Craig Norgate Scholarship winner Te Ariki Paitai said it was a “blessing” to be telephoned and told he had won the Scholarship for 2021.
Paitai is CFO at not-for-profit organisation Te Whāngai Trust. Based in Pokeno, Waikato, the Trust operates native plant nurseries and provides people facing significant life challenges with employment and training.
Before becoming an accountant, Paitai knew about Norgate and says it is an honour to be selected for the Scholarship.
“I hope one day I can give as much back to my community and the profession as he (Craig Norgate) has. I am honoured to have my name next to his.”
Paitai first encountered accounting during high school. However, it was not a subject he enjoyed at the time, and he decided to study carving instead.
Now, with some life experiences and working alongside accountants through various roles at government departments, Paitai saw the value of accountancy.
“I spent about five years of my career working directly with not-for-profits. That was when I really saw the value accountants brought to the world in terms of being able to take financial information and make that accessible to people such as grant funders, board members and managers to make good decisions,” he says. “It’s making those numbers talk and telling a story that otherwise wouldn’t be heard.”
Despite being told that artificial intelligence (AI) was going to end the careers of accountants, Paitai says he gets daily notifications from industries “shouting out” for accountants.
“I think it’s an amazing technical skill to have that you can take across a lot of industries. My advice for people considering a career in accountancy is do it. If you’re unsure of what to do in life, you can never go wrong by getting skills as an accountant,” he says.
A good way to get experience as an accountant is to go out and volunteer for not-for-profits as there are many organisations struggling to find people who can assist in that administrative space.
Paitai is passionate about the not-for-profit sector and volunteers his accountancy services to a number of organisations including Time Out NZ, Open Law NZ and the Hamilton Hearing Association. He is also a trustee with Coromandel Independent Living Trust.
In addition, he was recently appointed as a decision committee member for the Lottery Waikato Community Fund. The fund distributes Lottery funding to groups in the Waikato region every year.