A family of savers
When Vaine married her husband Mr Lavaka in 1989 she also joined NZCU Employees. It was one of the best decisions she ever made because, she says, their humble family all benefit from the different savings accounts offered by the credit union.
All five of Vaine’s children have had their own NZCU Employees accounts since birth, which comes in handy at Christmas and when it’s time for them to go back to school.
“With the birth of every one of our children we opened up an account for them, so they had savings and Christmas club accounts,” says Vaine.
She proudly lists off her children, hesitating only at the mention of her second oldest, who was tragically taken from them in a drowning incident at the beginning of 2016.
Vaine wipes away tears as she describes her children and their account statuses right down to the youngest and only girl.
“All of our children bank here with us together,” the Tongan mother says proudly.
“It was my husband’s idea, and because everyone has their own account, they have to have their own money.
“But he made himself the main account holder so that they don’t touch it until they turn 18.”
It’s gotten them into a habit of saving and forward thinking.
Vaine wants to instil in her children the importance of saving and hard work.
It’s why she has her youngest daughter, a high school student, and her youngest son, a university student, work with her part time over the holidays at the Alexandra Racecourse.
“I have them doing the dishes, so they have their own money that they work for,” says Vaine.
“We want to show them how hard manual labour is, so they go to school and do their best to get a good job- not like us.”
Vaine and her husband both work hard for their children, Vaine working both as a bartender and a cleaner full time.
Even though her husband’s wages mostly get taken up by bills and debt the family are paying off, a portion goes into their younger children’s savings.
Transfers to the oldest three’s accounts stopped when they were old enough to get full-time jobs.
“When school starts they use their own back to school money for uniforms and school stationery and books,” says Vaine about the Back to School account.
The Back to School account has been invaluable, especially after the Christmas rush- which NZCU Employees also help them take care of thanks to the Christmas club.
Getting her children back to school with everything they need has always been a breeze.
“I don’t stress with my kids expenses because they have their own accounts which they can use for school things in January.
“At the beginning of the year they just go to school and get stationery lists, school fees and everything and we come here and sort it out using their own accounts and that’s it.
“No stressing, especially at the beginning of the year, after Christmas.”
The Lavaka family have always relied on NZCU Employees, and say the credit union has been a pillar of strength for them through some tough times.
“When we lost our son, they did everything to help. Even recently when my husband lost his father, they helped us with that too.
“The credit union is like family – from when I began my own family until now.”
Vaine can’t thank the credit union enough, “they’ve helped us with planning, budgeting, saving and of course loans.
“Sometimes we have something come up that we can’t afford and when we come here they help.”
The savings habits have not stopped with just her children either, as Vaine says her eldest son has done the same thing with his five boys.
“Most of our extended family use other main banks, but for us we stick with NZCU Employees.”