My Money Sorted is our series exploring people's experiences and views about money on their journey to living sorted. We spoke with Te Kahukura, founder of Māori Millionaire, who is on a mission to empower Māori to become financially independent. Outside of running her blog, she is studying law at the University of Waikato (as she says, “You have to understand the system to change the system!”).

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

The best money advice that I have ever received was from Nanny Mei: to take advantage of what you have and grow it into something amazing.

Not having resources is not an excuse when you are under her roof – you make it work. If you are low on money, you get into the garden and start planting your māra kai. If you can’t afford gas, you wake up early and walk.

She taught me that in life, the only thing we can control is our response to situations.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I’m definitely a saver! You’ll always catch me saying that I am broke, even if my savings are topped up and I’ve just invested in shares.

I do however like to live under the ‘value-based spending’ concept: where you spend money where it suits you and your values best.

What’s a memorable money moment?

The biggest financial lesson I have ever had was when I was 14. I started a clothing line called Sussed. Friends at the time said they would buy merch, but after the tees had arrived and my $700 was gone, so too had all my loyal customers! From this I learned that market research is key when it comes to starting a business.

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

I always feel sorted when my rainy day fund is maxed out. It always feels awesome that, if my car breaks down, or if I need to take time off work for a whānau emergency, I can do so with the use of this fund.

What money beliefs did you inherit from your whānau?

I was raised by a strong line of Wāhine Toa, including my mum and nan, who hustled their way through life.

The quote that springs to mind is, “If you want to sweep the streets, then do that, but do it out of wanting to and not needing to.” The idea of this quote is to hustle, hustle, hustle, – get your qualifications, your experience and then you can do whatever you please – out of choice and not need!

What would your bank account say to you right now?

My bank account right now would probably tell me to stop forgetting to cancel free subscriptions! This is always the worst experience – when you sign up to something because there is a free subscription and you forget to cancel it before they charge you.

What’s your proudest money moment?

I believe that financial independence is something beneficial for all Māori, and I will therefore become proud when more Māori take hold of their finances, as opposed to their finances controlling them. We are a collective, so we will all be proud once this is achieved.

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

I’m a great enthusiast of the FIRE movement, which stands for ‘Financial Independence, Retire Early’. The idea of this movement is that you attain a level of wealth that means you no longer have to work.

So retirement is a weird concept to me, because it’s not something I see in my 60s or 70s. Rather it’s that the money decisions we make now will enable us to live the life we wish for tomorrow – one which we don’t feel the need to run away from.

Comments (2)

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12:02am | 28 Jun 2022

Very encouraging! He wahine mohio ia :)

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Te Kahukura

6:35pm | 17 Jun 2022

Thank you for sharing my story sorted :)