The list of projects that Pearl Jury has worked on across Hawke’s Bay and beyond is impressive – she and her digger have helped build airstrips, dams, subdivisions, the Hastings-Napier expressway, and the region’s newest major road: Te Ara Kahikatea.
Right now, she is working on Hastings District Council’s new Te Pōhue water treatment site. That project is part of Council’s Hastings Drinking Water Strategy, which includes upgrading all small community water supplies across the district.
But a recent achievement is perhaps her most noteworthy; she is the first female to achieve her Civil Trade Certificate in New Zealand.
Pearl is working on Council’s Te Pōhue facility when she takes a break to talk about her 17 years working as a heavy machinery driver.
Her dad worked at timber mills in the Tarawera, so bulldozers and motor scrapers were part of the fabric of early life for Pearl.
But that did not see her head straight towards the diggers on leaving school. Stints in retail and in a joinery factory, where she was offered an apprenticeship, didn’t appeal, and after having her family heavy machinery called.
“I loved the motor scrapers especially, but all of it is a challenge.”
The biggest change over the years has been the introduction of technology, “but you still need an eye for it. You build up experience, knowledge and intuition”.
And it is those talents and her 17 years in the industry that saw her fly through the Civil Trade certification process.
Her advice to young women who love being outdoors and are deciding on their career options is to think about heavy machinery operation. “It is fantastic; I love every minute of it. And there’s something special about driving over or looking at projects you’ve been involved in and feeling a real level of satisfaction.”
12 October 2020
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