A Northland business student who studied music and worked as a chef before deciding to do accounting has been awarded a prestigious Maori accounting scholarship.

Zoe Edmonds received the Nga Kaitatau Maori o Aotearoa Suzanne Spencer Memorial Scholarship at a hui held by the National Maori Accountants Network in Waitangi.

The scholarship, awarded by Chartered Accountants ANZ and worth $6000, is awarded to a student of Maori descent with top grades and a strong focus on the community.

"I'm still getting used to it. I wasn't expecting it, it was a pretty awesome opportunity to go to the hui," Ms Edmonds said.


Ms Edmonds lives in Kerikeri and is in her second year of studying a bachelor of applied management at NorthTec. But accounting was not always on her radar.

When she left school she completed a bachelor's degree in music, and then went on to work as a chef for about five years. After Ms Edmonds and her partner separated, she said she needed to find a career that did not involve working evenings and weekends.

"With [two kids], the 11-hour shifts and working late at night, it wasn't going to work," she said.

Ms Edmonds, of Ngapuhi and Ngati Kahu descent, said she always enjoyed numbers at school so decided to study accounting. "My favourite thing is probably the learning element. With accounting it branches out, you could spend your entire life learning everything."

Ms Edmonds is a Chartered Accountants ANZ Student Brand Champion and has been trying to convince high school students to give business and accounting a go.

"When I'm talking to students, I start by asking them what they think about accounting and they talk about the boring old guy behind a counter crunching numbers. So I try to broaden their perspectives, presenting the opportunities."