Ā mātou mahi What we do

Mō Mātou | About

Te wāhi ki a mātou Our role

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission aims to help improve the financial futures of New Zealanders for a better retirement for all. We are focused on helping people with not only information and skills, but the confidence they need to develop their long-term wellbeing.   

We focus on three areas: Retirement Income, Retirement Villages and Financial Wellbeing.  

  • We raise public understanding and advise Government on policies that will enhance retirement outcomes for New Zealanders
  • We monitor the effects of the retirement villages legal framework
  • We help New Zealanders think long- term to improve their financial outcomes and prepare for retirement

We have three key workstreams

Retirement Income – We advocate for a system that serves the diversity of New Zealanders by conducting a three-yearly review for government, uncovering emerging issues and calling for action, promoting debate on retirement challenges, and driving shared evidence to measure the impact of policy changes.

Retirement Villages – We oversee a fair regulatory framework by flagging issues and reporting on sector trends, supporting dispute resolution and tackling issues through sector collaboration.

Financial Wellbeing – We promote the importance of long-term thinking by leading the National Strategy for Financial Capability, supplying trusted, independent information through Sorted, and equipping stakeholders with insights that add value.

Tā mātou pūtake Our purpose

Improving financial futures

Tā mātou whakakitenga Our vision

A better retirement for all 

Tā mātou aronga Our objectives

  • Financial wellbeing is improved by a successful National Strategy for Financial Capability and engaged and diverse audiences for Sorted. 
  • Retirement income policies are stress-tested to examine if they meet the needs of a diverse population, advocating for a fair and stable system.
  • Retirement village residents and the industry operate within a competent and independent regulatory system. 

Our values

Kia manawanui Let us be big hearted

We act with kindness, empathy, aroha and courage. We think beyond ourselves to achieve better outcomes for all. We pursue positive and innovative change.

Me hoe tahi We paddle as one

We are stronger together. We continuously seek ways to collaborate and bring people together. We respect the value that every person and stakeholder brings to the table.

E tipu, e rea We embrace the best of both worlds to flourish

We embrace the best of both worlds and consider diverse cultural perspectives in our everyday work and actions. We lay the foundations for a more inclusive future.

He taonga te pono We treasure truth

We are honest. We act with integrity and authenticity in everything we do. You can look to us for trusted information, honesty and guidance.

Our focus is on the retirees of today and tomorrow ...

We are dealing with a period of exceptional volatility and anticipate further financial headwinds, and that a growing percentage of people will enter retirement with a worryingly heavy reliance on New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super).

This means that equipping people with tools and confidence to manage their economic lives becomes even more crucial.

The implicit assumption underlying NZ Super is that it is received by those who own their home outright, or who have affordable and accessible public housing.

Today, for 40% of retirees NZ Super is their only income and a further 20% just have a little more to top this up. An increasing number of superannuitants are paying rent, and this is expected to be 100% more by 2048 compared to 2020.

Currently one in five people are continuing to pay a mortgage after age 65, and as ownership patterns change, extra support is likely to be required by a growing number of people. 

This changing environment makes my role of Retirement Commissioner, and that of my team, as relevant, if not more challenging than ever.

We are here to promote stability in retirement income policies and to provide the Government and public with trusted information, contributing to debates related to retirement with impartial and robust evidence. We will call for action where necessary.

Through our purpose we are focused on helping people with not only information and skills but the confidence they need to improve their financial futures.

It’s no small task and not something we pretend to tackle alone. This is why we place so much importance on maximising the collective impact of the National Strategy for Financial Capability. And reminding New Zealanders that Sorted provides an independent and impartial place they can rely on to find financial guidance with no strings attached.

We know retirement does not look the same for everyone, and that a ‘better retirement’ is relative. For many it is a time of rest and relaxation, while for others it is a time of continued service to their community. Some do not live to experience it at all.

But we know that a better retirement for all relies on a stable retirement income policy framework that supports citizens and encourages them to save, then to spend their retirement funds wisely.


Our partners

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission is proud to lead the National Strategy for Financial Capability, and we value our role in helping create a supportive environment among the financial capability community. Our partners number more than 150 organisations across government, iwi, the community and the private sector. We aim to pool our collective knowledge and abilities, so that together we will help raise the financial capability of more New Zealanders than we could alone.

The story behind our name

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission

Te Ara Ahunga Ora was developed for us by renowned linguist Sir Pou Temara in consultation with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission, with input from two of our Māori staff members, Marina Kawe-Peautolu and Erin Thompson.

Te Ara means the pathway, giving an aspirational yet intentional feel to the act of developing what is needed to achieve wellbeing.

Ahunga is the act of carefully developing an object or an idea or both.

Ora is health, life, wellbeing, contentment.

And so Te Ara Ahunga Ora translates to ‘the pathway to developing long-term wellbeing’. It reflects that people are on a journey and aligns with the work we do to deliver on our purpose and vision of improving financial futures, so we all have a better retirement, whatever form that may take. 

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission reflects the different journeys we take towards retirement and returns us to our core purpose.

Our logo

Two koru symbolise our commitment to embrace the best of Māori and Pākehā worlds to consider diverse cultural perspectives in our everyday work, helping lay the foundations for a more inclusive future.

Beneath the koru are curved strokes, symbolising hands of support and the varied journeys New Zealanders take to reach retirement.

Our values

During the renaming process we settled on a new set of team values that will steer us to think holistically, act collaboratively and feel empathy for those we serve. 

How we honour our name and values day to day

  • We embrace a Treaty-based approach to our work. Kia manawanui signals our big-hearted role as public servants to all New Zealanders.
  • We are curious thought leaders, seeking and sharing research and insights. We will take a stand when it matters and where we can influence change.
  • We're open and honest, inviting our stakeholders and government partners to collaborate with us in a common purpose.
  • We think long term and encourage others to do the same – both through government policy and among those who use our financial capability programmes.

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission

Improving financial futures for a better retirement for all