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.
Maia Flint secured one of the $2,000 scholarships at our pitch event at Victoria University of Wellington in Poneke | Wellington on 11 August.
We asked Maia a few questions to get to know her better. We look forward to seeing what's next for her.
Read on to get to know Maia.
Name: Maia Flint
Studying: Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington
Tell us about yourself - what were you doing before your studies?
I grew up in Tauranga where I attended Tauranga Waldorf (Steiner) School (years 0-8) and Tauranga Girls’ College (years 9-13). My parents are both very active which influenced me to take up running at a relatively young age and this has been a passion and commitment of mine for the best part of my life. Although running has always been my biggest pursuit outside the classroom, I have always enjoyed the performing arts and took violin lessons and drama until the end of highschool. I also enjoy working with kids and have been tutoring a mixture of maths and english for NumberWorks’nWords since I was 16.
What made you go into your field of study?
The Steiner school I went to as a kid had an artistic focus which was probably the first step that nudged me towards an artistic field of study. I enjoyed both DVC and art in highschool, partly for the creative aspect but also because I found the act of creating something physical incredibly rewarding. I was also inspired by the impact that architecture has on almost every aspect of modern life. The power of the built environment to shape the way we live and our quality of life is staggering if you take the time to truly appreciate it and this knowledge that a career in architecture could be truly significant was what finalised my decision.
Who inspires you and why?
My upbringing came with no real challenges and nor did that of both my parents. In contrast, my Grandad’s childhood was everything but regular. Despite his above average intelligence, Grandad left school at 14 out of rebellion against his horrible stepfather and eventually left home altogether at 16. The following years of his life, he worked incredibly hard in a variety of different jobs, earning next to nothing and barely scraping through. He eventually found his feet in the business world as a salesman and had a varied but successful career. Nowadays, at 84 years of age, Grandad continues to make me proud to be his granddaughter with his active lifestyle, positivity and the way he brings our family together. He is a constant reminder that success is earned and the rewards worth every drop of sweat if you are willing to put in the mahi.
What do you do in your spare time (if you have any)?
Outside of study, my waking hours are generally divided between training, working and feeding myself. I represented New Zealand at the World Mountain Running Championships in June this year and hope to do so again in 2025 so juggling my training alongside study has been challenging over the last 18 months and I tend not to have much spare time outside of these. When I do get windows to myself, I enjoy movie nights with my flatmates and being able to read more than one chapter of my book before falling asleep.
What do you find interesting/appealing about the building industry?
The building industry is both exciting and daunting to me because of its sheer size and the variety of professions that have a role within it. I am quite social and enjoy working with others so the prospect of collaborating with a range of other disciplines excites me but I also suspect it will be highly challenging.
What would you like to see change in the building industry?
I feel like a broken record saying this but in today's climate, sustainability should be at the forefront of everything the building industry does and although I am not yet practicing, I think there is much room for improvement in this area. I am also slightly apprehensive about becoming an architect as I get the impression that architects get a bad rap from other areas of the building industry for lacking the practical knowledge required to design buildings that are actually feasible. As the owner of a natural stone company, my Dad works with architects often and has sometimes found them difficult to work with because of this. I hope to get experience working on a construction site before I graduate so that this isn’t an issue in my career.
What kind of role would you love to do in the construction industry?
My long-term goal is to be self-employed and specialise in sustainable residential design. I’ve been watching Grand Designs and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces since I was a kid and I found the difference in scale of the projects on each show to be quite striking. Although I value the aesthetic freedoms of architectural design, I don’t believe in designing homes far larger than is necessary for the occupants. I also hope my work will give me some flexibility to pursue competitive running into my 30s with the ability to work remotely enabling me to travel overseas and compete.
What do you plan to do with your scholarship $$?
At the moment I am torn about how to spend the money from this scholarship. I would like to put it towards an IPad as I think this would be really helpful for note taking and digital drawing, but with living costs so high, I am tempted to hold onto it to remove some of the week-to-week strain of making ends meet.