By Pauline Stewart.
Savannah Mountney is a Whitianga girl. These days she is a mechanic for Porsche and travels the world as part of the Porsche support team for special events.
Savannah is seventh generation from the Coromandel Peninsula. She is the youngest of six siblings, three older sisters and two older brothers. This is what her sister Jodie, says about Savannah growing up.
“Savannah was, and always has been, very beautiful! She had a very outgoing, adventurous, thrill seeker, fun and bubbly personality. It was noticed early on that she had a drive and determination about her in all aspects of her life. Savannah actually surprised us all by wanting to be a mechanic, she was so beautiful and has the loveliest dainty hands and long fingers. She was always raiding her older sister’s wardrobes for high heels and handbags as a seven-year-old. She loved pretty things. She even did some modelling for local photographers.
Savannah would be the last one if you were thinking of who would become a mechanic.
But yet I do remember she liked to play with little matchbox toy cars but yeah, they were pink and purple ones. As she got into teenage years, she started loving cars especially when she could drive one herself!”
Jodie says she doesn’t recall Savannah and the family going to the race track of being particularly interested in cars, but Savannah did like to watch her older brother Arran work on his old Ford Falcons, Ford Cortinas and Ford Escorts and she liked to do burnouts and skids with him.
“I think I have always had an interest in cars’, says Savannah. “The ‘love’ for mechanics naturally followed. I didn’t really have anyone in my family to teach me but I knew I wanted to learn.”
Savannah left school once she had her NCEA Level 2. She then completed an automotive engineering certificate through Unitec, replacing what would have been her year 13. By the time her friends had finished school, Savannah was in the industry and had already started her apprenticeship.
“Initially the idea was to learn enough to do all the car basics on my own and not have to ask a boy to do it for me. But I quickly realised how much I enjoyed it,” says Savannah.
Savannah tells of her entry into Porsche. “I was given the opportunity through Unitec to apply for an apprenticeship with Continental Cars Porsche, I didn’t get it at first. They were however, willing to offer me work experience which I grabbed hold of. I am now a qualified Porsche technician.
The opportunities with a company like Porsche are endless. At 19, I was asked to fill in as a Service Advisor. Over the one and half years of doing this role, I learnt such a lot, especially the detail of how the service department works and the importance of every role for the department to run smoothly. During this time period, my apprenticeship was put on hold. I was however still able to work on cars, learning a different skill. I worked weekends as part of the pit crew during the Pirelli Porsche series racing season. To get the experience was fantastic.”
Savannah has just completed her fourth season of running with the championships, winning Porsche 997 and 996 GT3 cup cars with LG Motorsport.
We broached the subject of her experience as a young woman in what is predominantly a male world. “I have learnt respect isn’t given; it’s earned. Yes, sexism is still very much present as I’m sure it would be in most trades. I am hopeful that we can work towards normalising - seeing more woman in these roles.” I am not good at advice but I would say to other young women, ‘Go for it. Follow those interests you have. You never know where it might lead you. Don’t let anyone hold you back, including yourself.’
Our worst enemy is self-doubt. There have been countless times I’ve initially thought I couldn’t do something, then proceeded to prove myself wrong.”
Savannah is at ease saying she has struggled with things in the past that others might find easy but she has learned it goes both ways. “We all have our strengths,” smiles Savannah. “There isn’t only one way to do something; there are many, and you just need to find the one that works for you and your abilities.
I am grateful for our team at Continental cars as they’ve always been very supportive in helping me learn and grow my career.”
Savannah was keen to discuss the future. “I think about the future all the time - about that next step. Currently my focus is completing the Porsche Classic Technician certification.
It is an incredible opportunity to learn and grow my knowledge on Porsche classic vehicles.
I am very fortunate this course involves travelling to the other side of the world to carry out required training. So far, I have had the opportunity to attend training twice in Germany to learn from the very best.
“The Coromandel peninsula is a beautiful place to grow up and I’m so grateful to be able to call it home. My childhood was filled with outside adventures. I visit often as one of my family and friends live in the Whitianga and Coromandel area. But leave your home town to discover yourself and what opportunities are out there. You can always come back. When you come back, you will be able to give back more.”
Caption: Savannah Mountney hard at work as a mechanic for Porsche.