• BDO Sir Henare Ngata Scholarship

BDO Sir Henare Ngata Scholarship



Applications extended until 12 December

We are extending the entry deadline for the Sir Henare Ngata Scholarship! We know it’s been a really tough time recently and we want to make sure we’re giving everyone a fair chance to apply – the deadline for entries is now midnight Sunday 12 December.

If you would like to learn more about what it’s like to work in the Māori Business Team take a look at our blog series, where we’ve spoken to four of the key players in the team to hear about what a typical day is like at work and what most excites them about working at BDO.

And if you have any questions or are thinking of applying to the scholarship and would like to know more, our BDO Māori Business Team are happy to kōrero with you. Either drop into your local BDO office or contact us today – we’re a friendly bunch!


“Kotahi te kākano, he nui ngā hua o te rākau”
“A tree comes from one seed but bears many fruit”

We’re delighted to announce our new BDO Sir Henare Ngata Scholarship for Māori accounting students heading into their final year of study.

Sir Henare Ngata is noted as being the first Māori chartered accountant. He paved the way for all Māori accountants that would follow, a trailblazer who epitomised hard work and dedication to the wellbeing of Māori, using accounting as a tool for advocacy. After returning from serving in the 28th Māori Battalion during World War II, he moved away from home to gain his qualification. Upon completion he returned home and made the bold move setting up his own practice in Gisborne. In later years this was sold, and over time, eventually became the BDO Gisborne practice.   

Sir Henare Ngata worked tirelessly serving the needs of Māori, following in his father's footsteps. His father, Sir Apirana Ngata, is widely known as being the first Māori to obtain a university degree, as well as for his contribution to politics and his work in protecting Māori culture, language and Māori wellbeing. 

In honour of Sir Henare Ngata, we're providing national scholarships to three talented Māori students in their pursuit to become accountants, while in their final year of study.

The scholarship will consist of:

  • Financial assistance for study related costs $7,500
  • Internship at a BDO firm
  • Registration for Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa hui and related costs up to $1,500 
  • Mentorship with BDO for final year of study (March to November) 

Māori are significantly under-represented in the accounting profession, making up around 2% of accountants in Aotearoa – despite making up 16.5% of our national population (2018 census). Scholarships and internships will further accounting careers for successful applicants and hopefully increase the number of Māori who choose a career in accounting, empowering them to become future leaders and shaping the direction of the Māori business sector. 

“Te manu e kai ana I te miro, nōna te ngahere; te manu e kai nana I te mātauranga nōna te ao”
“The bird that feeds on the miro berry, theirs is the forest; the bird that feeds on knowledge, theirs is the world” 

Who is eligible for a scholarship? 

We are looking for people who are passionate about following a career in accounting and aspire to succeed.

To be successful, you will need to meet the following eligibility criteria: 

  • Provide verification of whakapapa 
  • Reside in New Zealand while completing study and internship 
  • Will be completing your final year of tertiary study as an accountant at a recognised New Zealand institute in 2022.

Other criteria that is not essential, but will help you stand out:

  • Demonstrated leadership in any area of your life, such as education, community or extra curricula activities
  • Maintained a GPA score of between 5 – 9
  • Demonstrated involvement in your community

Please detail your involvement in any of the above in your cover note when you apply.

How to apply? 

We want to make the process as simple and enjoyable as possible so here are some hints and tips to help you on your journey.

Applications for 2022 scholarships close 12 December 2021. Winner announcements will be made in January 2022.


Apply online

It is important for us to get to know more than just your qualifications and grades! We want to know what else is important to you outside of your studies, what experiences you have and what motivates you.

In order for us to get a full picture of you, our online application will require you to provide us with the following information:

Application form

  • There are a few basic questions to answer on the application form, as well as some pre-employment checks.

Your resume

  • Your resume should have some essential information on it, but it is also an opportunity to tell us more about yourself.
    The essential stuff:
    • Your full name and all your contact details, so we can easily get in touch with you
    • Your education to date, including where you have studied, the dates and your majors and any other projects or theses you’ve done
    • Work experience to date
  • The information that will give us a broader picture of you:
    • Work and volunteer experience, including where, when and what you did
    • Any extracurricular activities you have been involved in
    • Awards, achievements, things you are proud of
    • What you love to do outside of work and studies
    • Anything else you think will help us understand more about who you are as a person and your personality

Video Interview

This step is where you are asked to complete a short online video interview. It is not as daunting as it sounds – it’s just three easy questions, and it should not take you more than about 15 minutes to complete. The key is to be yourself and have fun.

Video Interview Tips:

  • It’s important to find a quiet place to record your online interview
  • We suggest you present yourself as if you were attending an actual interview, so dress appropriately
  • You’ll get a chance to do a practice test beforehand


If you’ve been successful to get to this stage of the process, you will be invited to meet with some of our leaders in a panel interview. This may be online or in person.

Tips on interviews

Before your interview, make sure you do your own research. You can find a load of information about BDO on our website, as well as our social media pages.

Be prepared in terms of knowing who you are meeting with, getting here on time, and refreshing your memory on your experience to date as we are likely to ask you about work and university experience.

Dress professionally - remember, it is better to be over-dressed than under-dressed for any job interview. 

Interviews at BDO are typically behavioural based as past behaviour is often the best predictor of future performance. Typical questions that are likely to be asked will often begin with ‘tell me about a time when...’, and ‘can you give an example of when...’. Rehearse examples of previous situations you have been in. You will need to clearly explain the situation, what you did, the reason for your approach, and the outcome of your actions.

The interview is not only about us interviewing you. This is also your chance to ask any questions you may have. We suggest that you prepare some questions in advance. Questions you may consider asking include:

  • Expectations for a scholarship participant at BDO
  • The culture of the firm
  • The management style
  • Your growth potential
  • Learning and development opportunities

A few more tips – arrive on time and allow extra time in case the interview runs over. Never answer questions with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’; always elaborate. And most importantly, be yourself!


Winners announced in January 2022