Doctorate of Accounting Welcomed as First Pacific Lecturer of Otago Business School

"What I found in Tonga is that western rules, regulations and internal controls are important aspects of accountability but they alone will not be able to deliver accountability and transparency in the context of the Pacific..

Iki Mafi Uele gave a speech at the Pacific graduation breakfast on Saturday.
Available at SSAB Megastore

Source: University of Otago. Iki Mafi Uele has joined the Otago Business School (OBS) as their first Pacific lecturer in the Accountancy and Finance department.

He graduated on Saturday with a Doctorate of Accounting, and is believed to be OBS’ first Pacific PhD in Accounting.

He describes his doctoral thesis topic as “a new call for accounting” which deals with the importance of public values in his field.

“This looks at things that are valued by a society. Public values like honesty, accountability, transparency.

“At the end of the day, what we’re dealing with is numbers. How can we use those numbers to deal with the values that a society or environment worry about,” Iki says.

His research topic was inspired by the questions he had in childhood in Tonga as the son of a fruit farmer and weaver, Mosese and Melaia of Fakakakai Ha’apai.

“We always hear about honesty and people misusing money, and I always questioned in my heart why these people had money and could escape all these penalties, while my family and I had nothing.”

He says his research was a blend of western methodologies and “a contextualised pan-Pacific way of doing research”, which included the use of the Pacific Kakala research framework and e-talanoa methods.

Iki Mafi Uele pictured on graduation day by his wife Aitasi Anapu-Uele, who also works at the University of Otago.

“What I found in Tonga is that western rules, regulations and internal controls are important aspects of accountability but they alone will not be able to deliver accountability and transparency in the context of the Pacific.

Book Now to Visit our Beautiful Samoa

“Their presence helps, but it has to be principle-driven.”

Last year, Iki came first in the OBS Three Minute Thesis Competition and also won the OBS Outstanding Doctoral Student  – Community Engagement award.

Iki’s academic journey began at Tonga College in 2001, where his dux position created scholarship opportunities that would send him around the world in pursuit of higher education.


In 2006, he graduated from the University of the South Pacific (USP) with a double degree in Accounting, Finance and Mathematics.

TAUTUA is available from SSAB Apia, or you can order it online with Sei Oriana Gift Shop, Auckland NZ.

Uele then served as an accounting and mathematics high school teacher and tertiary lecturer in the Pacific region, including in Tonga, Tokelau and Fiji.

A scholarship partially funded by Cambridge University allowed Iki to complete a Masters in Accountancy and Financial Management at La Trobe University in Melbourne in 2016.

He then took an Assistant Lecturer position at USP for Accounting and Finance programmes until he was ready to “climb the academic ladder” once again.

Visit SOS at Togafuafua or Salelologa!

He joined Otago under the University’s Pacific PhD scholarship scheme just before the first COVID-19 nationwide lockdown in 2020.

“My PhD is a product of COVID-19. That comes with a lot of challenges,” Iki says.

Those challenges included conducting his e-talanoa over Zoom, which in nature is a data collection method that centres around love, respect, warmth and humour.

“We know that the talanoa method is effective when it’s face-to-face, but with COVID-19, all those privileges are gone.

“My research was a test of whether talanoa and the Indigenous way of doing research can continue on as a robust method of research over Zoom.”

Iki says the support he received during his PhD from Otago, his wife, the Tongan community and his spiritual brothers and sisters was phenomenal.

“There are different avenues here at the University that look after Pacific people.”

Associate Dean (Pacific) at the OBS Esmay Lemalu-Eteuati says she is pleased to be welcoming Iki and knows he will make a valuable contribution to the School.

Samoan Esmay Lemalu-Eteuati is the Associate Dean (Pacific)

“We at Commerce had made a decision that we would grow our own pool of Pacific academics from within our own division,” Mrs Lemalu-Eteuati says.

“We’re trying a different approach compared to other divisions, who have often sought academics nationally and internationally.”

Esmay is the Associate Dean – Pacific, appointed to the Division of Commerce in December 2017.

Her role is to provide leadership and strategic advice in the Business School on all matters relating to the University’s Pacific Strategic Framework 2022–2030. She is based in the Divisional Office with her team of Pacific student support staff.

– Kōrero by Keilah Fox

Public Notice: UTOS Closure for Christmas and New Year.


The Unit Trust of Samoa hereby advises its Unitholders and the General Public that the UTOS Main Office will be CLOSED for this Festive Season 2023. Please note that our main office will officially close for all
trading on Friday 22nd December 2023 at 4pm and will reopen on Monday 8th January 2024 at 9am.

CLOSED: 22nd December 2023 at 4pm
OFFICE REOPENS: 08 January 2024 at 9am.

You may apply online through our website to open an investment account, or purchase units through Vodafone M-Tala, Pacific 40 – Talofa Voucher, ANZ Billpay, and Digicel MyCash. Please email us for any inquiries regarding your investment.

On behalf of the UTOS Board of Directors, Management and Staff, we wish Samoa all our unitholders and the people of Samoa a blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Sincerely, UTOS Management


I le ava male fa’aaloalo e faasilasila atu al i sui fai-lunite uma a le UTOS, fa’apea le mamalu lautele o le atunu’u e faapea, o le a TAPUNIA le tatou FISA AUTú mo Aso malóló o lenel tausaga 2023 – 2024.

O le à tapunia le tatou ofisa mai le Aso 22 o Tesema 2023 1 le 4pm i le afiafi, a faatoá toe tatala i le tatou Aso Gafua 8 lanuari 2024.

TAPUINIA LE OFISA: Aso 22 Tesema 2023 i le itula e 4 i le afiafi
TOE TATALA LE OFISA MO FEEAATAUAIGA O LUNITE : Aso 8 lanuari 2024 i le itula e
9 ile taeao.

E mafai pea ona talosagaina se teugatupe teufaafaigaluega fou e ala i auaunaga tau Upega Tafailagi, po’o le fa’atau foi o unite fa’aaopo’opo e ala i auaunaga a le Vodafone M-Tala, Pacific 40 – Talofa Voucher, ANZ Billpay poo le Digicel MyCash. Mo nisi fa’amatalaga poo se faafesili, faamolemole imeli mai i le

Mai le Komiti o Fa’atonu, le Pulega ma le Aufaigaluega a le UTOS, mo le Aufai-unite uma fa’aapea Samoa atoa, la maua se Kerisimasi Manula, ma se tausaga fou manuia.

Ma le fa’aaloalo tele

Pulega a le UTOS