Annalea Tumutoa

Annalea Tumutoa

Annalea completed a Master of Professional Accounting at Waikato in March 2021 and describes it as “honestly such an amazing experience.”

Graduate auditor at Baker Tilly Staples Rodway


Annalea Tumutoa

Cook Islands-born Annalea Tumutoa has said “e no'o ra” (goodbye) to her career as an international flight attendant and “kia orana” to the corporate world on her journey to becoming a qualified accountant.

She now works as an intermediate auditor at BDO in Auckland.

The one-year course is designed for anyone wanting to embark on an accelerated study pathway towards becoming a chartered accountant.

“The programme is very well structured from start to finish; it is both challenging and rewarding. Each topic is detailed, making it easy to grasp each new concept,” says Annalea.

“Even though I’d studied accounting before, the course expanded my knowledge base and gave me the technical skills I needed to start my accounting profession. There were also opportunities to meet people working in the profession through occasional guest speakers and networking events.”

“My lecturers were very supportive and approachable; you could walk into their office any time and ask for help. But they also encouraged you to be proactive about your own learning.”

Annalea says she was looking for a sense of purpose in her future accounting career. “It’s not all about making money and crunching the numbers; you also need to be ethical in your business practices and show respect for different cultures, and that’s something that really resonated with me at Waikato.”

Annalea says the course emphasises the need for accountants to be critical thinkers, who consider the impact of their business decisions on society – encouraging you to think about what’s going to happen with the business in 5-10 years’ time.

“I enjoyed all the classroom discussions, the lecturers challenged us to look at topics from different perspectives.”

“Accountants are often seen as introverts who are good with numbers. But today’s employers also want to know if you can connect with people and solve business problems. The variety of assignments in this course help you with the basics of working with people.”

Annalea continued to work as a flight attendant for Air New Zealand while she was studying at Waikato, and would often drive straight to Auckland airport in her uniform to catch a flight.

Her career goal is to qualify as a chartered accountant and then gain her forensic accounting certificate.

“My ultimate plan is to return home to Rarotonga one day and take over my dad’s accounting firm, expanding across the Pacific islands and Australasia, and continue my father’s legacy of helping our people.”

“Growing up my family weren’t rich by far, but we were rich in happiness. I want to be able to do the same for my family now and generations ahead. Completing my Master of Professional Accounting is the first step in the right direction.”

Annalea Tumutoa

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