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Quirky names for City Rail Link’s “Lady in Waiting”

  • Posted on: 02, 25, 2020
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25 February 2020


Quirky names for City Rail Link’s “Lady in Waiting”


New Zealanders’ quirky sense of humour is reflected in the creative names for the City Rail Link Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), with “Subterranean Sue” (aka Dame Susan Devoy) and “Jacindigger” (Jacinda Ardern) among the suggestions so far for the TBM.

Ms Ardern and Dame Susan, a former world squash champion and Race Relations Commissioner, are among 80 different women nominated as a possible TBM name.   Others include war-time heroes, sports champions, outstanding political and community leaders and entertainers.

“All those who have been nominated share one thing in common – their inspiring talents, skills and leadership have made, or are making, a huge impact on New Zealand,” says City Rail Link’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney.

City Rail Link and the Link Alliance, which will operate the TBM to complete the tunnels, are running a naming competition for the TBM.

Anyone in New Zealand over five can suggest a name on-line http://www.digcrl.co.nz.  People can also make a nomination at participating local libraries.

Auckland schools are also helping find a name and are integrating the search into inquiry-based learning and social science classes, which give students a different opportunity to learn more about women who have helped shape New Zealand.

“We welcome everyone’s suggestion.  The TBM will have a very forceful influence on the project, and that’s why we want the name of a woman who has had an equally strong influence on our country,” Dr Sweeney says.

By tradition, large machines like TBMs have a woman’s name to honour St Barbara, the patron saint and protector of tunnellers and people who deal with explosives.

Dr Sweeney describes the TBM as CRL’s “lady in waiting”.

“Our search is important because industry convention says the TBM can’t start its journey under Auckland until it has been given a women’s name.”

Name nominations will close on Thursday, 5 March.  The top three will then be selected by a panel and New Zealanders will have the chance to vote for the one they prefer for the TBM.   Voting will be open between 12-26 March.

People can stay up to date at:

Ngā mihi,

Ewart Barnsley – Media Manager  

City Rail Link Project

Level 2, 25 Teed Street, Newmarket 1023

PO Box 9681, Newmarket 1149

Mobile: +64 27 2756868 Email: ewart.barnsley@cityraillink.govt.nz

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