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How Te Ao Māori helps keep me on track with my money

12 September 2023
Reading time: 4 minutes


Posted by Elizabeth O’Halloran , 2 Comments

Te Wiki o te reo Māori gives everyone the chance to learn about money from a new perspective. 

Staying on track with money can be hard, but approaching it with a new perspective can help change your thinking. Kimiorangi Thompson (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Ngāti Rangiwewehi) knows how important it is to provide a different perspective on money in her role at Te whai hua – kia ora, Sorted in Schools. 

“In my mahi as the Kaikōkiri (learning specialist) I get to work alongside kaiako (teachers) and support them to teach financial wellbeing in kura Māori, in te reo Māori, using Māori concepts.  

“We provide the money kupu (words) in te reo Māori for kura, but the ao Māori approach is equally important – it helps kaiako understand how to approach money from their worldview.” 

Kimiorangi’s favourite way to explain money management is by reflecting on how her tīpuna approached managing resources, and how the same strategy can also be used for money.  

“Our tīpuna have always been good at resource management and money is just another resource that we can manage using the same principles,” she explains. 

Replenish your money – be ready for the unexpected 

The systems that our tīpuna used (which are still used today) is a careful approach to finite resources – the understanding that they need to be looked after and replenished.

A practical example of resource preservation is rāhui – a prohibition to protect a resource – which is typically used to manage kai. At certain times of year a rāhui will be placed on kai to preserve it until the food is ready to be harvested or gathered.  

This is similar to a savings account or an emergency fund. If you put a rāhui on your bank account and don’t take any money out so you can grow it, by the time you need it, you’ll have plenty to cover anything unexpected.  

However, if you take money out every time you put it in, when you really need it, you might not have enough. 

Take advantage of different money perspectives 

Kimiorangi uses this te ao Māori approach for her own bank accounts – she jumps on the Sorted budgeting tool to work out how much she needs to save for unexpected costs. 

“I put a rāhui on my bank accounts, so I have the funds ready when I need them,” she says.  

Growing your money is also important so your rāhui does the hard work you need it to – part of that is working out the best way to save. For Kimiorangi, it was taking the next step by thinking about her personal approach using the Sorted money personality quiz

“I’ve recently completed the money personality quiz to help me understand my own attitudes and behaviours towards money and that led me to be more interested in investing.”  

“My next step is checking out the Sorted investor profiler and Sorted Smart Investor to find out more about how I can grow my money – I’m looking forward to checking those out.” 

Find a money system that works for you 

The connection between money and te ao Māori, and traditional practices and the taiao (environment), have clear parallels to the systems we need to manage money. There isn’t just one way to make money work for you.  

Using knowledge from te ao Māori and thinking about how her tīpuna would approach money and life today, drawing on their wisdom, works well for Kimiorangi and the kaiako (teachers) she supports.  

She says the proof is in the kina. 

“Where I am from on the East Coast kina are not gathered until the Pohutukawa tree is in bloom, which, as we know in Aotearoa, is in the summer. 

“In the winter months the kina are small and not very tasty, but if you are patient and wait for the summer months, you’ll be rewarded with fat, creamy kina, yum!”  

The kina echo Kimiorangi’s emergency savings account after her rāhui – a great reward for all the saving that keeps her money on track and helps her financial wellbeing and resilience.  

Comments (2)

Comments

  • Gravatar for Mary

    14 December 23
    Mary

    A rahui on my bank account – so much better than it being locked away – a protection rather than a deprivation. I am now thinking of my saving of 3 months to a years expenses as having a rahui applied to it and my other account/sinking fund as a kina account waiting for the summer when there will be funds to repair my whare. Kia ora.

  • Gravatar for Chanelle

    17 September 23
    Chanelle

    Absolutely love this perspective from a Te Ao Māori view, especially how Kimiorangi has framed money as a resource to which our Tīpuna were/are experts at managing. Ka rawe!!

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