Every year, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) awards two Pacific Scholarships to tertiary students of Pacific heritage living in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
These scholarships are tools of empowerment that enable students to complete their accounting degrees, become difference makers and pursue their career goals.
CA ANZ is proud to offer three awards this year after splitting the New Zealand Pacific Scholarship between two outstanding participants.
The 2021 recipients are determined to break the cycle of intergenerational financial struggle and give back to their communities.
Let’s meet this year’s recipients.
This year’s recipients are determined to break the cycle of intergenerational financial struggle and educate their communities on becoming fluent in the world of finance.
Epenisa Taukafa moved to New Zealand from Tonga in 2019 to study in Auckland where she is completing a Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting at the University of Waikato.
“I am glad to say, I love accounting. I want to use business to create change both now and, in the future,” says Epenisa.
Epenisa wants to help businesses in the Pacific Islands make better financial decisions and plans to earn her Chartered Accountant designation to become a business leader for her community. She also has a passion for baking and hopes to combine her love for accounting with cakes.
"I want to create a bakery or a business that bakes and sells cakes because I love baking. And I want to help my Pacific people and my community, because there are people in need out there and I want to help them and provide for them."
Epenisa has witnessed financial hardship firsthand within her family and hopes to give back to her parents for the sacrifices they’ve made for her.
“I understand the struggles that come with financial limitations as my parents have to cover the educational fees of six children. I was motivated to secure this scholarship to relieve them of some of this responsibility. Experiences like this can widen your perspective and push you further in life,” says Epenisa.
“Through accounting, I will be able to help my community, my family and my church.”
Salvis Maurice Laurenson was born in Samoa and migrated to New Zealand in 2007. Salvis is completing his third year of a double degree in Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law and Bachelor of Science. Passionate about supporting others in the community, Salvis has also undertaken voluntary work in Madagascar, teaching children about the value of education and developing sustainable careers.
“I’m from a family of nine kids, and a family that big comes with quite a bit of financial strain,” says Salvis. “Scholarships have brought me great opportunity and enabled the progression of my education. It’s always an inspiration when someone believes in you and is willing to support you.”
“My ultimate goal through accounting is to start my own consulting firm that helps Pasifika people become financially self-reliant" he said.
The Pacific Scholarship has already opened doors for Salvis to achieve that goal. He was able to reference the scholarship when applying for an internship with global consulting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). His application was successful.
“The scholarship application process taught me how to promote myself through both written word and verbal. I now understand the value I bring to both my professional life and my voluntary work as I progress further into the industry. It has definitely boosted my self-esteem in terms of professional and soft skills,” says Salvis.
Sinclair Pandinduo is from the East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea and has a Diploma in Accounting from Port Moresby Business College. The 2021 Pacific Scholarship will allow Sinclair to finish his bachelor's degree in Accounting at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG).
“This scholarship gives me the opportunity to finish my education and enrol in the Chartered Accountant Program, and become a role model for my country,” Sinclair said.
“It is a great honour for me to become an accountant. I get so much satisfaction knowing that I am secure for next year, that I’ll graduate and eventually become a Chartered Accountant.”
Sinclair’s area of interest within accounting is auditing. He says this specific area lends itself to breaking intergenerational cycles of illegal activity, and in turn propels communities into healthy, self-reliant processes.
“Auditing will allow me to prevent corruption in the public sector and engage the government to advocate for change and improvement in my country. When given the opportunity I will create channels of financial stability that will avoid illegal actions,” Sinclair said.
The 2021 Pacific Scholarship recipients each bring unique skills and perspectives to the accounting profession. It is clear from their stories that the scholarship will help set them on a path to a meaningful career and create opportunities to apply their skills where they are needed most across the region.
Meet the 2020 Māori accounting scholarship recipients
Māori tauira Aulo Barclay and Cherie Watene awarded 2020 Māori Scholarships.