Wānanga launched to support whānau financial literacy

A new financial capability programme specifically focused on Māori is being launched this weekend through wānanga being held in Te Tairāwhiti, and later in Ōtautahi.

The initiative, called Te Rito Hou, a Sorted programme for whānau, has been realised through a partnership between Tāwhia – the Māori bankers’ group, the New Zealand Banking Association – Te Rangapū Pēke, and Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission.

The wānanga will be led by trained Sorted financial literacy facilitators and local bankers. Te Rito Hou will take a te ao Māori approach to aspects of financial literacy including personal and community attitudes to money, goal-setting, and how to navigate challenges to effective money management. Building greater understanding between whānau and banks will also play an important part.

Around 30 to 40 people are expected to participate in the two wānanga, and there will be an opportunity for whānau to follow up with their banks through this initiative.

Te Ara Ahunga Ora has led the development of Te Rito Hou with active support from Tāwhia to broaden the wānanga to include banking elements and local connections. Tāwhia member and ASB executive manager of Māori banking Tawa Campbell-Seymour (Te Whakatōhea, Tūhoe, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Waikato) has been the Tāwhia lead on this project.

“Financial literacy for our whānau is a priority for Tāwhia,” says Campbell-Seymour. Tāwhia has three pou. Te Poutokomanawa, our central pillar, is contributing to the financial literacy of Māori. This partnership has helped accelerate this mahi, ensuring Tāwhia can support whānau with their financial literacy and relationship with banking.”

New Zealand Banking Association chief executive Roger Beaumont says: “We’re delighted to support Te Rito Hou. Financial literacy is important for everyone. Here we acknowledge that the relationship between whānau and banks is not always easy, and we see this as an opportunity to help build trust and understanding. The learning goes both ways, and we also hope the wānanga will help banks work better with Māori.”

Retirement commissioner Jane Wrightson says: “It’s fantastic to see this initiative come to life. We prioritised the idea as one of the ‘shift the dial’ projects in the National Strategy for Financial Capability.

“Ensuring Māori have equitable access to financial knowledge and resources in a format that is delivered by Māori, for Māori is fundamental for success. Improving whānau financial capability is a crucial step to achieving long term wellbeing which supports our kaupapa of arriving at and living in retirement in good financial health.”