Naomi Aporo has built a successful career out of combining her talent for business with her passion for Māori culture and heritage.
The University of Otago Management graduate has spent the past three years developing and co-ordinating the Advisory Māori Sector at Ernst & Young, one of the world’s largest professional services firms. This year she is taking on a new role at flagship Māori education provider, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, where she will lead the development and introduction of their Risk Management Framework.
“It’s very exciting,” she says of her new position. “It’s going to be a massive step because there is so much happening within the education sector at the moment – a lot of big initiatives taking off, a lot of change and, therefore, a lot of risks to be managed.”
Naomi believes her education at Otago played a major role in giving her the skills and confidence necessary to head a project of this magnitude.
“My supervisors were hands-on, but they weren’t smothering,” Naomi says. “I felt safe going to them with problems and confident in the advice they gave me, which is critical, because when you’re working with a real organisation, you can’t afford to mess it up.”
She hastens to add that business skills were not all that she picked up at Otago, however.
“I was at UniCol in my first year, and the friends that I met there are still my closest friends,” she says. “There’s a large group of us who live in Auckland, and we still catch up regularly – having that support network is really important.”