Award win for Sarah Heke Hall

Sarah Heke Hall (Ngāpuhi) is the site foreperson on the Eastern Busway Alliance and the winner of the Next Generation Leader Award at Infrastructure New Zealand’s Building Nations 2023 Impact Awards. Sarah tells her story.

‘I took a job in construction as a labourer to pay off my student loan for university. Growing up, I wasn’t encouraged to pursue an education. But I told myself that I had my life to live, and I started studying toxicology and science. 

‘It was during my work as a labourer that I quickly realised that I loved physical work and the social aspect of it, too. At the time, I had no aspirations to become a leading hand, but with the support of my supervisors who saw something in me, I started my journey in construction. 

‘When I came along to an Iwi recruitment drive in West Auckland, I felt excited to see like-minded people ready to engage and talk about a career, not just a number to fill a job. At this point, I knew what I wanted to strive for: to be the first Māori woman site superintendent in New Zealand. 

‘My current role enables me to manage large sections of the job, with support from supervisors as mentors. I know I have a lot to learn before becoming a Superintendent, such as cost analysis and structures, and I know that I’ll get there with the support of the team around me. 

‘There are many opportunities in construction for Māori and Pasifika women. It’s an excellent time in this sector to make a positive difference. Working in construction and with communities is a great challenge, especially on big jobs like the Eastern Busway.’