Levin's Solway Street was the stomping ground of New Zealand's newest CEO, Justine Tupara of J T Property Wash in Lower Hutt, a multi-million dollar business operating around the country.

Justine, still in her mid 30s, attended Taitoko School, Te Kuta Kaupapa Maori o nga Waipupu o Punahau based at Kawiu Marae, as well as Horowhenua College.

"I had really good role models. My parents and grandparents have had businesses in Levin and my mum is a super star."

Growing up around Solway Street she said the biggest problem was she didn't really know what she wanted to do with her life. She became a mum at 17 and studied for a diploma in travel in Palmerston North.

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"I had an amazing family network. My mum is so accomplished. She's owned businesses, was a midwife and has a PhD in bio-ethics."

It wasn't until she was in her mid-20s that she found her niche. "My parents also cut me loose and said it was time I found my own way." She did a business degree at Massey University but discovered that that wouldn't do it for her.

"I soon found I had a head for business and that I enjoyed the processes and the analytical side of figuring out things. I graduated full of hope only to find out that my degree was meaningless. I couldn't get a job."

She moved to Wellington and eventually got a job at a call centre. "From there I had to work my way up. Eventually someone saw potential and asked me to join a team as their project administrator.

One day she became the project manager, then operations manager. Almost six years ago she found JT Property Wash where she was also operations manager. JT Property may be a multi-million dollar business but it is still family-run and has a small office.

"My immediate boss was the managing director," says Justine. Two years ago Justine had time off for another baby and used that time to reassess her life.

"When I returned to work I said I wanted to progress my career. I had done for them what I could and with your immediate boss being the owner of the business there wasn't anywhere to go. The boss reluctantly agreed, but within a month or two called her into his office and said: "would you like to run my company?"

Ray Tomlinson started JTPW in 1985, alongside his father Joe. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength. Ray knew it was time for a change in leadership. "Justine is the perfect person to take our family's company to the next level.

"For the past five years, she has implemented world-class systems and processes which have been key to our recent growth and preparation for the future. She brings fresh ideas while fully promoting family values within our staff, and in the service we provide to our loyal customers."

Justine can't wait to lead the company she's thrived in. "I am honoured to have been appointed as CEO. I have grown a lot here at JT Property Wash, thanks to unwavering support from my directors Ray and Joe.

"They have always encouraged my personal development, supported my ideas and made me feel like an integral part of the business. I believe inclusive workplaces like ours really let people thrive."

JT Property Wash operates nationwide, and are experts in commercial building washing, abseiling, and moss and mould control. The decision to promote Justine aligns with JT Property Wash's positioning as industry leaders - in both Health and Safety and technology.

They made headlines in 2016, by launching the world's first automated building wash machine, to enhance safety at work and protect the environment.
Justine is of Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngai Te Rangi and Ngai Tamanuhiri descent and has always had the ambition to run a large company.

"I became a mum quite young, which for a lot of people, instantly spelled the end of all of my career goals. I was determined not to let statistics and prejudice define the direction of my life. In part, that's down to the hugely positive influences of my mum and dad.

"I believe that you are a product of your environment and I had a fantastic one. I get my drive to succeed from my mum and aim to be as successful as she is both personally and professionally. I worked hard to get where I am today and will continue to do so in my new role."

"I want to be for my kids what my mum was for me. I would not have come this far without mum's support."

Justine may have left town at age 17, she regularly returns home to see her family.