Jane Jujnovich won the James Hardie Innovation Award at the 2023 NZ Building People Awards. Jane is a Project Director at Kāinga Ora, she was awarded for her transformative work on Te Mātāwai project in Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland.
Jane’s glass half full approach has driven change right through her organisation to focus on the greater social outcomes in everything they do, leading her to be described by her colleagues at Kāinga Ora as the “True North.”
We asked Jane a few questions to get to know her better. You can also see her in a recent Light Lunch webinar.
What did your NZ Building People Awards win mean to you?
Winning the Institute's Innovation Award meant so much to me! Over the five years working on the Te Mātāwai project we really worked hard to drive innovation and focus on the outcomes of the people who will live in Te Mātāwai first and foremost and then design and build it around those outcomes.
Now that the building is complete, we have people, including some people from the rough sleeping community, moving in, living in warm, dry homes and utilising the 24/7 on-site support. This building and its operating model are literally changing people’s lives every day and I have been really lucky to be the Project Director working with such a passionate team enabling that outcome.
What is one thing you love about your job?
He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata!! The people, the people, the people!
I have been lucky enough to get to know many people over the years and what a passionate bunch of people there are in this industry!
At Kāinga Ora we have a mandate to not only build homes but to build communities and what could be more exciting than that! There are not many jobs you have where you get to make such a difference in people's life, and work with such a wonderful group of people who get up everyday to provide opportunity and outcomes for some of our most vulnerable. Work doesn’t get much better than that!
What is one change you would love to see made in the building industry in NZ?
I would love to see that when my daughter is deciding her career path that it is a really common thing for females to look to the construction industry as an attractive and fulfilling job. There are so many opportunities across the industry from designing, consenting to the actual construction process but historically I don’t think many girls really thought about the construction sector as an attractive option for their future. As an industry we are definitely getting better but I think there is still a way to go.
Throughout the build at Te Mātāwai we (as in Kāinga Ora, our builder Icon and our design teams) partnered with Auckland Girl Grammer to run sessions and provide opportunities for girls to better understand and experience the opportunities in the industry and understand what those jobs entail. Icon also provided work experience for a few girls during holiday periods. What a wonderful way for girls to experience what it might be like and think about the construction industry as an option for them!
Who inspires you in the building industry and why?
This is a tough question! I have worked alongside so many amazing people! Over the years so many people have been so giving with their time, taught me, supported me and provided their expertise so willingly. I really wouldn’t like to single out anyone as that would be unfair to many others… Let’s just say that there are a lot of wonderful people in this industry and we should consider ourselves lucky to know them.
What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?
I love listening to True Crime podcasts and my favourite one is Crime Junkie - I am addicted!
Currently I am reading the latest in the Thursday Murder Club books by Richard Osborne called “The last devil to die." While this sounds like a gruesome read they are actually very funny, light reads that happen to have a mystery story in them as well- Well worth a read- I would highly recommend them.
In terms of TV, I am loving “only Murders in the Building." Again sounds gruesome but is a really funny comedy with Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez. It is a really laugh out loud show.
I feel like there is a strong theme here thinking about this! I am addicted to crime!!! Honestly, I promise I am not a secret axe murderer in real life!!!