Studying a Bachelor of Nursing at EIT is not only setting Harmony Lone on a path towards a successful career, but it has reconnected her with her Samoan culture.
The 25-year-old is in her final year of the degree and was recently awarded a Pacific Health Scholarship for the third year in a row.
“It’s just been a huge relief. Like a massive financial burden off my shoulders to know that after my degree, I’m walking out of EIT with no student loan. And the times we’re living in now are so expensive, so it has helped me just focus on studying and the living costs without worrying about the debt.”
Witnessing first-hand the health complications some of her family members deal with and knowing the disparities Māori and Pasifika face made her want to become a nurse.
“I think seeing that there’s a lot of disparities and there’s a need for more Māori and Pasifika nurses as it’s our people that are suffering the most, is what motivated me. And people dear to me have diabetes as well and I knew nothing about it, so that was another motivation for me to want to do nursing.”
After graduating, she hopes to work with the Pasifika community, breaking down cultural barriers.
She has two children aged five and four-years-old, as well as her 16-year-old nephew who came into her care four years ago.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely been hard, but I think your children are your drive to want to succeed and do better and be a good example.”
She has found time management to be the key to her success so far.
“You just have to be so organized. For me, I’ve had to set aside one day in the weekend where I just do my studies, but then I still keep a day where it’s just a family day and I don’t pick up the books. So I also do try and get that balance.”
Harmony was born and raised in Hawke’s Bay. As her father died when she was young, she has only reconnected with her Samoan heritage in recent years.
Together with EIT Pacific Island Student Co-Ordinator Sharon Malaitai, they set up the Pasifika Students Association in 2020, which she is now the president of.
“As soon as it started up, the Pasifika students were excited to go to EIT every day and meet up with each other at lunch times as it gave everyone a sense of belonging. We’re just trying to help bring together other Pasifika students so that if they have any worries or queries, we can all get in behind them and help.”
She recommends anyone considering study to not only go for it, but to study at EIT.
“I just want to encourage all our other Pasifika people to do study as it can be done and it is achievable, but you just have to really want it.”