He TangataSamantha McGavock

Jul 7, 2016

Ngai Tahu – Ngāti Irakehu – Wairewa


Samantha McGavock has whakapapa links to Wairewa, but was born and raised in Rotorua.
She studied architecture in Wellington and now lives and works in Auckland as a Construction Project Manager.

Sam worked with Tūhoe to design and build Te Kura Whare – their new office and community building in Taneatua, which is considered to be the most sustainable building in Aoteroa. She’s currently leading the build of Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana in Te Urewera forest, which will be the focal point of Waikaremoana business and a place where visitors will be welcomed to the area.

What constitutes a good day?
I measure success by how happy and satisfied people are around me. While I can’t necessarily control it, I can definitely enhance or hinder someone’s day with what I bring to an interaction. If the people in my life are in a good place or I can help them get there, that’s a good day for me.

One thing you could not live without?
My freedom! I’m grateful to live in a country where I can be female and drive a car, get a job and not marry someone at 12… I don’t think I’d do very well if the circumstances were different.

Who or what inspires you and why?
My two sisters. They kick ass in their chosen fields and are incredibly resilient and decent. They just continually impress me. If I’m having a tough day I think about what they think of me, how much I value their opinion, and know I can do anything.

Highlight in the last year and why?
Moving in with my partner… I realise it’s a bit more Cosmo than TE KARAKA but it’s the honest answer.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Probably coffee – I buy a coffee every single morning unless I’m in a town where it’s not an option. I’ve worked out I could save myself about $1,600 a year if I kicked the habit… horrifying.

Favourite way to chill out?
Favourite place?

I’m like a two year-old watching cartoons in this respect. If I need to fully chill out – as in completely leave my body – I’ll buckle down on the couch and watch something mindless. After a day solving complex problems I’ll relish this guilty pleasure. The less intellectually stimulating the better!

Dance or wallflower?
Dance. I’m only a wallflower if desperately tired and obliged to be somewhere.

What food could you not live without?

What meal do you cook the most?
I’ve been quite into making pizza on the BBQ using a pizza stone. It’s fun when people are over but I do need to cut this down unless I plan to roll into 2017.

Greatest achievement?
I helped someone I love turn their life around when things were looking really grim.

Do you have an aspiration for Ngāi Tahu to achieve by 2025?
I’m going to push the boat out please because I have two! I hope that as many people as possible will have participated in Aoraki Bound. It’s still one of the best experiences of my life and has hugely influenced the person I am today. The second is that I hope the face of Ngāi Tahu is clearly visible in the Ōtautahi that is currently being rebuilt.