Date posted: 19/09/2019 5 min read

Top CA Program graduate inspiring the next gen of Māori accountants

We speak to Roimata Ah Sam CA, about how she’s giving back to her community by inspiring future Māori accountants to pursue their goals.

In brief

  • Proud Māori woman, wife and mother Roimata Ah Sam CA offers an authentic view of the value of the CA Program
  • Roimata shows how Chartered Accountants can give back to their community by encouraging and inspiring future accountants
  • Māori cultural values can help individuals and businesses succeed

In 2018, Roimata Ah Sam CA not only completed the CA Program but was one of New Zealand’s top 5 graduates, and is now Accounting Manager at GHA Chartered Accountants and Management Consultants.

Reflecting on her success to date, Roimata explores how her Māori heritage has shaped her ambitions, and how the CA Program has empowered her to inspire others in her community.

A Westpac New Zealand report ‘Māori in the NZ Economy’1  identified underrepresentation of Māori in the professional and financial services sectors, and that a lack of financial literacy restricts opportunities within the Māori community.

For Roimata, this reality motivates and steers her career and she is determined to make a positive contribution to Māori society.

“I’m really passionate about making sure that Māori develop and there’s a huge potential to do so,” she says.

Roimata aims to forge a path that others can follow. She believes it’s important for younger generations to see that Māori can be highly successful.

“It’s about normalising Māori success in business for younger generations, for us to see anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Māori can be accountants, doctors, lawyers - we can be anything.” 
Roimata Ah Sam CA Accounting Manager at GHA Chartered Accountants and Management Consultants

Upholding values and achieving results

Roimata’s parents ensured she understood the traditional Māori values of people, community and reciprocity. She believes these values have not only guided her career, but have also been a major factor in her success.

“As a kid, I learned the value of relationships and understanding people. This has translated incredibly into my career. I’ve progressed very quickly from assistant to manager because I can build strong relationships, and understand how different people have different needs,” she says. 

“The importance of reciprocity and service to our people is absolutely entrenched in my practice. We grew up with the belief that if you’re given opportunities, it’s your responsibility to make sure they return to your community. This belief is one of the reasons I progressed so quickly in the early phases of my career.”

Driven to achieve and inspire

Roimata credits the CA Program and the balance of knowledge and skills it provides, as a competitive advantage that has enabled her to rise through the ranks.

“The CA Program modules build your confidence in the technical aspects, but it’s the practical aspect that makes you apply knowledge and learn from that. It gives you a competitive advantage in the professional world,” she says.

With the CA designation under her belt, Roimata is looking to inspire others, particularly young Māori women who are considering a career in accounting. She’s already started sharing her story with other Māori in the hopes it encourages them to pursue their goals.

“Since I made the top 5 graduates in New Zealand, I’ve been relentless in encouraging our current staff to complete or commence their CA journey. Our staff have become even more determined to complete the program with great results. I’m evidence that a kura kid can be a CA” she explains.  

Inspiring young Māori to choose accounting is significant because of the 32,000 New Zealand members within the accounting profession, just 860 are Māori.2 

Looking to the future, Roimata believes partnerships between Chartered Accountants and the Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa (National Māori Accountants Network NKMoA) will become increasingly important as more Māori join the finance and accounting industry.

“Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa are doing a great job in normalising the fact that Māori can be successful in business. They have shown being a Māori accountant isn’t unusual, and that it’s achievable,” Roimata says.

1 https://www.westpac.co.nz/assets/Business/Economic-Updates/2016/Bulletins-2016/Industry-Insights-Māori-in-the-NZ-Economy-September-2016.pdf

2 http://gha.co.nz/gha-accounting-manager-places-in-nzs-top-5-in-final-ca-anz-capstone-exam/