Chris Huriwai, KEE Surfacing Superintendant
Gentle giant Chris ‘the-kindest-soul-you’ll-ever-meet’ Huriwai has just won an award. Our KEE man was presented with the ‘Flexible Pavements Worker of the Year’ at the AAPA WA Industry Awards.
If there was an award for the politest, most respectful, modest and self-effacing worker he would obviously win that too. If you have ever met Chris, you will know what we are talking about. No one has anything but good things to say about Chris. He even kept working with his crew whilst battling (and defeating) cancer, he truly is a rare being!
Sadly his greatest mentor and influencer was not able to see him win the award. His father John Huriwai passed away in 2016, but Chris knows he would’ve been so proud.
“I‘ve admired my dad all my life” he said,” he had a formidable work ethic and he worked for just as long and just as hard as the best of them, even in his later years.” His dad was a dominant figure in Chris’s life and he naturally followed in his father’s footsteps into the business.
The eldest of two siblings, Chris grew up in Auckland and after leaving school he began looking for work in the construction industry. Fortunately, his dad’s reputation in the business preceded him and Chris was snapped up by Abernathy Contractors. In 2008 he sought a new job opportunity for a bigger company and moved his family over to Perth to work for Boral. Keen to get promoted, Chris swiftly scaled up the ladder from Labourer to Foreman to Supervisor.
“Working on-site can be a dangerous place at times” he said, “ many years ago I witnessed a work colleague get his head crushed between a trailer and a bobcat, it was horrendous. The bobcat operator didn’t see that my colleague was unhooking the bobcat from the trailer and he had been given the thumbs up by another worker. Unbelievably he survived. It was a miracle!”
After ten solid years with Boral, Chris had to return to New Zealand to be by his mum’s side after the passing of his father and helped her with the family business Triple H Contractors. A year later he returned to Perth and fortunately for us, he joined the KEE family. “I knew Damon and Clayton before from when they were truck drivers delivering machines for Boral, and Bumpy and Coady had put my name forward so I knew a couple of people from KEE Surfacing already”.
Chris will be joining our Surfacing Manager, Bumpy Samuel, on a Voegele paving application training week in Germany next month. “We chose Chris for the training as we always encourage our KEE people to push themselves and Chris has that voracious appetite to learn and to lead.” said director, Clayton Spiers, “It is this technical training and advancement of our leaders which has helped KEE become one of Australia’s premier surfacing and profiling companies.”
Chris lives at home with his wife Jasmine, and they have two sons, Freedom, 22, Dalyn, 19, a daughter Harmony, 16, grand daughter Blair, who has just turned one, and pet dog Ali.