Masterlink apprentice Sebastian Sekene talks about his latest plumbing project, his family, and moving into a new home.

With the apartment project finished, what are you working on now?

It’s another apartment block remedial, about 16 storeys high. The whole building is under wrap and scaffold and everyone has moved out. We started by isolating the water to all the units and turning it on again to make sure fixtures like showers and toilets weren’t leaking.

Now I’m starting on a new accessible bathroom in the ground-floor lobby. At the moment, I’m working in the basement, feeding the waste pipes up through the concrete slab and putting the new water feeds through.

There’s a section in the Building Code on accessible bathrooms and there are very specific things you have to follow, like how far the basin must be from the toilet to allow for a wheelchair. The basin must also be at a certain height to allow for a wheelchair user to be able to reach the tap and not bump into anything underneath.

What’s been happening outside of work?

I moved out of my family’s home in Manurewa last October. I’ve signed a rental on a flat 15 minutes’ drive away in Papakura with my partner Darlene, and we’ve been busy buying furniture and stuff to put in it. When I did my first weekly shop after moving out of home, I thought I was going to go broke. All the things you have to buy, like toothpaste and washing powder!

What’s your daily routine?

We go to work, come home, cook dinner, then rinse and repeat. Four days a week, we go and work out at the gym. I’m trying to be healthy. During lockdown I put on a bit of weight without noticing. Too much staying home and eating takeaways. It was fun at the time!

Sebastian Gym Photo
Four days a week, Sebastian and his partner Darlene head to the gym for a workout.

Do you have any siblings still at home?

My older sister lives there with my mum. I have two other sisters in Australia, a brother in Cambridge, and another brother in Swanson, about a 15 minute drive from the Heron Plumbing workshop. I’m the youngest of the pack!

Do you see much of them?

If I’m at the workshop, I try to see my brother after work. We do a workout and then I’ll have dinner with his family before coming home. I try to see my mum and sister at weekends but it’s been so busy recently with the move!

Have you always lived in Auckland?

I’m half Niuean and half Samoan. My mum moved to New Zealand when she was 18. Most of my family live here but I have some distant cousins over there. I’ve been to Niue three times—the first time when I was seven and the last time when I was 11. I got to see where Nanna and Granddad used to live back in the day. We went over to Niue for funerals at the time but it’s beautiful and I’d like to go back for a holiday someday.

Sebastian Sekene is a 22-year-old Masterlink fourth-year plumbing, drainlaying and gasfitting apprentice, hosted by Heron Plumbing in Auckland. He currently works in the commercial division of the business.

This article first appeared in NZ Plumber magazine Apr-May 2023