Mr Matthew Scobie

Room: SUMS Doctoral Centre
Qualifications: BA, BCom, MCom (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)


Matthew Scobie is a Kāi Tahu (Māori) social accounting researcher trying to figure out what that actually means. Matthew is presently reflexively unlearning a background in mainstream accounting and economics while undertaking doctoral studies inspired by critical and sociological perspectives. His research examines the intersection of accountability, indigeneity and development. This is with the ambitious hope to ‘indigenise’ the concept and process of accountability.


Dr. Stewart J. Smyth
Prof. Bill Lee

Thesis Title

Indigenising the concept and process of accountability

Scope of Research (aims and objectives)

Accountability is best understood as a concept driven by key principles that frame the way individuals and organisations engage with one another within certain contexts, rather than a definable word to be applied to any situation. Although a set of principles can be drawn out of a predominantly Western accountability literature, these can still conflict with other cultures. Indigenising the concept and process of accountability refers to exploring how Kāi Tahu (a large kinship based Māori grouping based in the South Island of New Zealand) values can and have been preserved in understandings and practices of accountability, while engaging in an increasingly homogenised society and globalised economy. I believe that this understanding can be used in struggles for self-determination and improved social, environmental, economic and cultural outcomes.

The first research question for this project is in what ways and why is accountability understood and exercised within an indigenous organisation and/or community? Secondly, do these understandings and practices support any existing theories of accountability or is a new theory required? Finally, in exploring all of this, I hope to work with participants to imagine a solution to the question - what does or could an indigenised accountability look like?

Recent Publications

Book/Article Reviews

• Gray, R., and Scobie, M. (2017). Book review: Pioneers of critical accounting: A celebration of the life of Tony Lowe. Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, 37 (3), 229-232.

• Scobie, M. (2016). Article review: Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria: Where do responsibilities end? Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, 36 (1), 206-207.

• Scobie, M. (2015). Book review: This changes everything: Capitalism vs. the climate. Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, 35 (1), 73-75.


• Scobie, M. (2017). Marlon. Te Karaka, 75. Available at:

• Scobie, M. (2016). He whaakaro: Studying abroad. Te Karaka, 73. Available at:

• Scobie, M. (2016). He whaakaro: Climate change. Te Karaka, 72. Available at:

Conference presentations

• 2017 Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference. Indigenising the concept and process of accountability. (Presenter).

• 2016 8th Asia-Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference. It might never happen, or will it? The process of rendering (un)accountability in the deep-sea oil exploration arena. (co-author).

• 2015 CSEAR Emerging Scholars Colloquium. A critical discourse analysis of accountability in the deep sea petroleum exploration arena.