When Ngahuia Harris decided to reboot her career, she was a young mum with a safe administration job in her father’s company. Yet, she was brave to trust her gut feeling and pursue her dream job.
Of Ngāti Kahungunu descent, Ngahuia first started to study a Diploma in Applied Business at EIT while she continued working in the family business. She thought that having this qualification would future-proof her career.
At that time, Ngahuia gave birth to her son. She managed to fit her studies around his needs, and finished the last course when he was 16 months old. Deep inside however, she knew that office work wasn’t her cup of ideal career. “I wanted to do something that was more in line with my creative personality.”
Ngahuia had always found pleasure in styling and cutting her family’s hair as well as experimenting with colours. She took the plunge and enrolled in a New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing (Emerging Stylist, Level 4).
“There were so many things I really loved during my time at EIT,” Ngahuia says. “I liked working at EIT’s salon Elite, the interaction with people and getting a feel for the industry. My peers were awesome to be around and I particularly enjoyed the in-house competitions and the live fashion shows.”
Ngahuia was a straight-A student. She won an EIT Hawke’s Bay Top Student Trades Award in May and Te Ara o Tākitimu Te Tohu Amorangi / Top Student Award for 2018. Ngahuia also became a member of the leadership group within Te Ara o Tākitimu Trades Training programme.
Within a few days of finishing her hairdressing certificate at EIT, she started to work as a hair stylist with Vivo Hair and Beauty in Havelock North. Vivo is the biggest hair salon business in New Zealand with 87 salons across the country.
Her manager Amy Roberts was delighted to welcome a high achiever like Ngahuia to her team. “Ngahuia is creative, passionate and diligent and that’s what makes a good hairdresser.”
Amy is an EIT graduate herself and has only had good experience with hairdressers coming from EIT. “They are trained extremely well and can easily transition into a third year apprenticeship. There are plenty of jobs out there for them.”
Working long hours, evenings and Saturdays is not always easy but Ngahuia has learned to cope with it. “I definitely don’t wear high heels, and stretching works wonders” she smiles. “In the evening I put my legs up and enjoy having my family around.”
“The best thing about my job is that I can change the way someone looks and feels. I simply love to see these transformations.”