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Leading Light Scholarships awarded to young Māori accountants

Friday, 22 September 2017 2:55pm

Scholarship recipient and Otago Business School graduate Warren Walker in front of the construction underway for the Otago Business School development.

One of only four prestigious national accounting scholarships has been awarded to University of Otago Business School accounting student Warren Walker.

The scholarships are awarded annually by the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) and the Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa (National Māori Accountants Network - NKMoA), with the aim being to bring more Māori into accounting.

Māori are significantly under-represented in the accounting profession. The scholarships and internships will further accounting studies for Māori students, hopefully increasing the number of Māori who choose an accounting career, empowering them to become leaders and shapers of business and finance.

The scholarships to honour the four students’ academic excellence and strong community focus.

Warren shared the CA ANZ Ngā Raumanako Māori Scholarship, worth $5000 over two years, with Joshua Munro from the University of Auckland. Warren also won an internship with one of NKMoA’s accounting collaboration partners.

Warren, who is in his third year studying Commerce, majoring in both Accounting and Information Science, is thrilled with the recognition.

“It’s a prestigious opportunity, not only to gain valuable work experience and to earn some money over the summer break, but also in making connections – I’ve already met some amazing people. I'm really grateful for the chance to be part of the effort to encourage and support Māori to enter the world of business, and chuffed that they recognise my potential, and my efforts in the community and in promoting business. It’s a privilege to be part of it."

He plans to make full use of the learning opportunity.

Warren is the Communications Executive on Te Tai Tuarā - Māori Commerce Students' Association. He is a brand ambassador for CA ANZ, attending career events to educate students about the benefits of studying accounting. He also tutors at the Māori Centre and for the Accountancy and Finance department.

He enjoys the combination of accounting and information science studies, and likes the idea of pairing them to use technology to find solutions and create efficiencies. He also hopes to gain the Chartered Accountant qualification.

"I like the autonomy of learning at University – there isn’t someone over your shoulder micro-managing your efforts. This allows me to set my own work pace deliver all requirements on time and to a high standard. Otago is a great place – there a so many resources for first-year students to achieve. All you need to do is put yourself forward – you can take part in any number of activities to make the most of the experience.”

He has no firm career plans for the future beyond finishing his degree, but has many good ideas he would like to pursue. “The plan at this stage is to gain work experience, and to work on some of those possibilities and investigate their feasibility.”

Thinking outside the box, he wants to use his accountancy and technology skills in potential social enterprise options and to contribute to the growth of Māori economic development, looking at everything from social housing models to ideas that disrupt current ways of managing public transport.

“They’re long-term prospects - what I’m looking forward to now is adding to my skill base over the coming months.”

His summer internship with one of NKMoA’s accounting collaboration partners will either be with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, EY Tahi, BDO, Deloitte, or KPMG.

Originally from Wellington, Warren and his wife and two children are settled in Dunedin. Warren affiliates with Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahangunu, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, and Taranaki ngā iwi, engari, no Orongomai hau kāianga, engari, Ko Ōtepoti tōku kainga I nāianei.