Date posted: 01/02/2023 5 min read

Meet the Māori accounting scholarship recipients

Māori tauira Cassidy Ray-Matthews and Mary Betham were awarded 2022 Māori scholarships to help them become chartered accountants.

In Brief

  • The Ngā Raumanako Māori Scholarship and Suzanne Spencer Memorial Māori Scholarship are intended to support and encourage the recipients through their education journey to becoming professional accountants.
  • “My long-term goal is to offer free financial services to struggling families who, like my own, could really benefit from help to break out of the poverty cycle,” says Cassidy Ray-Matthews.
  • “I hope that my example can positively impact my whānau and also other tauira Māori with a background similar to mine," says Mary Betham.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) and the Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa (NKMoA) have awarded scholarships to two deserving tauira Māori. The Ngā Raumanako Māori Scholarship and Suzanne Spencer Memorial Māori Scholarship are intended to support and encourage the recipients through their education journey to becoming professional accountants.

“The Ngā Raumanako Māori Scholarship and Suzanne Spencer Memorial Māori Scholarship recognise outstanding tauira who have demonstrated not only academic success and a desire to pursue a career in accounting, but also a deep commitment to their iwi and Māori community,” says Charlotte Evett CA, scholarship judging panellist and CA ANZ general manager for New Zealand regions.

“The scholarships were designed to reduce the barriers to becoming a chartered accountant, such as financial constraints and mentorship. It was an honour to be part of the judging panel for 2023 and to see first-hand the passion, determination and high calibre of the recipients.”

Addressing underrepresentation in accounting

University of Canterbury student Cassidy Ray-Matthews is the recipient of the 2022 Ngā Raumanako Māori Scholarship. From childhood, she had a fascination with finance and a head for business, but struggled to see a pathway to take it further. After leaving school at 17 without a clear plan in mind, Ray-Matthews realised the government’s 2018 Fees Free scheme was an opportunity she couldn’t miss. She enrolled in a Diploma in Business and Accounting at Ara Institute of Canterbury, before transferring to the University of Canterbury’s Bachelor of Commerce programme.

Ray-Matthews says she applied for the scholarship because Māori are underrepresented in the accounting profession, and saw the scholarship as an opportunity that could open the door for other Māori students. Helping others is one of her prime motivators.

Cassidy Ray-Matthews Pictured: Cassidy Ray-Matthews 

“My long-term goal is to offer free financial services to struggling families who, like my own, could really benefit from help to break out of the poverty cycle,” she says.

“I would also like to be an ambassador for Māori in accounting. When I was younger, stuck in this cycle but yearning to get out, seeing Māori in this space would have been invaluable and given me the confidence to pursue accounting earlier – or at least stay in school!”

For Ray-Matthews, the scholarship is also a chance to network, and explore her vision and hopes for tangata whenua.

“Understanding accounting is one way we can help our whānau claim what they are entitled to, by utilising trusts and other avenues to promote health, social, cultural and economic welfare, education, and general advancement for future generations,” she says.

“I am hoping that this scholarship will provide networking opportunities that will help to connect me with other leaders in this space who have a similar vision to me.”

Supporting tauira Māori

The Suzanne Spencer Memorial Māori Scholarship has been awarded to Mary Betham, who is currently a Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Otago.

Throughout her schooling, Betham wasn’t sure whether tertiary study was right for her. That changed after she worked for a business that had a positive culture and supportive leadership.

Mary BethamPictured: Mary Betham

“The first time I truly began to consider tertiary study was at my first office job. It was the positive workplace environment that really opened my eyes as to what kind of career I could have for myself, and what I had to do to achieve this,” she says.

“After two-and-a-half years of working there, I decided to leave for university. My team leader provided a huge amount of discussion around support and encouragement in my decision to pursue a degree in accounting, and really helped me realise the potential that I have – for which I am super grateful.”

After learning about the Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa scholarships from a friend who encouraged her to apply, Betham found herself drawn to the organisation’s mission.

“Their mission statement really resonates with me and my personal experience, as I too would like to be on the other side, supporting tauira Māori in their academic endeavours and supporting the successful economic development of Māori businesses and entities,” she says. “I hope that I will be doing that in the future.”

The scholarship will allow Betham to continue studying and pursue a career as a chartered accountant. She wants others to follow in her footsteps and encourages more tauira Māori to pursue a rewarding career path.

“I hope that my example can positively impact my whānau and also other tauira Māori with a background similar to mine: by showing them what possibilities are out here and what they can be capable of too, no matter what kind of start you have in life. You’re always capable of much more than you realise.”

Find out more:

Apply for a CA ANZ scholarship

CA ANZ partners with other organisations to offer a range of scholarships to people who want to study the CA Program and become a chartered accountant.

Visit the You Unlimited website to see the scholarships on offer

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