A contractor bride’s report

Kylie Wech, the CCNZ Northern Branch Chair, was married last month and the ceremony was held in a local Whangarei quarry where, wearing steel cap boots, she was driven to the ‘excavator alter’ by her father in a wheel loader.

“When I was a young girl, my Dad worked from before sun up to after sun down on his D8 bulldozer – no cabs, no aircon, not even sun protection until he made himself a permanent cover.

“I would jump at the chance to sit on the side control cover. Again, no aircon, or much to hold onto, just my enjoyment of spending time with Dad.

“Over the years I had no idea what I wanted to do. I tried different things and even gave hair dressing a go, along with working in a rest home for a few years.

“I then got offered an opportunity to do work experience in a construction office. I used to call in for coffee at this office when I knew they would be having ‘smoko’.

“On one occasion a couple of blokes were in the lunch room and it turned out they were a visiting regional manager and an accountant, and they offered me a job opportunity down in Auckland.

“I had never driven over the harbour bridge, but what did I have to lose – nothing. I went from doing the canteen dishes, to reception, and then to accounts payable. Further opportunities kept opening up and I progressed through different opportunities with different companies.

“I have been office manager, plant administrator, contract admin, stakeholder management, project engineer, finance management, network controller, and contract manager, and helping the local branch of the CCNZ with events, including awards nights and digger competitions, until I became part of the branch executive team.

“I ran for Vice Chair against some stiff competition and was voted in. I am currently a Project Manager, Chair of CCNZ Northland, and also sit on the Regional Skills Leadership group for Northland.

“I always said I would never get married (hell would freeze over first). I meet my match years ago, but Ryan and I were only ever friends that drifted apart to meet up again many years later.

“A few years later he dropped on one knee, and there was no other answer than yes, but only if my Dad can drive me to the alter in a machine and we tie the knot in a quarry. And not just any quarry, but one that has a special place in my heart – Clements’, Western Hills Quarry.

“This place is just magic and has the most amazing views over Whangarei, and the best ‘toys’. When I asked Murray Clements if we could our hold a wedding in this quarry, he looked puzzled.

“Then he said, ‘Yeah, I’m sure we can make that happen.’ And what happened was nothing short of spectacular.

“A few weeks before the wedding we went for a ride through the quarry to find the right spot, while I had my heart set on the clean fill site.

“In torrential rain, there were a few issues clearing a suitable spot for the event. One helper sunk into a soft spot while removing some vegetation. But, with some good old fashion contractor determination, I became a wife to my best mate at the most magic spot in Northland, if not the country, and there is nothing I would change for the best day of my life.”

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