Member Spotlight: Helen Moate


Helen Moate won the Consultants Award at the 2023 NZ Building People Awards. Helen spent almost five years working on the Te Wao Nui, Wellington Childrens Hospital, in Pōneke | Wellington in an unusual role coordinating all parties and stakeholders to the project.

The Award judges said “Helen is very clearly a people person with empathy and humanity at the core of everything she does and exceptional skills in management and leadership. We could see it wasn’t just about bringing people together for the sake of the project but also recognising the individual needs of the team members.”

Helen is a Senior Project Manager at The Building Intelligence Group in Pōneke | Wellington and a member of the Institute’s Central Region Committee.

We asked Helen a few questions to get to know her better.

What did your NZ Building People Awards win mean to you?

I was delighted to be a representative of the wider team’s successes on several challenging projects. Te Wao Nui, the new children’s hospital in Pōneke was a community project from start to finish and to be involved in a project that is helping improve health service delivery and creating considerable impact for tamariki and their whānau in central Aotearoa is a source of great pride to me and the team.

E hara taku toa i te takitahi, he toa takitini - My strength is not as an individual, but as a collective

What is one thing you love about your job?

I’m a big believer that seeing what is possible, allows you to strive towards being it. If you can see it, you can be it. For me, this means working to be a visible role model as a young female in the construction industry, demonstrating how great team collaboration leads to better outcomes and being a positive influence for the next generation.
The projects I have worked on where this has been a strong feature have demonstrated to me that together we can be powerful. From the start, I like to have project teams come together and build trust as a team so they work better together when the challenges come around. Working together is so much more powerful than separately.

What is one change you would love to see made in the building industry in NZ?

I referenced great team collaboration above, and I firmly believe it’s the key to delivering the best result for a project. So, I’d love to see more collaborative approaches to break down the barriers between designers, clients and contractors.

I love the journey that Aotearoa is on bringing te ao Māori into design and construction. I’d love to see this along with more consideration for accessibility needs further cemented into all stages of projects from the very start, through construction and to occupation. It should be embedded in our unique built environment, not just ‘applied’ and reflect our wide diversity.

Who inspires you in the Building Industry and why?

The perseverance, tenacity and determination of Stacey Mendonça, MNZM—co-founder of NAWIC NZ—is a constant inspiration to me. Not only did she break into the industry and cement herself, but she also uplifted other women in the industry by bringing them on the journey with her through creating NAWIC and continuing to tirelessly support our industry.

What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?

Check out 76 Small Rooms - It’s a great podcast focusing on architecture and design both here and beyond. I love that it’s New Zealand people and projects and really dives into people’s lived experiences.

And pick up a copy of Here, the architecture magazine that started in the middle of lockdown to celebrate stories in design and architecture in Aotearoa.

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