Johnny’s story

John Rawhiti, Construction Worker

Longstanding Buildcorp family member with 20 years of service.

On teamwork & mentors:

Buildcorp’s come a long way since I first started in ‘98. Garry Werner was a person who taught me a lot in the early days. I didn’t know how to read plans back then, so he helped me. He would come in early and we would sit there for an hour, three to four days a week, teaching me how to do it. He was an amazing man. And when he passed away I felt that was a part of me gone because he was my mentor…that’s also where I learnt how to communicate with people.

If he saw that I was doing something wrong, he showed me a better way to do it. He would say: “Always think about what your next move is. Check what needs to be done – check that everyone is safe and that you have an exclusion area around you.”

On this project (Buildcorp’s St Vincent’s Private Hospital redevelopment), our Supervisors and Project Managers get us involved in the meetings which is good. I feel that we feel a part of the team and we are all working together.

They tell us what’s happening for our next stages and what the next trade is going to be. They explain to you the plans, how each room is going to be set-up, how we are doing it and why.

You need a good team and teamwork. We’ve all got to play the game as a team.

Adam Jessup and Johnny on site at St Vincent’s Private Hospital

On family & work:

When I had my cancer operations I said: “I work at St Vincent’s and I would like to have my treatments done there”. I‘ve worked here for so long and I know the nurses and they know me. And my wife as well – she also had cancer. When my wife opted to have her operation here in 2016, she said “I knew you’d have to come and visit me!”

Thankfully we’ve both dodged a bullet so far. Losing her would have been a big loss not only for myself but for my family, we have 15 grandchildren. I try and teach my grandchildren. If I can show them that loving and caring for other people is the norm, then they will do the same.

Our family’s most memorable place here is the St Vincent’s Hospital Chapel. I had 25 of my family members visit me here when I went in for my operation. The hospital staff took one look and said: “The Chapel is the only place you’re going to fit!” My sister, who has now passed away, did a service for us at the Chapel. My grandkids brought this up at her funeral – they call her Nanna Date – they remember her giving a service before my operation.

The other day my granddaughter and daughter came for lunch and I introduced them to some of the regular patients who said: ‘Work’s not everything, it’s about family, Johnny.” And I laughed because I know!

Johnny and wife Davina

About helping others:

I sometimes see homeless and mental health patients after their treatments, and I have a chat. We don’t know what they are going through, some don’t have family and just need someone to listen or sometimes I give them a hug if they need it.

Mental health is a big issue for my family and that’s why I like to help people. My son in law passed away in 2018 from suicide. It’s amazing how people can look good from the outside and it’s the inside that’s hurting. But if I see someone hurting, I say ‘What’s wrong bro? Let’s go for a walk’. Checking is the best thing you can do, don’t ever hang up on someone.

Last year we had a site BBQ to talk about mental health. I stood up after it and I mentioned my son in law. I just wanted to stand up and tell them what we were going through at that time, with the grieving, to send a message that if anyone needs help, we’re here for them. I had a lot of people coming up to talk to me afterwards. 

People just need loving. We are not around for very long. You have to treasure what you have.

Thank you to Johnny and Davina for being part of the Buildcorp family for 20 years. 

Photography by Daniel Kukec Photography.

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