Camille Aroha Harris

Camille Aroha Harris

Community Caseloading Midwife
Bachelor of Health Science (Midwifery)

Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi

She loves seeing families thrive, says AUT health sciences alumna Camille Aroha Harris who is now working as a self-employed midwife.

“What I love most about being a midwife is working with and for the health and wellbeing of my people. My degree is the tohu I needed to be able to work with whānau, and help to guide mama through haputanga and for dads to be involved in the birth.

“My studies at AUT helped me achieve my goal of having a wider reach to whānau and influencing healthier outcomes.”

A dream come true
Becoming a midwife had been a long-time dream for Camille who came to AUT after a successful career as a hairdresser.

“I waited 20 odd years to do this degree, and the time felt right once I saw there was a university in South Auckland. I had been a hairdresser for 27 years, including being self-employed for 18 years and owning my own salon for 11 of these years.

“The biggest skills I developed throughout my hairdressing career would be communication and empathy as people share their lives. These are also crucial skills for a career in midwifery and working with women and whānau.”

She has always wanted to study and work with her community, Camille says.

“The fact that I could study at the AUT South Campus in South Auckland represents equality and accessibility. More of my people now have the opportunity to become educated and gain qualifications to enhance their own lives, and our children can grow up seeing opportunity and hope.”

Making connections
The friendships she made with her lecturers and other students were among the highlights of Camille’s studies.

“For me, the AUT South Campus was a more fitting size and culturally rich, which made my experience of AUT even more enjoyable. I also worked really successfully as a tuakana, providing support for other students.”

She treasures the connections she made with the wider Māori midwifery community, says Camille whose studies were supported by a Pu Ora Matatini Scholarship.

“During one of my first-year papers, Māori Health and Environment, the Māori midwife who was the lecturer at the time was hugely inspiring. She further ignited the fire in my belly to work with my people and see them thrive, and showed me the meaning of mana and Te Whare Tapa Wha, and the need for all four pou to be in place for one’s health and wellbeing. These were some of the richest and most amazing connections I made through AUT.”