Jay Va'ai

My advice for potential postgraduate students is to be clear about the aim of your thesis early, focus and most importantly, learn to network.

Jay Va'ai
Jay Va'ai

My name is Jay Va’ai and I am from the village of Siusega in Upolu, Samoa. I am of Samoan and German descent and the youngest of four siblings. While attending high school in Samoa I enjoyed studying art and technology, and was introduced to Computer Aided Design (CAD) for Architecture. I decided to study at Victoria University of Wellington because I knew these subjects were available. I was also influenced by my parents who are past students of the University.

I completed a Bachelor of Building Science specialising in project management. At postgraduate level, I specialised in simulation technology for construction and architecture.

I am currently working for Fletcher Construction which is a subsidiary of Fletcher Building, and currently the largest company in New Zealand. I will be providing specialised technical services by producing 3-dimensional visual models for some of the companies’ large infrastructure projects. I essentially got this job because of the 3D model application for smartphones and tablets that I developed while studying towards a Master of Building Science degree.

In 2013, I received the Helen Tippet Award, which is funded by The New Zealand Institute of Building. Then, earlier this year, I was selected to present at an architectural conference in Kyoto, Japan that discussed the latest forms of CAD research, with my research attracting interest from academics and industry leaders from all around the world.

My advice for potential postgraduate students wanting to further their studies in Architecture and Building Science is to be clear about the aim of your thesis early on so you have plenty of time to focus on writing and most importantly, learn to network. This was a tough one for me because English is my second language and I had to do a lot of reading on how to have effective conversations and make valuable connections. It has paid off because the job offers I have received are through people I have connected with and met in person.

In my spare time I like to practice the art of judo. In 2011, I was part of the Samoan Judo team that competed at the Pacific Games in New Caledonia. I won a bronze medal for Samoa, which was a highlight for me.