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Zed's Story

I was born in Donji Milanovac, a small town on the right bank of the river Danube in Serbia (the former Yugoslavia). My family owned a building company, so building has always been part of my life. I visited my father on building sites at every opportunity, and I loved to see how a house changed in its shape and form as work progressed.

While my father and his team were busy building houses I would play nearby, dreaming of one day becoming a builder too. I remember saying this to my father and he always encouraged me to do so. At the age of 15, I joined our family business as an intern, learning from old-school builders. I was taught the finer aspects of the building trade, which put me on the road to where I am today.
I married my lovely Nena when I was 22. Our family grew quickly to a point where the house we were living in was no longer big enough. To remedy this, my father appointed me as project manager for the house renovation and extension. It turned out to be both a challenging and rewarding experience. During the renovation of our home, I was put in charge of the family business alongside my father. Unfortunately, because of the war, this didn’t last long. The war was not in our immediate vicinity, but we could feel the effects of a far reaching and unpleasant conflict.
 
With the birth of our son, Nena and I decided to relocate, sadly leaving behind everything we loved. However, we didn’t see this as defeat. It was an amazing opportunity. We moved to a city called Vicenza in Italy. It is a wonderful place with a rich history and  culture – full of gorgeous buildings, museums, art galleries, piazzas and villas. I fell in love with it!

By this stage, I had hands on experience and an excellent knowledge of the building trade. What I really wanted, however, was to work on the beautiful historic buildings of Vicenza. Before long I was offered a job with a company that specialises in the restoration, renovation and conservation of Venetian and Palladian villas. This was to be the most rewarding experience of my career to date.

During this period, I really started to appreciate the value and character of these amazing structures. I learned how to preserve them and the importance of being extremely accurate, as there was no room for error. My skills, experience and knowledge grew.
 
An opportunity arose to be one of a very small number of builders who were handpicked for an important project; we were entrusted with the task of working on buildings that were on the UNESCO World Heritage list. This was a rare privilege that I embraced with all my energy.
It wasn’t long before I was ready to open my own building company in Italy. Working on my own, my days were focused on making historical buildings great to live in. Renovation, conservation and the preservation of villas is something that really inspires me. It also inspires Nena, so she started assisting me with the administration side of the business.
 
While I enjoyed what I was doing, life presented me with another blessing – my daughter Laura. My life was fulfilled; I was doing the job I loved with the utmost support of my wife Nena. My son Lazar was growing up fast and our newborn daughter was bringing extra joy into our lives.
 
New Zealand is a country that has always interested me. For several years I had wished to visit and finally in 2011 my wish came true. I arrived as a visitor with plans to travel across the country. The beautiful nature and friendliness of the people impressed me so much that I did not want to leave.

I shared my thoughts with Nena. After some serious consideration, we decided moving to New Zealand was the right thing to do. I had arrived in New Zealand as a tourist and never left. We settled in Auckland and I started working for a local building company.

During my time working as a builder in Auckland, I heard many horror stories from people who had extremely bad experiences with builders. I knew I could do better! With my years of experience and expertise, I could make the building process for customers in Auckland a much more enjoyable experience, rather than a nightmare.

A serious building company requires solid foundations, so I started building it. It began with my own proprietary business and in 2015, when the foundations were ready, I converted it into the company I run today – Artbuild Limited. The goal from the start has been to go the extra mile for our customers, to ensure the service we provide is extremely high and that our product is always top-end. 

Believe it or not, my life isn’t all about building and family. During my teenage years, I also developed an enthusiasm for cars. Not just driving them, but building and modifying them. This passion has gained strength over the years. I have met people in Auckland who share the same passion as me. I am now able to build a car and then take it through certification to make it road legal. You may well ask: “So what car did you build?” Well, New Zealand is known for its stunning beaches, so a beach buggy was the perfect choice!

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