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Te Au Rangahau Research Associate Rawiri Tinirau

 

Maori accountants share business sustainability ideas

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Participants at the Maori accountants conference.

 

A two-day conference of Mäori accountants starts tomorrow at Massey’s Te Kupenga o Te Mätauranga Marae on the Manawatu campus at Hokowhitu.

About 80, including 15 accounting, business and commerce students (eight of them from Massey) are expected to attend along with professional accountants from throughout New Zealand.

Ngä Kaitatau Mäori o Aotearoa – the National Mäori Accountants' Network chairman Joe Hanita says the conference will have a focus on sustainability and looking at developing strategies to secure Mäori economies for the future.

The national network was established in 2004 and has a growing membership of about 200. It is estimated fewer than 2 per cent of the 30,000-member Institute of Chartered Accountants are Mäori.

However, Mr Hanita says there is a growing trend for Mäori students to enrol in commerce and business-related courses. He says benefits of belonging to the network are potential employment, mentoring and developing relationships. “Isolation was one of the main reasons the network was formalised. Many of us work in large corporate organisations and are the only Mäori face. The primary reasons for the network were to create an opportunity to touch base, share knowledge and experiences.”

One of the conference organisers is Rawiri Tinirau, a research associate at Te Au Rangahau, the University's Mäori Business Research Centre, who completed a conjoint Bachelor of Business and Arts majoring in accounting and Mäori studies in 2003. Mr Tinirau says people often imagine an accountant as someone who sits in an office and counts money. “Particularly when dealing with Mäori organisations, this is not the case; there is more interaction with the client community. One of our objectives at Te Au Rangahau is to encourage Mäori students into the accounting profession, and for those students going into their first placement this is an opportunity to introduce them to a wider network. It can be hard day-to-day being the only Mäori face in an organisation.

“We are excited about hosting the conference. It is an important opportunity for our students to meet people, many who are in high level roles, who they will be dealing with when they get into the profession.”

Keynote speakers include Massey’s Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Mäori and Pasifika) Professor Sir Mason Durie, Te Wänanga o Raukawa Professor Emeritus Whatarangi Winiata, ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley, business consultant Leon Wijohn, and Institute of Chartered Accountants president Dinu Harry.


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