking a champagne bottle using an excavator bucket’s teeth or slam dunking a basketball into a two-storey concrete pipe.

“It’s my first year competing, so the whole thing will be a bit of a surprise, but I’m absolutely looking forward to it, and I’ll give it my all,” Mr Wilson said.

The finals event will take place on 15–16 March during the Central Districts Field Days at Manfeild Park. This year marks the 25th-anniversary of the annual competition, which is organised by Civil Contractors New Zealand to raise awareness of the skill involved in excavator operation and the rewarding careers available in civil construction.

Mr Wilson qualified for the event by winning the Canterbury and Westland Regional Excavator Operator Competition at Road Metals Rolleston Quarry last year.

The Schick Civil Construction employee will now drive a Hitachi Zaxis 120 excavator in front of the thousands of people attending the Central Districts Field Days as he battles for the title of New Zealand’s best multi-skilled excavator operator.