NorthTec student wins Māori accounting scholarship

13 July 2016

NorthTec student wins Māori accounting scholarship

A NorthTec business student has received a prestigious accounting scholarship after being named as a top performer at a Māori industry conference.

Zoe Edmonds received the Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa Suzanne Spencer Memorial Scholarship at the hui held by the Ngā Kaitātau Māori o Aotearoa (National Māori Accountants Network - NKMoA) in Waitangi last weekend (8 and 9 July).

The scholarship, awarded by Chartered Accountants ANZ and worth $6,000, is awarded to a student of Māori descent with top grades and a strong focus on the community.

Zoe, who lives in Kerikeri and is currently in her second year studying for a Bachelor of Applied Management, has Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Kahu descent via her grandparents. She was supported at the conference by a group of Māori business students from NorthTec.

The award was presented by Kirsten Patterson, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) NZ Country Head.

Zoe did not initially set out to study accounting, having qualified as a chef after leaving school and spending four years working at award-winning Kerikeri restaurant, Food at Wharepuke. But when she and her partner separated, Edmonds knew she needed a career that didn’t involve working evenings and weekends and where she could provide financial stability for her children.

She’d always enjoyed maths at school - “I was always the banker in Monopoly” - and so signed on for a management degree at NorthTec, majoring in accounting. The subject wasn’t at all what she was expecting, she said: “When I thought about accounting, I thought about bookkeeping - doing someone’s accounts. But it’s so much more than that. I didn’t realise there were so many areas you could go.

“With an accounting qualification I can do anything from running my own business, to auditing, and from management, to consulting. Or I could specialise in an area, like taxation. I can work in any organisation I want, and if I want to travel later on, there are all these opportunities.”

Zoe said when she was at school she always imagined herself doing something creative, like music, and was interested when she found that studying accounting could lead to opportunities to work with some innovative, creative organisations in the future.

Having signed up for a role as a Chartered Accountants ANZ Student Brand Champion, she has been trying to convince high school students to move to tertiary education, and give business and accounting a try. She said: “When I’m talking to students, I start by asking them what they think about accounting - and they talk about the boring old guy behind a counter crunching numbers.

“So I try to broaden their perspectives, presenting the opportunities. Like I show them a YouTube clip of Saimon Lomaloma, a Chartered Accountant who runs Jetboards NZ, a Queenstown-based extreme watersports business. And I’m saying ‘If you put the effort into three years of study, the world’s your oyster.’ And they come out excited.”

The scholarship was one of two awarded at the conference as part of a strategy by both accounting organisations to increase the number of Māori choosing accountancy as a career. Kirsten Patterson said: “Māori are significantly under-represented in the profession and a memorandum of understanding last year between Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and NKMoA last year sets out steps to address the issue.”

NKMoA Chairperson, Wayne Panapa, said NKMoA is committed to working with Chartered Accountants ANZ to foster the growth of Chartered Māori Accountants. “The Māori economy is growing quickly so our aim as the National Māori Accountant Network is to promote accounting as a profession to young Māori, with scholarships and mentoring others who will go on to assist with small whānau businesses, tribal incorporations or mainstream organisations.”

About Chartered Accountants ANZ: Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand is a professional body comprised of over 115,000 members (30,000 in New Zealand) who utilise their skills every day to make a difference for businesses the world over. 

About NKMoA: Our mission is to assist Māori to excel in commerce and contribute to the successful economic development of Māori. NKMoA contributions are expressed through our values of “Mā te tika, Mā te pono, me te aroha”. 

This media release is adapted from a release by Chartered Accountants ANZ. Visit www.charteredaccountantsanz.com for more information.

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