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Te Ao Māori

My Money Sorted: Manawa & Aniwa

13 September 2022
Reading time: 7 minutes

Posted by Sorted , 3 Comments

My Money Sorted is our series exploring people's experiences and views about money on their journey to living sorted. We spoke with Manawa and Aniwa about their investing journey, and they’ve recently bought their third property. They live in Tauranga with their twins, a boy and girl, 11, and their daughter, 3 (going on 21!). They knew each other as kids, and both sets of their parents – Mark and Anipeka Nicholas, Rawiri and Renee Wright – have been heroes in the movement to revitalise te reo Māori for close to 30 years.

What is the best money advice you’ve been given? 

Manawa: “The best advice I can think of with regard to money – I can’t even remember who told me – is know your strengths with money, understand how to use it, and understand your relationship with money.

“I realised that I needed to improve my future relationship with money because it was affecting my present.

“I used the free Sorted tools to pay down bad debts that had accumulated in the early twenties, and worked hard extra hours to pay off those debts. I managed my spending, allocated my budgets and stuck to them pretty religiously. Nowadays we loosely follow our budget, but we still do one every three months.

“If I can do it, anyone can. They just need the right drivers and motivation to achieve their goals.

“My main driver is my whānau, my partner and my children. I just want to have different opportunities for our kids when they get to the point that they want to buy a house.”

Are you a spender or a saver? 

Aniwa: “We have complete opposite attitudes towards money and saving and spending, and even investing. We’re on opposite ends of the spectrum.

“Manawa is a spender, I’m a saver. Manawa loves risk.

“But we have the same backgrounds, he and I. We grew up with nothing, so every dollar we had we cherished it. Coming from a big family, I’d say half of my family are like Manawa, half are like me.

“My dad was an accountant. I’ve got that kind of background. I’m a teacher, and I’ve used the Te whai hua – kia ora, Sorted in Schools materials for years 9 & 10s to teach financial capability.

“My approach was old school, saving everything you have, without investing or taking a bit of risk as well. I think we’ve learnt a lot about each other and the climate we live in these days, learning to diversify. Once upon a time I would’ve been like ‘Hell no!’.

“It was no good Manawa being like me, and it was no good me being like Manawa. You need a middle ground. I told Manawa, he needs to be better at what I’m good at, and I need to learn what he’s good at.”

Manawa: “You need to understand your ‘why’. It only works if you want it to. I really wanted it to work, and so did Aniwa. We accepted that our strengths and our weaknesses are part of who we are. Is it something you can compromise on?”

Aniwa: “That’s something I’ve had to learn the hard way. I’m an alpha and he’s an alpha, and when we butt heads we butt hard.

“Understand your why and compromise. It took a little while and a few arguments, but we got there.”

What’s a memorable money moment?

Aniwa: “We bought our first home in 2018. I thought it was hard then, but it is ridiculously hard now.”

Manawa: “It’s becoming harder, the trials and tribulations of getting in front of a lender.

“She was accepted and I was declined, but I was determined to carry on. So the property was in Aniwa’s name only, but we both paid for it.”

Aniwa: “Our second home was probably the hardest for us, because we knew we wanted to get it together, in both our names.”

Manawa: “We noticed that when we would walk into certain mortgage brokers, they would look at us and pre-judge us. And they hadn’t even seen our numbers, our paperwork! That happened several times here in Tauranga.

“So many brokers were telling us to sell our first home, and we didn’t want to do that. Finally we contacted a well-known company (Squirrel), and I explained our situation. They pointed us in the right direction.”

Aniwa: “That was after six ‘nos’ from banks and mortgage lenders.”

Manawa: “That was just them looking at us and saying, ‘You can’t do this.’ Sometimes you just need a professional that you can put your case in front of.

“Our third house was the easiest, for a combination of factors. I was concerned with people pre-judging us, since we clearly look Māori. But it was much better.”

Aniwa: “We had just bought our second house two months before. We just wanted to know how far away we were from our next house to get a gauge and a timeline.”

Manawa: “We didn’t desperately want to get a pre-approval, but we explained our vision, we believed we were close based on the numbers that we presented to our bank manager, and presented our budget and payslips.

“They told us we had to do a hard enquiry to be sure. We were accepted two days later.”

What makes you feel Sorted when it comes to your money? 

Manawa: “It’s when Aniwa and I are both happy with our financial direction.

“I like to spend money, and that can be considered a weakness and a strength. I don’t mind having a full tank of gas and kai in the cupboard.

“I feel sorted when all of our bills are paid and we’ve got a bit of money in the rainy day fund.”

What money beliefs have you inherited from your whānau? 

Manawa: “We come from what used to be a depressed people. This is our story. Aniwa and I have grown up in a very Māori-speaking, te ao Māori people.

“It’s almost an oxymoron to some of our people that Aniwa and I are pursuing our property investing journey. We accept who we are and where we come from, but we acknowledge the world we live in.

“Sometimes you encounter that self-doubt, or can read it on your whānau’s face when they don’t understand.

“But I think it’s a real Māori concept for me, to be able to pass down whenua, or in this case assets, to our tamariki and mokopuna so that they don’t have to struggle to live in the modern world.”

What would your bank account say to you right now?  

Manawa: “I’m still a spender. On payday my account will say ‘Yay!’; a couple of days later it will say ‘Ow’.”

Aniwa: “That’s all right, because I save for both of us.”

When you think about your retirement, what do you see? 

Aniwa: “We’ve got a plan for our retirement: we’ve run the numbers and it’s 9 years from now. We want to have a portfolio of six more houses. We want to be financially free and travel with our whānau.”

Manawa: “Nine properties is the number where we can have a passive income that can replace our combined income, so Aniwa and I don’t need to do day-to-day work, creating $250,000 of passive income.

“That’s the best-case scenario. Retiring at 40 would be pretty good!

“We’ve got friends – I didn’t realise how many of the group we associate with are doing this as well. I know of two other whānau who are on the property ladder with multiple properties.”

Aniwa: “Some of our siblings have the same ideas as us. Everyone likes the idea of it.”

Comments (3)


  • Gravatar for Natalie

    17 September 22

    Congrats to this family

  • Gravatar for

    14 September 22

    Tau kē kōrua!

  • Gravatar for Rangi te Whiu Jury

    14 September 22
    Rangi te Whiu Jury

    Kia ora kōrua,
    Ngā mihi nui. Good informative read and inspirational.

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