Sapoa Rimoni – civil engineer
Sapoa Rimoni talks about how her civil engineering skills are helping to make a better world.
Married at 21 and living in South Auckland with two sons, Sapoa Rimoni worried that as a young mother her career opportunities were over.
But rather than giving up, Sapoa used her situation as motivation for making a change.
With limited money, Sapoa decided to renovate her housing unit herself. This led to her taking a one-year carpentry course and learning basic construction skills.
It took time for Sapoa to adjust to being the only woman in her carpentry class, but when she started getting higher marks than the men she began to dream bigger and go for a civil engineering career.
Sapoa enrolled in a two-year New Zealand Diploma of Engineering course which opened up a world of opportunities. After she graduated she was picked for a job as a site engineer with a big construction company.
She views engineers as having a social obligation to serve the world we live in and provide quality of life. Engineers are the unseen people who make the world, they are creative thinkers and problem solvers, and the need for the profession has never been greater.
Her dream has become a reality where Sapoa has the power to make a difference in the world she lives in, and is inspired every day to create a better future.
Watch how Sapoa transformed her life – video
Sapoa Rimoni talks about her career path in construction – (3:00 mins)
Sapoa: My journey starts in 1988 a Pacific island girl in the land of Aotearoa.
My mother is a strong Tongan good woman and my father a hard-working Samoan man.
By the age of 21 I was married to the love of my life and we had two adventurous boys.
At this stage of my life I was living in a small unit in South Auckland and as a young mother I felt like my opportunities to have a career no longer existed.
Society was quick to label me as another statistic, but rather than accept a wallow in my less than ideal situation I felt motivated to make a change.
Of the little budget I had I began to renovate my small unit.
I was a newbie to the whole idea of fixing and creating at this scale.
I was accepted into a carpentry course and over a span of a year I learnt basic construction skills.
I have to say being the only female in a class full of males took a little getting used to.
I remember the first few weeks of class the guys would offer to hammer nails for me, lift things and so on and then we started getting results back in practical and theory work and I would get higher marks than some of the guys and that did not sit well with some of them.
I started to dream and it was at this time in my life I decided to pursue a career in civil engineering.
My aspiration set high I enrolled in a New Zealand diploma in engineering. My two years of study opened up a world of opportunities for me - at the end of my diploma I was picked up by Hawkins and offered a full-time job as a site
I couldn't believe it I'm actually doing it.
That spark that small spark is now turning into a flame.
Little did my parents know that leaving their home to seek out a better quality of life is my main drive as an engineer to provide that same quality of life to others and now I'm part of a team involved in incredible and diverse projects across the country.
As an engineer we have a social obligation to serve the world we live in. Everything that we design and make is for the user.
Engineers are the unseen people who make the world.
We are creative thinkers, problem solvers, and the need for our profession has never been greater.
My dream has become a reality where I have the power to make a difference to the world that I live in and that in itself motivates me every day to press on and aspire for a better future.
My name is Sapoa Rimoni. Help me make the world.
Join Sapoa to make the world better
Updated 30 May 2019