Kia ora tātou, my name is Vanessa Cameron and I have been invited to write a profile for Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua.

I am in my final year as an Otago Polytechnic nursing student and I am due to graduate in December with a Bachelor of Nursing degree. I feel excited after four years of intense study.

I am currently on my final placement in my chosen elective. In the last nine weeks, I have received plenty of support from the wonderful and knowledgeable team of registered nurses at the Arowhenua Whānau Services Primary Health Clinic. I am thoroughly enjoying my learning experience here alongside the great team at the King Street office.

On the whole, I have enjoyed nursing training with its many humorous and challenging moments, and most of all, the rewards that come with knowing I can be so involved in helping people in their journey towards achieving optimum health.

I have been lucky and proud to receive plenty of understanding from family, friends and my supportive partner, Lance. I am also the proud mother of our two beautiful children, Sydnie (11) and Jahanna (9), who have both adapted well to my many different shifts and hours during my various hospital placements and travels to Dunedin.

My whānau have excellent and positive attitudes, and they understood when I at times reluctantly had to leave them, but it has meant I have had to be very organised (and sometimes admittedly, not).

My future career aspirations are to continue nursing in the primary health sector. I also feel passionate about nursing with a holistic approach, treating each person as a whole, with feelings rather than just ‘a body to fix’ – that is what makes this placement very special.

I am proud to be of Māori descent and to whakapapa to Arowhenua Marae, which has made this a great personal journey of learning more of my own ancestory and returning to my whenua. I now feel a great sense of tūrangawaewae.

For now, I am feeling excited and a little nervous as I head towards my state final exam and thereafter. I can’t wait until I finally (all going well) get to don the ‘cap and gown’ at graduation. E noho ora mai, Vanessa Cameron.