Breadcrumbs

Bella Takiari-Brame

Professional director - Hamilton, New Zealand

Key Info

Iwi:
Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato/Te Rohe Potae, Te Whanau-a-Apanui

Qualification(s):
  • Master of Management Studies in Accounting
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting and Finance
  • Bachelor of Management Studies in Accounting and Māori Resource Management
  • Diploma in Māori and Pacific Development
Subject(s):
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Māori and Pacific Development
  • Māori Resource Management

The first person in her whanau to attend the University of Waikato, Bella Takiari-Brame is passionate about her culture, community and creating solutions that make a difference for vulnerable people.

A highly experienced chartered accountant, today Bella holds many governance roles in a wide range of iwi, government and corporate organisations, which have enabled her to use her voice and business management skills to empower communities.

These include ACC New Zealand, Te Ohu Kaimoana, Braemar Hospital, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, and Crown Infrastructure Partners, to name just a few.

“The experiences and peers whom I met during my time at Waikato are forever connected,” says Bella. “The University has a special place in my heart and always will. It offered lots of opportunity for Māori when I first started studying here, and still does."

As a young woman at Piopio College, Bella was empowered by her teachers and kuia ato embrace both Te Ao Māori and the academic world, so taking the next step into higher education was a no-brainer.

She chose to study a Bachelor of Management Studies majoring in Accounting and Māori Resource Management, which allowed her to connect to her whakapapa and introduced her to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“The experiences and peers that I met during my time at Waikato are forever connected. The University has a special place in my heart and always will. It offered lots of opportunity for Māori when I first started studying here, and still does," she says.

Bella decided to continue with more advanced study, graduating with a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting and Finance (1997) and a Master of Management Studies (1998).

Bella began her accounting career in Auckland before eventually heading overseas to London, where she worked for petroleum giant Shell for eight years, advancing to the role of Treasury Centres Controller.

“I’ve always loved the governance space but knew that it was vital to explore the theories of academia, get the operational experience and embed my feet in the real world before taking it on in a professional capacity,” says Bella.

Throughout her ten years in London, Bella never lost sight of where she was from, staying connected to Te Ao Māori through the Ngāti Rānana Māori Club.

On her return to New Zealand with a young family, she and her husband returned to study at the University of Waikato to complete a total immersion Māori language programme Te Tohu Paetahi, graduating with a Diploma in Māori and Pacific Development.

“To come home from London and to re-connect to our culture and our whenua through Te Tohu Paetahi was a special way to transition back home,” says Bella.

She says there are many skills that have held her in good stead throughout her career, including discipline, the importance of professionalism, and effective communication skills. All of which she channelled into a recent role as the interim CEO of the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board throughout the challenging pandemic year of 2020.

“Despite the uncertainties we faced, being in this position and leading our people with aroha through such a pivotal year was a privilege, and one I’m proud to tell my children and grandchildren about,” says Bella.

Her advice for anyone looking at getting into governance roles is to get the experience first so that you can confidently advise others. “Listen to your intuition as it will develop over time to the point that you’ll know what to put in your kete and what to throw out.”


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