Real EAs of Wellington: Episode Six – Kim Te Whaiti

Business Support

It’s a new week, which means it’s time to check in with another one of our fabulous Executive Assistants.  This week I talked to the wonderful Kim Te Whaiti.

Kim, tell us about your pathway to becoming an Executive Assistant (EA).

Fresh out of high school, I wasn’t sure what career path I wanted to take. I debated whether to study straight away or try a few things out.  I decided to register with a temping agency for general administrative work, and ended up temping for several years.  It was a great way to try out different roles and different organisations, and to learn new skills,  as every assignment was a new challenge.  Other than a couple of years of study and a stint as an Advisor, I kept returning to EA work and decided it was the path I wanted to stick with.


Tell me about your funniest or most embarrassing moment as an EA?

Top of the list would be my first week at one job when I didn’t realise my dress was tucked into my tights and my boss had to subtly let me know before I walked through the office!

What’s been  the biggest challenge in your career?

The earthquake last year came with some huge challenges. Our building wasn’t safe to return to at the time due to damage, so returning to the city and finding and adapting to new ways of working quickly was quite tough at first.

Who do you admire and why?

Christine Caine, the Founder of A21, an organisation working to fight human trafficking and slavery including providing aftercare for the people they rescue.

If you could do any other job in the world, what would it be?

I have a small business making and selling jewellery, and being able to do that full time would be pretty amazing.

If you could rewind 10 years and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to speak up. I used to be fairly quiet at work. While over the years I’ve gained the confidence to speak up, at first it was a challenge!

What’s the best piece of advice that’s helped you in your career?

Learn from others. I find that in administration and support work, people have so many different ways of doing things and some approaches work better than others.  If you see someone doing something that works well, ask them about it.  People have a wealth of knowledge that more often than not they are willing to share.

What’s your favourite piece of work wardrobe?

Shoes! in particular heels for the summer and boots for the winter.  I have quite the shoe collection which sadly is gathering dust in the wardrobe at the moment as I have an injured foot and I’m stuck in sneakers, even at work!  Sneakers with corporate wear is not such a good look.

Where is the best place in Wellington to get a coffee or a drink?

We are very spoiled for choice in Wellington, but my favourite coffee would be the coconut milk flat white at La Cloche on Featherston Street, and my favourite spot for coffee is sitting at Maranui watching the planes take off and land.

If you were not living in Wellington – where would you be and why?

Orange County in the US.  It’s my favourite holiday spot and I could easily live there!  Shopping, beaches, Disneyland, what’s not to love?