Pub chat leads to career and a top award

Back on the work site, Veronika Kreitner, of Wanaka, takes time to reflect on winning Young...
Back on the work site, Veronika Kreitner, of Wanaka, takes time to reflect on winning Young Plumber of the Year 2021. PHOTO: MARJORIE COOK
The first woman in New Zealand to win the young plumber of the year award got her start in the industry after a chat in the pub.

Veronika Kreitner, of Wanaka, was crowned Young Plumber of the Year 2021 at an event in Hamilton last weekend, winning a cache of tools and accessories.

Selected as a wildcard entrant, Ms Kreitner is the first woman to have won the event since it began in 2017.

Ten young plumbers represented their regions in a competition of written theory and practical tests, including a four-hour installation of a bathroom kit, including shower, hot water cylinder, toilet and hand basin.

She did not expect to win and was just along for the experience.

"It is pretty insane still. I can’t really believe it yet, what is all happening. It is a cool achievement for my career," she said.

She got into plumbing through a friend, she said.

"We were hanging out at the pub as you do and she mentioned to me that her partner and his firm were looking for another apprentice.

"I decided to change my careers anyway and thought plumbing was a good idea. Don’t really know why. I just wanted something interesting, something you could try out."

Ms Kreitner grew up in Munich, Germany and has spent the past 10 years in Wanaka.

She worked in cafes, made coffees and drove milk trucks before taking on her apprenticeship with Craig Guy of Guy Plumbing & Gas about three years ago.

She credited Mr Guy for her success.

"I’ve been taught to be really particular with each job that I do and to always be very organised. This win is a testament proving that being meticulous with each task really does pay off."

Mr Guy was delighted for his employee.

It was easy to teach Ms Kreitner because she cared about her work and was motivated to learn, he said.

Ms Kreitner said plumbing was providing her with plenty of avenues for growth and development.

Plumbing World general manager Rob Kidd, of Auckland, said it was incredible to celebrate Ms Kreitner’s achievement as the first woman to win the event.

He was impressed by the quality of young plumbers who had participated over the past four years.

The competition aimed to recognise talent in the trade and encourage other young New Zealand to consider a career in plumbing, he said.

The competition recognises excellence among young plumbers aged 31 and under.

The total prize pool was worth $55,000.

 

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