06 June 2016

Engineering Insight: Finding Shamus

Finding Shamus

On 1 April – April Fools’ Day – Air New Zealand invited Aucklanders to climb aboard a bus to Hawaii. Shamus Jenner, a second year civil and environmental engineering student at the University of Auckland and Student Member, said yes – before hopping back off the bus to make his 9am lecture. Air New Zealand ran a national social media campaign to track him down as the unsung hero of the day.

Why did you decide to study engineering?

I always wanted to study engineering and for many years I wanted to be a mechanical engineer – but in reality I had no idea what mechanical engineers do! I’ve always been an avid environmentalist and so naturally I wanted to mix this with my passion for engineering. I realised I felt a strong call towards civil and environmental engineering. I believe I can help create harmony between modern society and the natural environment through the smart design and building of our world, as well as looking after earth’s most precious resources, like water, through engineering.

I’m looking forward to working as an engineer in New Zealand, and to the opportunities it could bring to travel the world. After graduation, I plan to take some time to travel to some exciting places before I knuckle down to work. I have always wanted to go to India, Nepal, Latin America, Africa and the two beautiful European countries, Spain and Greece.

Why did you become an IPENZ Student Member?

I found out about IPENZ through university. I think you’re a well presented and organised group. You represent the voices of New Zealand’s engineers. I think that’s very important and I wanted to be a part of it.

Tell us about the bus to Hawaii.

It all happened so fast. I had to be at a lab in 15 minutes but as soon as I saw [comedian Ben Hurley] get out of the bus, inviting people to Hawaii, I knew I had to get on. Ben was definitely funny, just as good in person as he is on air. It’s good to live on the lighter side of life; but I have worked incredibly hard to get to where I am and my degree is my priority for the next few years. It means everything to me and I will never waste this magnificent opportunity I have been given. So, it was an easy choice to get back off the bus.

How did you find out the Air New Zealand team were looking for you?

Air New Zealand had posted their video – #findingshamus – which asked about me; whether I made it to class, where I was from, if I passed my course and what my favourite food was. When I got home from uni at about 8.30pm, I got a Facebook message from a girl who had seen the video and tracked me down. Subsequently, I got a million notifications from my friends, who had tagged me in the video. I spent some time talking to people, answering the questions on Facebook and shared that feijoas were my favourite food. A few days later, the team at Air New Zealand managed to get hold of my timetable and surprised me in my lecture with a bag of feijoas – and a ticket to Hawaii.

When are you planning to go to Hawaii?

I’m going to go around June or July during the inter-semester break and may even celebrate my birthday there. In the meantime, I’m trying to muster a few friends to go with me to keep me out of trouble!

How were the feijoas?

They were the best feijoas I have ever tasted. I only had one as I gave the rest out to the class and even one to my lecturer. I didn’t hear any complaints.

Watch Air New Zealand’s #findingshamus videos

This article featured in our June/July issue of Engineering Insight, delivered to IPENZ Members. Not a member? Learn about the benefits of becoming one