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Iki Mafi Uele wins Commerce 3 Minute Thesis Competition

Friday 29 July 2022 2:30pm

Iki Mafi Uele imagePhD candidate Iki Mafi Uele will represent the Commerce division at the upcoming 3 Minute Thesis Finals in August.

PhD candidate Iki Mafi Uele won the Otago Business School Divisional 3 Minute Thesis Competition recently by presenting his research on Public Value Accounting in the Kingdom of Tonga.

Uele is from the Department of Accountancy and Finance, and will represent the Commerce Division at the upcoming 3 Minute Thesis Finals in August. 

“Public Value Accounting are the accounting practices of the public sector that affect the public themselves,” Uele says.

“My research is based on the publicness of Tonga’s public values of accountability and transparency.”

He spoke about how auditors’ annual reports can be used as tools to measure the level to which this accountability has been realised, is transparent, and is being practiced by government ministries and public enterprises.

Uele’s research was completed under the supervision of Dr Dinithi Ranasinghe, Associate Professor Ros Whiting and Dr Sriyalatha Kumarasinghe he talanoa (the sharing of ideas through conversation).

He also worked with government employees to determine the role accounting plays in measuring transparency and accountability, as well as uncovering why there is a disparity between espoused and realised transparency and accountability in Tonga's government ministries, departments and related organisations.

Ultimately, his research contributes to current literature on how accountants, and those in finance roles of the ministry, influences public values.

Once completed, this research will help policy setters identify problem areas where accountability and transparency is not being practiced, and address this in a timely way and with consequences. If necessary, helping Tonga and other developing nations in rebuild or reform of their policies.

“I chose to research this for my PhD not only because I am Tongan-born myself, but also because key changes have happened in recent history that are shaping the country into something new moving forward,” Uele says.

Second place was awarded to Rajesh Nautiyal, from the Department of Tourism, who presented on the appropriation and commodification of yoga in different cultures.

As a yoga instructor himself, he shared insights into why certain adaptions of yoga has led to variations in the practices core values and the turning of this into a “spiritual marketplace”.

The competition is open to both thesis Master’s and Doctoral students, who must communicate their research in no more than three minutes and with the help of only one static slide.

From here, Uele will go on to compete with the winners from the other University Divisions in the 3-Minute-Thesis finals on Thursday 4 August.

Korero by Otago Business School Communications Adviser, Kelsey Schutte.

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