He ringa raupā he ringa rehe - From tools to books

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Story credited to Whenua Magazine

After nine years of installing insulation in houses, Taimus Ritai decided labouring wasn’t part of his future, so swapped his tools for books.

Three years later, he found himself at the National Māori Accountants’ Network Hui-ā-Tau and talking with some of the country’s top accountants.

“I looked around at some of the older guys at my old job and thought I don’t want to be doing this for the rest of my life,” he said.

“It was definitely a scary move, but I’m so glad I did it and stuck to it.”

The 29-year-old is currently in his second year of study at WITT in New Plymouth and working towards a Bachelor of Business, which he will complete next year.

He remembered as a child always having an interest in numbers which was reignited when he did an accountancy paper while working towards his Diploma of Business.

Taimus (Te Āti Awa) received a three-year scholarship from PKW and presented at the mid-year AGM to keep trustees and shareholders informed of his progress and aspirations.

“I just told them what I’m doing, what I was doing and what I aspire to do once I finish studying,” he said.

“I really want to help iwi with financial information and advice, and I think they took a real interest in my career path.”

After a kōrero with Te Rau Māhorahora / Chief Financial Officer, Joe Hanita, who spoke about how they wanted to support him on his journey, Taimus was invited to join the PKW team who went to the hui in Auckland in August.

“We wanted to allow Taimus to not only meet potential employers, but also hopefully help build his professional network and allow him to see just where the accounting career could potentially take him,” Joe said.

Joe said he’d noted a shift in challenges for tauira, from access to funding to support the pursuit of tertiary education (such as the scholarships and grants provided by Te Rau Manawaora o Parininihi ki Waitōtara / PKW Trust) to the transition from study to employment. Therefore, helping tauira find their first role after completing their study, especially in the current environment, appeared to be a more pressing challenge.

After 18 years since the inception of Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa, there still remained a shortage of Māori accountants (Māori represent only 3% of the total membership of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand).

Taimus said attending the hui had been an amazing experience.

“I learnt how Māori work in business and how they’re helping our people, other businesses and how they’re expanding their businesses globally,” he said.

He recommended accountancy to others who may be thinking of studying, saying,” Eventually you’ll be able to go into iwi and hapū spaces and be able to help them where it’s needed, be it with financial management or assistance. You’ll be able to help your whānau and iwi out with the knowledge that you gain.”

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