- Rebecca Mason CA was working in London for GlaxoSmithKline when she decided to come back to NZ.
- She wanted her family to reconnect with their iwi and the cultural side of their lives.
- Now, through her Meihana Consulting business, she helps organisations find sustainable solutions to issues.
As told to Diana Clement
Ko Tūtumapou te maunga, ko Te Hoiere te awa, ko Raukawakawa te moana, ko Te Hoiere te waka, ko Ngāti Kuia me Ngāti Koata ngā iwi, ko Te Hora te marae, ko Rebecca Mason tōku ingoa.
Six years ago, Rebecca Mason CA was working in London as a pan-European market access lead for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. But the time came for her to return to her whānau and iwi Ngāti Kuia. Now, through her Meihana Consulting business, she helps organisations better understand each other to find sustainable solutions to issues.
When COVID-19 struck, she used her connections in the Māori world and her CA skills to bring together a response team, Rōpū Kōkiri-a-Iwi, in her region. The team is mandated to work on behalf of the eight iwi of Te Tauihu (the Nelson–Marlborough region) in the South Island of New Zealand.
What brought you back to Aotearoa?
I wanted my family to reconnect with our iwi and the cultural side of our lives, which wasn’t really there in London. We wanted to give our children a Kiwi childhood – that’s about beaches and rivers and barbecues. Anybody can, at any age, live a big city life, but you can’t get your childhood back.
How does Meihana Consulting work?
Meihana Consulting focuses on helping groups understand each other’s perspective and build collaborative partnerships, particularly between Māori, government and private sector organisations. For example, I’ve facilitated partnerships between local iwi, marae and emergency management teams. My experience in strategy roles, in both the private and public sectors, has given me a good understanding about how these different business models function and can work together for the greater good.
Picture: Rebecca Mason CA. Image Credit: Melissa Banks.
How do you apply your Māori values and principles to your work?
I’ve had strong cultural values from both my Māori and Scottish sides. CA ANZ also has a core set of values. For me, it’s about weaving all these values together. For example, in Māoridom, kotahitanga is a value about unity of purpose and direction. Everyone works together and contributes. Alignment and collaboration is just as important for a chartered accountant. That is kotahitanga.
COVID-19 has been a milestone for you personally – can you explain that?
I feel like almost everything I have done to date has led me to this moment. Having the skill set I have. Being in this place at this time. Working and walking two worlds as I have. This has allowed me to use all of my skills to drive change, advocate and influence on behalf of iwi and whānau.
How has being a CA helped you?
Having a solid financial understanding has been very helpful, especially as I move into governance. I am a kaitiaki/trustee for Te Runanga o Ngāti Kuia, The Health Action Trust and The Bishop Suter Trust. Being a CA means I can contribute from both a commercial and audit and risk perspective.
And a message for CAs…
When working with Māori organisations you must have a long-term view. We have a kaitiaki (guardianship) role and that’s not about making a quick profit. Engaging with Māori isn’t about “ticking the box”. Māori must be involved early in every conversation. True partnership/equity is about influencing decisions and outcomes.
Tikanga and a better you
For Māori, tikanga is an essential cornerstone that links the importance of identity, culture, whānau, family, and is a strong source of pride, hauora, wellbeing, and connectedness.Read more