Topic: Education

Māori school educates its students in financial literacy

By Wepiha Te Kanawa
  • Auckland

Teaching children about money from a young age will reduce their chances of making bad financial decisions in future.

This from the Commission for Financial Capacity as the commission is urging students and parents to take their message on board.

In Auckland, a financial literacy pilot programme is being tested at a Māori school.

Numeracy is one of the most important things we learn at school but what about money?

A teacher at Te Kura Māori o Waatea, Kataraina Ropati says, “Some might think that financial literacy isn't for young children aged 5-7.  But I think it's an awesome idea for teachers to teach them about how to use money.”

Thanks to a new financial literacy pilot programme at a South Auckland school, Zella Morrison says savings and debt should be an issue discussed in the home, “Gone are the days when you don’t want to talk about money because you think, oh my all you want to talk about is my debt and what I haven't got, but what we are trying to do normalise talking about money in the whānau.”

Commission of Financial Capacity spokesperson Diane Maxwell says schools have the option of teaching their students about financial literacy.

“The thing about the New Zealand system is what we call a devolved system, which simply mean the teachers don’t have to teach it.  They decide at a school level which elements of that they are going to teach.”

Morrison says, “What we are looking at in our Kura Project is to look at what we call debt management, savings, financial planning and things that are very relevant for the whānau today.”

But at Te Kura Māori o Waatea, it's a priority.

Ropati says, “The children need to learn early in life about saving money, how to spend, or spend money correctly and where to spend money.”

The Kura Project is in its early stages, but the hope is that more Māori schools will adopt the initiative.