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Bobby Kells graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor in Civil and Environmental Engineering

UoA engineer back where his career began

Bobby Kells walked out of university and into a job, but he didn’t need to go far – he is back at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Engineering helping construct a new multi-million-dollar building in the place where he once studied.


Bobby, 27, is employed as a site engineer for Hawkins and he graduated this year from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

His job involves helping build a multi-storey dedicated engineering block that will showcase the best in engineering design and which is due for completion in late 2019.

Bobby loves his job and is passionate about the new building because it embodies the very best in engineering design and technology. “The great part of this job is that the university wanted to put engineering on display and I think this building does that in a way that is really innovative,” he says.

“The detailing and braced framing is exposed and can be clearly seen inside the building with a complex construction sequence, so it’s a great project to be involved with,” he adds.

Olympic rower

Bobby took a bit longer than usual to graduate with his degree because for years he had to fit his studies around the demands of representing New Zealand in rowing at Olympic level. He was selected as a reserve for the 2016 Olympic Games held in Brazil and rowed for New Zealand in a number of world championships and regattas.

“Every year the New Zealand team relocated to Europe to compete in various international regattas, including the world champs, so for a long time I had to cut my study down to a minimum and often sat exams while overseas,” he says.

Now that his rowing career is over, he’s grateful to have a job that he loves. “I feel really at home with this project. Some of the construction methods in the building are exactly what I was studying in my final year at university, so I’m thrilled to be involved with this project.”

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