Renee Aroha Hayes grew up in Picton with three sisters and one brother. Growing up in a big whānau she always had a caring role that eventually progressed into her passion to become a registered nurse. Leaving her whānau, friends and support networks to move to Wellington was a real challenge for her, however she hasn’t looked back!
Renee’s first job in Wellington was as a healthcare assistant, which started her on her journey to becoming a registered nurse. She is currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Nursing Māori degree at Whitireia Polytech and also works part time as a healthcare assistant. She considers herself lucky to be learning about nursing as well as reconnecting with her Māori culture. Taking the first step to begin tertiary study was daunting, however in Renee’s words “I now realize now it’s not about being the brainiest person around, it’s about being passionate and committed to what you’re doing and you can achieve anything in life”.
Renee’s main goal in life is to help others and make a difference in people’s lives. This was her motivation to become a nurse. “We need more Māori registered nurses in the workforce caring for our people, incorporating a holistic focus on health and respecting Māori tikanga, this will support our whānau, hapū and iwi with their health and wellbeing”. Another motivation for Renee in becoming a nurse was to gain an understanding of medical conditions within her whānau and know what the doctors and nurses are talking about when in their care. She also wants to be a role model for her two tamariki. Renee believes a supportive whānau is the key to success in anything we strive to achieve and considers herself very lucky to have that. “Also, the tautoko from the NRAIT grant has supported me financially. There have been some challenging times over the past three years but the financial challenges are the toughest. It’s the best day when your iwi awards you a grant or scholarship and you know everything will be ok”.
Growing up Renee was in a bilingual class at school and spoke Te Reo Māori on a daily basis. When she has completed her degree at the end of this year she plans to study Te Reo Māori again. “I plan on returning to the South Island when the time is right, with my basket full of knowledge to share with our whānau, hapū and iwi. For now, I am attending interviews for the Nurses Entry to Practice (NETP) Programme and hope to be offered a position in one of the hospitals within the Wellington region. I’m also preparing for the state finals exam in November and looking forward to my Powaewae (graduation), which my whānau will all travel to Wellington to attend. Life is good and I feel very blessed to be where I am today”.
Renee’s advice for anyone that feels lost or unsure of where their life is going, is to think about what you’re passionate about and take that next step. Whether it be study, re-connecting with whānau, your culture or maybe improving your health, think to the future. Kia kaha and do it.
“These two Whakataukī are what have guided me through my training and will remain with me as my journey continues. I look forward to what the future holds as I transition into a competent Māori Registered Nurse”.
Ahakoa nga ueue
Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui.
When you find things that are difficult in life,
Stand strong, stand tall and be of great heart.
He aroha whakatō, He aroha puta mai.
If kindness is sown, then kindness you shall receive.