Education before a House – Meet Tumai Tumutoa

Written by Tauraki Rongo

This week Kura Ora caught up with Tumai Tumutoa. She is a mother of two happily married to a Fijian husband. Since the Covid-19 Lockdown, she’s been working from home, doing accounts for her trucking firm. She is currently working for the Les Harrison Transport firms Tauranga branch.


Pictured: John Tumutoa center with grandson and Tumai on his left

With a degree in Accounting Tumai has no problems working from home especially with the two children.

Tumai’s development from Primary school is very interesting as they already knew they were headed for University. “Our dads have always drummed it into our heads that we will be going to University.”

Like her other siblings, they all travelled from Rarotonga privately to attend Waikato University.

When asked about funding to see them through University, she said that their dad was committed to this task, so instead of making a loan to build a house, he prepared himself to be in a position to support his children’s study.

John Tumutoa started of his career as a Customs Officer in Rarotonga before moving in, to work at the Inland revenues department. While the girls were just starting high school, John attended the University of the South pacific in Fiji to complete his degree in accounting. He then returned to Rarotonga and worked with an Accounting Firm Wood and Co, before starting up his own Accounting Firm J&J Tumutoa.

Tumai and her Sisters are currently helping out with private Cook Islands students from Rarotonga attending Waikato University. According to Tumai, they have been helping students with student loans and other requirement around the University. She said when they arrived at Waikato, they were fortunate to have the help of a former and late Waikato University colleague Mii Matamaki. She helped them settle in around the assistance that’s available. Mii showed them the way the system works enabling them to help students today.

Today the girls all have degrees in accounting with one in Tourism.