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Westland District Council roll-out Starlink across Westland


Communications and resilience for communities in Westland are taking a step forward this month with Community Communication kits using Starlink satellite internet connections arriving in all Westland communities.

“Each kit contains Starlink, small petrol generator, battery pack and vehicle inverter capable of powering the kit and enabling communications back to the Emergency Operations Centre.” advises Cindy Fleming, Readiness and Response Emergency Management Officer. “We are providing multiple ways to power the communications kit. In the event of an emergency, some areas may still have mains power, but others will have to use an alternate power source if communications go out. Providing a range of power sources means there is a backup if and when other options are unavailable. The kit can be set up in any location as long as the Starlink dish has a clear line of sight to the sky.  We have worked closely with the IT team at Westland District Council, Rick McCobb from Honda Farm, Trail and Road in Greymouth, HB21 and Jason Sommerville from J Tech in Christchurch.”

In an emergency such as the Alpine fault earthquake, power and communications are likely to be cut off. Starlink kits will provide vital communications support for each community. They will have contact with the Westland Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and help staff prioritise resources. The EOC will have the ability to share information and support morale.

“Nineteen kits will be spread across the district,” says Ms Fleming, “with one kit remaining at the EOC at all times. These will remain Westland District Council assets and, where needed, they can be deployed to other parts of the West Coast and further afield to support disaster management. The kits in the community will be activated on a needs-must basis. The one held by the EOC will be active at all times.

The first kit was successfully delivered and tested in the Otira community. The mountainous terrain means this community can be cut off for days or weeks from power and communications, so this has been well received as an alternate communication option.”

Photo – West Coast Emergency Management


Media enquiries to:

Emma Rae, Strategy and Communications Advisor