Monday, 9 April 2018

Introducing Maria - a new member of our team

By Maria Kapp

We have recently welcomed a few new faces to the Unique Services team. The new staff have come in with a refreshing approach to the way things are done around here.

We thought we’d take a moment to introduce one of our newest staff members, Maria Kapp. Maria is our Accounts and Administration Manager who takes care of the day-to-day running of Unique Services. Maria has already added so much to the team here and her super organisational skills have whipped our office into great shape!

A bit about Maria

Maria has quite a story, it’s no wonder she is so determined and hard-working.

Born in Boksburg, South Africa, Maria is the youngest of four children. At three years old, Maria’s mother took Maria and her siblings to the smaller town of Potgietersrus in northern South Africa to live.

Life in South Africa was full of ups and downs and Maria endured the great losses of her eldest brother and stepfather between the ages of 11 and 14. But Maria and her family stuck together and pulled through. She admits that whilst it was an extremely difficult time in her life, her family became even stronger.

After these painful events, Maria’s mother moved them all to the little town called Louis Trichardt where Maria enrolled in the local high school. She was very settled here, so when her mother moved again to Pretoria, Maria decided to stay behind.

While her brother moved into the workforce and her sister got married, Maria was only just finishing high school. Determined to finish her schooling, she moved into her own flat. Her family visited once a month and Maria worked on the weekends to help her mother pay her rent in Pretoria.

When she finished school, Maria moved to Pretoria to be with her mother and begin her career. Maria speaks very highly of her mother as she taught her to be tough, independent and hard-working. Maria’s mother is still in South Africa and it goes without saying that she misses her deeply.

Maria’s evolving career brought her to where she is today

Having grown up in a number of small farming towns, Maria was nervous to join her mother in the big city of Pretoria. But she pushed on and secured a position at her mother’s grocery store. Here she worked as a cashier and slowly worked her way up in the ranks.

She learned a lot about retail while working for her mother, and it was here the opportunity came to learn the functions of the office such as accounts receivable, accounts payable and reconciling. This set her up for things to come.

After leaving the nest, Maria began working for an accounting firm. It was here that she developed a love for figures so decided to step out of her comfort zone and take up a more challenging and broad administrative role for a manufacturing company.

After spending eight years as an Administrator, Maria’s employers realised she was doing much more than administration! She was dealing with such a wide range of responsibilities including PAYE, tax, imports and exports and bank reconciliations. Although she had a wide range of responsibilities, she felt the time was right for another change so put her CV out to the market once again.

Maria moved to an Accounts Payable position for a large company but after three months, the owner of the business recognised her amazing work ethic and offered her a position in the storeroom as a Receiving Clerk. It was no secret that Maria loved her job and she did it so well that after another four months, she was made Storeroom Supervisor and following on from that was promoted once again to Stock Controller.

It was here that she started to feel like she had found her calling. Her ‘jack-of-all-trades’ approach to work meant that she was able to step in as an accountant, cashier and many other roles any time she might be needed.

But Maria’s life suddenly changed when she and her husband, Willie began planning their immigration to New Zealand. This was a huge decision but Maria maintains she’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

Maria Kapp and husband

Dreams of immigrating become a reality 

Ever since she left school in 1998, Maria had dreamed of immigrating, but she initially hoped to move to London. She planned and saved for four years but it was after a trip to Mauritius with her uncle in 2002, that she realised her life had a different plan for her.

On her arrival back to South Africa, she met the love of her life, Willie. They married in 2013 and have now been together for 16 years.

But her longing to immigrate still stuck with Maria so she and Willie began researching different countries. They had heard such great things about New Zealand and made the choice to move here. Turns out it was the right decision for them, as New Zealand truly is the paradise she was told about.

Life in New Zealand is everything

Maria is still fresh on New Zealand soil and has no direct family here in New Zealand apart from her husband. We’re glad to have her as part of the Unique Service family. 

Maria loves spending time with friends and family, whether it's just a short catch up or a weekend away. Sharing a love of nature and the outdoors, Maria and Willie get away for fishing and camping trips whenever they can.

With so much of New Zealand still to see, Maria is excited about what lays ahead.

Maria fishing

Thankfully, Maria’s journey led her to us

In December 2017, we were looking for an office superstar to join our team and Maria was in with a grin.

She looks after us, our finances, our customers and makes sure everything is running smoothly. In true Maria style, she is currently working towards becoming NZQA accredited to extend her skills even further.

Maria’s life lessons and experiences count for a lot more than any University could have done. And all the wonderful things Maria has learned throughout her life, she brings to Unique Services.

Maria believes “you are never too old to learn”, and she is looking forward to gaining even more experience in her role within our team.

It’s safe to say, Maria is the backbone of the Unique Services team.

Maria will be your first port of call - a very friendly voice when you next contact us.