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Accountancy scholarship honours legacy of Sir Henare

New scholarship help for Maori students entering their third year of accountancy study at tertiary level honours the legacy of Sir Henare Ngata.

BDO New Zealand has announced the Sir Henare Ngata Scholarship which will provide financial assistance for three Maori students for study related costs ($7500), an internship at a BDO firm, registration for Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa hui (National Māori Accountants Network) and related costs up to $1500 and mentorship with BDO for final year of study (March to November). 

Sir Henare was the first Maori chartered accountant in the country.

BDO Gisborne's director Kylee Potae said the idea came when she was trying to address the issue of having less than “two percent of Māori representation in the accounting profession” with a group of Māori accountants.

“We have for a long time talked about what are some of the things we could do to help change that.

“I and my colleague Wayne Panapa had worked with Sir Henare Ngata. We had always thought there was something in his legacy and professional expertise which gave quality towards a scholarship.”

Ms Potae said she hoped the financial aspect of the scholarship would help bridge “the equity gap we have for Māori who may want to participate in the accounting profession but can't afford to”.

Ms Potae said students who met the criteria and were enrolled in universities or other tertiary institutes qualified to apply for the scholarship.

“I hope some Ngāti Porou children would see Sir Henare Ngata's legacy and apply for the scholarship, and even students from other iwi groups in our district. I really do hope some of them come forward.

“I was emailing Wayne Panapa and we said we need to get into our cars for a drive up the East Coast early in the new year, to talk to the schools and kids and start the conversation about career paths they could pursue and encourage them to consider them as an option.”

A statement from BDO New Zealand said Sir Henare Ngata worked tirelessly for the wellbeing of Māori and the company was excited to honour him through the scholarship. “The growth of the Māori business sector has been great to see in recent years but we can only continue this trend by encouraging young Māori to enter accounting and business. We hope this scholarship will further this.”

Sir Henare Ngata's granddaughter Zandria Taare said the whānau was thrilled with the idea of a scholarship in the honour of “papa Henare”.

“We are grateful to BDO for creating this initiative for our rangatahi.”   

Applications for the Sir Henare Ngata scholarship close on November 26. Application forms for the scholarship can be found on the BDO New Zealand website.