Scholarship recipient - Maggie (Shengyao) Hu


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. 

Maggie (Shengyao) Hu impressed our ‘Sharks’ at the pitch event on 24 July at Massey in Tāmaki | Auckland with her bravery and her personal story. Her pitch secured her the $2,000 Institute scholarship. 

Maggie’s bravery to put herself out there and to take her life by the reins impressed us and we have no doubt she’ll go far in this industry. 

We’ve asked her a few questions to get to know her a little better. 

Read on to get to know Maggie. 

John Hemi (Chair of NZIOB Board) with Maggie Hu at Shark Tank event

Name: Maggie (Shengyao) Hu

Studying: Bachelor of Construction, majoring in Quantity Surveying 

Work: Kresta Blinds, PA for Regional Manager, casual position

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

I worked in sales at a furniture retail store, I was an operation manager in a Chinese school, and had my own business of English Language Training Centre when I was in China.

What made you go into your field of study? 

Ever since purchasing my house in 2012, I had a strong desire to construct another dwelling at the rear of the current one. During my employment at a furniture store, I noticed a growing fondness for assembling furniture rather than engaging in sales. The sense of fulfilment that washed over me after completing the assembly of flat packs was undeniable. It was then that I realized my genuine interest lay in the process of transforming drawings into tangible, physical objects. Motivated by this revelation, I decided to pursue the study of construction and immerse myself in the intricacies of building design. As I dove deeper into this field, my dream of constructing new homes on my property began to take concrete form, confirming that I had indeed discovered my true passion.

It doesn’t matter what age you are, the significance of following your heart and exploring personal interests will never be too late. Life is a journey of self-discovery, and sometimes it takes time to unearth our genuine passions. However, once we do find them, embracing them wholeheartedly becomes the key to leading a fulfilling and purpose-driven life.

Who inspires you and why?

My parents, particularly my mother, have been a tremendous source of inspiration in my life. When they ventured into starting a new business in their 40s, my admiration for their resilience and determination grew immensely. I vividly remember my mother's unwavering commitment as she spent over three hours of daily commuting for nearly two decades to support the family and build their dream. Witnessing her dedication and consistency has left a profound impact on me, shaping my own values and aspirations.

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

1. I enjoy taking my dog to the parks, where we can both have a great time and meet new people.

2. Road trips with my son are a special delight; exploring new places while driving together brings us joy, and creates good memories.

3. Trying out new restaurants is always an exciting experience as I like to discover diverse cuisines and culinary adventures.

4. Hanging out with my friends is a cherished pastime, fostering laughter and creating lasting memories.

What do you find interesting/appealing about the building industry? 

1. The building industry offers a hands-on experience like no other, where the transformation of intricate drawings into tangible structures is incredibly rewarding. Witnessing architectural concepts materialize into functional buildings brings a sense of fulfilment and pride.

2. This dynamic industry seamlessly blends physical labour with cutting-edge technology, making it a captivating and ever-evolving field. Embracing advanced construction methods and innovative tools opens up exciting possibilities for efficient and sustainable building practices.

3. The continuous pursuit of knowledge and exploration is an inherent aspect of the building industry. From mastering new construction techniques to staying updated with the latest materials and design trends, there is always something new to learn and discover.

4. Contributing to the creation of the man-made environment, which directly enhances the lives of individuals, instils a profound sense of responsibility and honour. Being part of an industry that shapes and improves our everyday surroundings fosters a deep connection to the communities we serve, making it a purposeful and rewarding career choice.

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

1. Improvement towards sustainability, with a strong focus on reducing waste and recycling materials. Embracing eco-friendly practices, such as using renewable resources and implementing energy-efficient designs, promotes a greener future. These efforts not only benefit the environment but also contribute to cost-effectiveness and long-term viability.

2. The importance of promoting health and safety, extending its concerns beyond physical well-being to prioritize mental health. Creating a supportive and positive work environment is vital, fostering a culture that values the well-being of construction workers and professionals. Addressing mental health challenges and providing resources for support ensures a healthier and more resilient workforce.

3. Affordable housing has driven the building industry to focus on constructing well-built houses that cater to people's health and well-being. Designing spaces that enhance comfort, accessibility, and functionality contributes to improved quality of life. By addressing the housing affordability crisis, the industry plays a pivotal role in supporting diverse communities and enhancing societal well-being.

4. Embracing modern technology, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) enable efficient project planning, reducing errors and optimizing resources. Automation streamlines construction processes, enhancing productivity and safety. Advanced construction methods, such as prefabrication and modular construction, offer cost-effective and sustainable alternatives. Embracing these technological advancements fosters innovation and elevates the industry to new heights of efficiency and effectiveness.

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

I would like to start as a quantity surveyor, progressing to a project manager, and eventually would like to be a property developer in the future. 

What do you plan to do with your $2,000 scholarship? 

1. I plan to purchase chocolates to share with my lecturers and classmates, spreading a bit of joy and gratitude.

2. As part of my personal improvement journey, I am considering investing in career coaching to enhance my skills and potential.

3. To surprise my son, who has longed for an electronic bass guitar, I intend to gift him a brand-new one.

4. The remainder of my scholarship will be saved to pay for my mortgage. 

Thank you to all our sponsors for their generous support

National Partner

National Sponsors

Industry Affiliations




Associate Member