Cam Devine’s Napier-based company, Devine Plumbing, has won a major award. Photo / Warren Buckland
When Cyclone hit Gabrielle, Napier plumber Cam Devine dug deep into the pocket.
He continued to pay his staff in the weeks that followed, but encouraged them to go and help with the cyclone response wherever they could.
Its based in Napier
Devine Plumbing, which employs 25 people, volunteered 20 days after the cyclone to clear people’s homes and properties, using their backhoes and trucks to do the clean-up.
Devine Plumbing has now been named NZ Master Plumber of the Year 2023 – the top honor presented at the New Zealand Plumbing Awards in Christchurch on Friday.
The jurors cited the company’s excellent work after the cyclone as the reason for winning the top gong.
In a doubles for Hawke’s Bay, Tyson Kihi (by Advanced Plumbing HB in Hastings) won the highest national apprentice award, the James Douglas Medallion.
Devine said he was proud to accept the award on behalf of the company and that he just wanted to help after the cyclone.
“I just thought it was the right thing to do but boy was I proud of my team,” he said.
Advertise with NZME.Cam Devine, owner of Devine Plumbing, on one of the dredgers that proved to be of great help in responding to the cyclone. Photo / Warren Buckland
“We’ve got the diggers and trucks and stuff to help, so we figured that instead of sitting around doing nothing, we might as well jump in and help as many people as we can.
“So we took 20 days off, basically starting this Tuesday [when the cyclone hit Hawke’s Bay in February]and I said to the guys I will pay you everything but you have to come to work and we will go and help as many people as possible.”
Devine, 35, was born and raised in Hawke’s Bay and founded Devine Plumbing with his now-retired father, Mike, a decade ago.
It has grown from three employees to a team of 25 and has a solid reputation in Hawke’s Bay.
Devine said he was speechless when his company was announced as the top honor winner.
“A lot of hard work over the past 10 years has brought us to where we are now, but basically my whole business is run by the people who work there, I have great employees and great support around me.”
Special thanks to his wife Marikki (also a qualified plumber) and father for getting him into the trade from a young age.
TV show led to apprentices entering the industry
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Hawke’s Bay plumber Tyson Kihi won the industry’s top national apprentice award, the James Douglas Medallion, at the New Zealand Plumbing Awards.
Kihi came relatively late to a plumbing career at the age of 29, having spent the last 11 years as a freezer worker.
Watching a TV news story about the desperate shortage of qualified plumbers was his turning point. He wanted a new career path that would provide a secure future for his partner and her growing family.
Kihi, who works for Advanced Plumbing HB (based in Hastings), is now at the end of his training and leading the company’s teams in restoring services to damaged buildings following Cyclone Gabrielle.
After the cyclone, Kihi spent much of his time helping with the cleanup where he could.