Te Ao o te MāoriSinead Foster

Oct 10, 2012

Photographs and Words nā Phil Tumataroa

A Window into the Rich Lifestyles of Contemporary Māori.


“Before we can rebuild Christchurch, we have to pull a lot of it down,” says Sinead Foster. The 21-year-old from Hokitika understands this better than most because she spends her days in the city’s CBD red zone working for a local demolition company.

Sinead is responsible for on-site health and safety at Southern Demolition – making sure the company meets health and safety practices and procedures.

“I feel like I’m doing my little bit, keeping the boys safe and helping Christchurch recover from the earthquakes.”

Sinead has spent most of the past 10 years living in Christchurch, returning to the West Coast for short stints. After high school she completed a pre-health course at Tai Poutini Polytechnic where she gained the necessary training for the job she does today.

She grew up around heavy machinery – her parents Barry and Leanne own earthmoving and gold mining operations on the Coast – so driving dump trucks and diggers is no worry and she’s happy to roll up her sleeves and mix it with the boys.

Sinead’s goal is to be a mental health nurse. Next February she begins an 18-month nursing course that will start her on the path.

For a young woman she has a rare appreciation of life – shaped by the tragic loss of more close friends and relatives than any one person should have to endure in a lifetime. She bears a tattoo of a butterfly, with the inscription ‘when the caterpillar thought its life was over it became a butterfly’ – these words help Sinead put her experiences into perspective.

“Growing up, I always said I want to change the world. I know now that I can do that by helping people, and that’s what I’m going to do.”