Scholarship recipient - Leana Petrie


At the NZ Institute of Building we want to support the Next Generation of the Building Industry. We know it’s tough to be a student right now and that for many, money is tight. We want to help relieve a little of that stress for one of our Next Gen members. 

We are travelling the country to give students the chance to impress us with their passion and nab a $2,000 NZIOB scholarship. We have asked students studying in the built environment to prepare a ‘shark tank’ style pitch where they talk about their passion, a project, or even just themselves.

The main aim is to show our ‘sharks’ their potential and their passion for the industry. 

Leana Petrie presented with Jackson McGarvie, the pair securing one of the $2,000 scholarships between them at our pitch event at Victoria University of Wellington in Poneke | Wellington on 11 August. 

We asked Leana a few questions to get to know her better. We look forward to keeping in touch with her and seeing what's next for her. 

Read on to get to know Leana. 


Name: Leana Petrie
Studying: Bachelor of Architectural Studies – Victoria University of Wellington

Tell us about yourself - what were you doing before your studies?

For most of my life, I have lived in the Kapiti coast, a small coastal town just outside of Wellington. Prior to studying at Victoria university, I went to secondary school at Kapiti College.

What made you go into your field of study?

If you had asked a much younger version of myself what she wanted to be when she grew up, I would have told you an ‘artist’. Arts and crafts were a large passion of mine throughout my childhood, I loved drawing and creating and as a result, when I went to secondary school my chosen subjects reflected this. Within my first year studying at Kapiti College, it quickly became apparent that design and visual communication was my favourite class. Although I still enjoyed art, there was something about the unpredictability of the design process that I took a liking to. In my later years at college, I found I also took a liking to more academic classes such as science and calculus. When deciding on what field of study I would be most interested in, I felt that architecture would be the perfect combination of my two passions.

Who inspires you and why?

Someone who inspires me a lot is my grandfather. Not only does he share my passion for the building industry, but also more importantly, to me he embodies what it means to be diligent and hard working. In his early life, he aspired to work in the building and construction industry – specifically as an architect. However, he was unfortunately unable to afford the cost of study. In an effort to stay within the field he trained as a builder, gaining an understanding of architecture from a builder’s perspective. Later in his life he was able to use the understanding to design homes for himself and well as my parents. I find his journey within his career inspiring as it embodies the notion (no matter how cliché) that you are truly capable of achieving anything you put your mind to, regardless of how out of reach it may seem at first.

What do you do in your spare time (if you have any)?

I don’t have a lot of spare time, but when I do, I still enjoy a lot of hands-on creative outlets such as painting and crochet. I also have a large interest in physical activity, taking part in competitive netball as well as making time for running a few times each week.

What would you like to see change in the building industry?

One thing I would love to see change in the building industry is an increase in more sustainable building practises. It’s no question that the building industry is one of the main contributors to global warming. While I understand that steps are currently being put into place to create a more environmentally friendly build environment, I believe that sustainability can still be made more of a priority. Aotearoa is extremely lucky to have the access to local, zero carbon building materials such as timber as well as the space to produce renewable energy. As a result, there needs to be more focus on capsizing on this. Within my career I hope to be able to help make sustainability even more of a priority within all building projects.

What kind of role would you love to do in the construction industry?

After achieving my Bachelor of Architecture, I plan to continue on to do my masters. My ultimate goal would be to become a practising architect with a focus on sustainability and producing culturally inspired designs. I would love to be able to work towards show cases what I believe to be New Zealand architectural identity within my work.

What do you plan to do with your scholarship $$?

With the scholarship money for now I plan to put the money into savings, however it will most likely go towards paying excess living costs while at university.

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