At age 26, Hayden Findlay has done more than most. He has established his own Auckland business Eco Plumbing & Gas Ltd, which does mostly residential plumbing and gas-fitting but occasionally light commercial, and underfloor heating; and is now heading south.

Still in transition to Wanaka, he says he is commuting a bit between his new base and Auckland while finishing jobs, then everything will be done out of Wanaka.

He won Young Plumber of the Year Award which is a great initiative started and run by Plumbing World, set to encourage competitiveness and self confidence in the trade with the end goal to try and convince more young people to get into the vocation.

I asked Hayden what makes Eco Plumbing unique. He says his company provides a personalised service with an emphasis on communication, economy, ecofriendliness and streamlined processes.

I put a few more questions to Hayden, the following are his responses…

What’s the best thing about your job and owning your own company?

Completing a job from beginning to end getting to see the progress on the way from nothing to a fully functioning system and happy customers. Flexibility has to be one of the greatest aspects about owning your own business.

After being in Auckland, why the sudden move to Wanaka?

A lifestyle change as I love hiking, skiing and less traffic. I don’t know how long it will stay like that for though as the town is growing fast!

Winter work in Wanaka must be a challenge?

I’ve done a few jobs here now, and fortunately I haven’t had to work in the snow but there have been some pretty cold days on site. You just have to keep moving. As soon as you stop and get cold, it’s hard to get warm again. On the up side I don’t need to worry about my lunch going off in the heat!

Wanaka offers some amazing snow – what is your is your weapon of choice between snowboarding and skiing?



‘Cos it goes faster. I started at two years- old. Mum had to lie about my age to get me into ski school lessons and I have been going downhill since then.

Where do you ski the most?

Cardona Alpine Resort – always a good set up and friendly staff. As the saying goes there are no friends and no tools on a powder day. How often do you drop the tools on a powder day?

About Wanaka

Wanaka, a resort town on New Zealand’s South Island, is set on the southern end of its namesake lake with views of snowcapped mountains. It’s the gateway to the Southern Alps’ Mount Aspiring National Park, a wilderness of glaciers, beech forests and alpine lakes.

Any overseas skiing trips?

Yeah, we went to Japan for two weeks at the start of 2017 it was amazing – great food, epic skiing and the people were some of the nicest I’ve meet. Hoping to get back there early next year and maybe Colorado/ Canada.
You are also a keen free diver – who do you dive with most? I go out with a few good mates of mine. Alex Muir runs his own plumbing company Diverse Plumbing in Auckland and Andrew Bruce, another plumber, who is currently living in Canada.

Any specific places?

We are spoilt for choice in the Hauraki Gulf, but Great Barrier and the Mokes are always stunning dives.

Why free diving?

Free diving as there’s less equipment and set-up cost.

Biggest fish shot?

A 20lb snapper at Little Barrier – that was a great day for me but awful for my mates!

Best placed dived?

I’ve had some really stunning dives late summer at the Hen and Chicken Islands with some amazing visibility, and plenty of scenery and fish to look at.

Worst mistake?

Forgetting lunch, you get so hungry after a dive.

Wanaka is not renowned as the spearfishing capital of New Zealand – how you going to deal with that – the lakes are cold even in summer!

I used to windsurf so I might pick that back up, and also might try my hand at fly fishing. Fiordland has been on
the bucket list for a while so I will be keen to check that out, but I will have to schedule in some long weekends up north.


Biggest achievement to date?

Becoming a certified plumber/ gas-fitter – I wouldn’t be where I am without it.

If older Hayden could give younger Hayden some advice what would that be?

Time is precious so use it wisely and efficiently.

Most useful thing you have ever bought under $100?

A towel poncho – great for getting changed after diving.

If you had your own billboard to influence people – what would it say?

Get up early you can sleep when you’re dead.

Finally, what does the future hold?

The plan for the next 5 – 10 years is lots more adventure, continuing to learn and develop myself in all aspects of life, and working smarter not harder so eventually I don’t have to work at all.

Article by: Steve Dickinson