Civil engineer Divya Kataria swapped New Delhi for Aotearoa New Zealand in 2016. It was a decision she didn’t take lightly and came with some pleasant and unexpected surprises.
“To be honest, before arriving I thought it was only Europeans here. But I soon discovered there were people from all parts of the world. It was quite an eye-opening experience,” she adds.
Divya started fresh from uni as a graduate site engineer in the construction industry, working on the huge Transmission Gully motorway project in Wellington, before eventually moving back north to Auckland and switching her focus to structural engineering.
“The size thing is what everyone gets wrong about New Zealand. There are a lot of jobs right across the industry. This is a young country that’s developing fast, there’s a lot happening. As a result, engineering is booming here, across utilities, infrastructure, structural, civil, and much more. It’s more dynamic than anywhere else, and you get to be a part of some big projects.”
But what about the work culture, especially as a woman in what has traditionally been a male dominated profession?
“The construction industry in New Zealand is very welcoming and friendly to women. They empower women to pursue a career in the construction and infrastructure fields. The environment at work is collaborative, inclusive, and diverse, and at the same time independent. You’re given space to think and do your own thing.”
So what would she say to other people thinking of moving to New Zealand to work in engineering?
“When I talk to someone back home who’s thinking about moving to New Zealand, I say ‘don’t think about it, just come.’ It’s the best decision I ever made, and I would do it all over again.”