New Zealand’s approach to financial education for Māori highlighted at OECD event

22 December

New Zealand’s approach to financial education for Māori has been shared on the international stage.

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission was invited to join a panel, virtually, to share insights on its Te whai hua – kia ora, Sorted in Schools programme at the annual conference of the OECD/CVM Centre on Financial Education and Literacy in Latin America and the Caribbean held last week

Erin Thompson, Director of Māori Development, Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission joined other OECD representatives from Canada, Brazil and Peru to discuss how financial literacy tailored to the needs of Indigenous Peoples can promote their financial well-being.

Te whai hua – kia ora, Sorted in Schools programme was recognised for its approach which puts Māori indigenous knowledge at the centre, recognising the importance of teaching students about money which reflects their local knowledge and world view.

Erin Thompson, Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission’s Kaihautū spoke at the conference, highlighting the success of teaching financial education with a by Māori for Māori approach.

“One of the benefits of the Te whai hua – kia ora, Sorted in Schools approach is that students, teachers and whanau can see themselves in the programme, with financial skills and concepts linking to their existing knowledge,” she says.

“Te whai hua – kia ora, Sorted in Schools is designed for schools, but because of its holistic nature, it is very much a programme that can reach beyond the school gates and into the homes of whanau and the wider community.”

Teaching financial education in schools gives young people the opportunity to learn financial capability basics from the start – concepts such as the importance of savings and impact of compound interest and advantages of avoiding bad debt – can set students and their families up for success.

In New Zealand, students are taught financial education in high school and kura through Te whai hua – kia ora, Sorted in Schools, which is in 78% of schools and 81% kura. This free programme focuses on 13 to 18-year-olds and provides NZQA approved resources that students use to gain NCEA credits, while also learning important financial life skills.

Te whai hua – kia ora, Sorted in Schools which is taught in kura (Māori Medium Education) found that the by Māori for Māori approach is the strength of the programme, as it interweaves Te Ao Māori narratives and knowledge into learning, making financial concepts relevant and easy to use.

Erin Thompson reflects on research into the programme which has found “when financial knowledge and confidence grows, students move from understanding wants and needs, to developing budgets, to planning for university and home ownership. The shift of some of these students and their whanau has been phenomenal.”

Embedding Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge systems) is central to the design of Te whai hua – kia ora and how financial education is taught.

Many international organisations now use a similar approach to support indigenous financial wellbeing. Tailoring financial education to individual communities and their needs is reflected in the work that international organisations such as CVM Centre on Financial Education and Literacy does.

The OECD and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM) includes 51 public authorities including central banks, ministries of finance, social policy and education. The regional network focuses on financial education, including financial inclusion and consumer protection.



Notes to editors:

About Te whai hua – kia ora, Sorted in Schools

Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission launched Te whai hua – kia ora, Sorted in Schools in 2019, which now has 78% New Zealand secondary schools and 81% of kura taking part.

It is the first government-backed financial education programme fully aligned with the curriculum, so can be taught as part of day-to-day classes in subjects as diverse as maths, social sciences, technology, English and even health. The resources cover topics ranging from debt and money management to KiwiSaver and insurance and include learning and assessment materials for NCEA unit and achievement standards.

More than 300 resources, designed by teachers for teachers, are already available through the website, and we deliver free professional development workshops and webinars to help teachers feel confident to teach the subject. Ask your secondary school if you haven’t seen them using it.

In the past 12 months, 68% of schools and kura have used Te whai hua – kia ora and 97% of teachers value Te whai hua – kia ora as a financial capability programme they like to use. And it’s all free.


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For more information, or to arrange any interviews contact:

Elizabeth O’Halloran | Communications Specialist

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