Timoti Wharewaka (Ngāpuhi) sat down with Felix Pryor from NxtStep to talk about his journey from AUT into working with Accenture, his challenges on the way, and what he hopes to get out of it all.
In a world which overflows with new and exciting technologies, Accenture has empowered Timoti to take the reins and develop his own passions. He is passionate about Salesforce, but sees the entire tech world as an engaging, inspiring space.
Most of all, Timoti is passionate about the way we can use digital technology to change and uplift our communities. One of his goals as a young Māori leader in the fast-paced world of tech is to inspire other Maori and Pasifika people to enter in the world of digital technology and computer science.
Read the interview below:
F: How did you your interest in digital technology start?
T: I think for me what got me started was my early passion for technology which started when I was a kid. I loved video games so anything electronic that I could get my hands on kicked off that passion. Once I got into highschool, and I was weighing up my option and looking at the strengths I had, technology was apparent.
So, a natural fit. Did you have any doubts about pursuing it at University?
For me it wasn’t a crisis – there were loads of things I wanted to do, but for me, I had to be realistic and look at the future. For me, technology, especially computer science, was a field that would stay relevant in five or ten years time. That was the kind of thinking I had to do and why I went into the compsci field.
What drove you to work for Accenture? What attracted you to their company?
Being able to go into an organization and use the skills I developed at University was one of the most exciting things about Accenture. For me, it was about being able to apply my skills and develop my passion and strength I had for technology.
What have your high moments been working for Accenture so far?
Quite a lot! Coming from a Maori background, being a role model for other Maori or Pasifika people who are looking to get into the technology field. It is an area where my people are under-represented. So that has been a highlight – using Accenture as a platform to be that role-model for others.
What does a day in the life look like for you, at Accenture?
A day can be very dynamic. It all depends on what project you are on. You may start working on a project, but there are other things you can work on – things like professional development. Accenture really want their people to be the best that they can be, and there is a real freedom there. With consulting, with Accenture, we are not selling products, we are selling people.
Personal development is really important.
What’s been your biggest area of personal growth at Accenture?
For me, verbal communication. That was something I really struggled with, as I am a naturally a shy person. Just having conversations though, with other people in presentations or client meetings, everyday conversations, was something I struggled with. But Accenture, a company that is very client facing, has put me into situations where you have to develop those skills.
People, not products.
Yeah, for me, that’s an area of major growth. But because Accenture encourage that upskilling, I’m also building those technical skills wherever you want to progress. At the moment i’ve been working on my salesforce skills.
If you weren’t working at Accenture, what would your dream job be?
My dream job would be to have my own business. For me, it would be something where I am helping other people, giving back to my community. That’s really what I want to do. Accenture will be prepare you really well if you want to go down that route.
Absolutely. Those tools, that experience that I need is offered by Accenture. The opportunity is only limited here by how much you want to do.
What surprised you most about life after University?
What really surprised me most was how it is not that easy to get a job. I would really encourage, if you are approaching the end of university, pursuing an internship, or if a part-time job, something on the side. There is a lot of people who go to university, a lot of graduates. You’ve really got to distinguish yourself.
How do you distinguish yourself?
To distinguish myself – I had the degree, the skills, the experience to back it up – but, for me, it has been my background. The fact that I do have a Māori background, which I can use in a consulting firm. I have a different insight into the Māori context, and so on, and I could use that.
It seems like diversity is simply good business. Running a consulting firm, having people from a broad range is vital, especially in NZ where we have a country founded on biculturalism.
Exactly. On that point, for me, my background fits well with NZ. Especially with a consulting firm you are dealing with a people. It’s a big world, and you encounter a large demographic. If we do have clients with particular issues, I can provide different insights to solve those kinds of problems.
Can you talk a bit about the Tuputoa programme?
So, I found out about the internship from a really good friend of mine. They were like – hey, we got a program for Maori and Pasifika, for people in university, trying to help bring those students into the corporate world. What I really liked about the program was the fact that they were able to helping getting your foot in the door. Because, again, Maori and Pasifika aren’t well represented in the IT field. Once I was in I was able to get in, I could demonstrate to people that I do have the skills and the capabilities, but I also have this background that could really help business.
Last question – what do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be the owner of my own business. Eventually owning a company that can give back to my people, my community.
This content was produced in partnership with Chiasma Auckland and NxtStep. NxtStep is an online service for New Zealand students and graduates that helps them find jobs, internships and graduate opportunities. They work with over 150 of NZ’s top employers to bring you the most exciting and engaging graduate careers in NZ.