Aroha Te Rangihau Ruha-Hiraka, Bachelor of Health Sciences, Nursing
Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa
Aroha Ruha-Hiraka, the 2018 joint winner of the Young Nurse of the Year Award, at the annual NZ Nursing awards successfully combined full-time study, part-time work and being a mother to her now two-year-old daughter and still graduated at the end of last year alongside her fellow classmates who made up the first cohort of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi kaupapa Māori nursing degree.
A Kura kaupapa Māori student she grew up with a passion for Te Reo Māori me ona tikanga; a commitment she says that is lifelong.
Not knowing what she wanted to do when she left school Aroha completed a certificate in Travel and Tourism. After a couple of years and with the encouragement of her mother, herself a registered nurse, Aroha began her nursing journey at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.
Everyone needs a little help and she found Kia Ora Hauora knowledge of scholarships invaluable.
Ruha-Hiraka now works as a practice nurse at Kawerau Medical Centre, where she had also worked part-time as a healthcare assistant throughout her three-year degree. The majority of the centre’s patients are Māori. Aroha uses her passion for improving the health status of Māori through prevention and education, and her work as the centre’s smoking cessation champion with the COPD management programme.
“My ultimate ambition is to someday become a doctor, to work in rural areas as a General Practitioner”.