An award honouring a visionary Māori Chartered Accountant has been won by Ngāi Tahu student, Fiona Pahl, of Lincoln University.
The $6000 Suzanne Spencer Memorial Māori Scholarship remembers Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa’s (NKMoA) first deputy chair, a Chartered Accountant with Dunedin firm Polson Higgs. NKMoA is the National Māori Accountants Network.
The scholarship is open to all wāhine (woman) Māori accounting students with a focus on achievement for themselves, their whānau (family) and the community.
Fiona is doing a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture and Professional Accounting) degree. The four-year degree encompasses the core requirements of the B.Com(Ag) degree as well as the accounting and business courses required to enable qualification as a professional accountant.
Fiona says that as a Southlander from a farming family, she’s pleased her degree has a rural spin.
“Southland’s my home, and what I’m studying allows me to combine an accounting degree with my interest in agriculture and farming,” she says.
“In some way or another this country is connected to the primary industries, so being able to understand how that all works alongside accounting will be a benefit.”
She says it’s also beneficial in an agricultural field to have knowledge of holistic Māori views on sustainability.
“I may be able to help farmers understand these ways of thinking and integrate them into their farming systems so they can farm more profitably and sustainably.”
She says she’s noticed more Māori students enrolling in business courses, and she’d advise other young people, particularly young Māori, to “give accounting a go.
“Accounting’s not just numbers – it’s building relationships with people, talking to them, and helping them make important decisions about their families and businesses.”
Image Fiona Pahl with her mother, Julie, and Joe Consedine, General Manager Public Sector Segment, CAANZ Credit: www.youunlimitedanz.com