A Better Way


A Better Way


Mele Siaosi Pese says her traditional Samoan upbringing was always at odds with her western education when it came to money management and credit.

However, with NZCU Employees Mele has found a better way to manage and lessen her debt while saving money.

The mother of four and grandmother of eight suffered challenging financial problems which are only just coming right, largely thanks to NZCU Employees.

Born in Auckland to parents who hailed from Samoa (from the villages of Faleasi’u and Falefa) and met in New Zealand, Mele was raised in a primarily traditional Samoan household.

Despite having a good education, Mele admits she has struggled with managing her money, particularly in struggling to say no when it came to contributing to fa’alavelave (Samoan word for events requiring monetary contributions).

Looking back on her financial journey, Mele still can’t believe that until now hers was not a tale of financial success.

“When you come from that kind of childhood and background, although your education is palagi (white) and in New Zealand, you’re from a Samoan traditional family, the issue is you not knowing how to manage money,” says Mele.

“No financial institution has ever asked me to be their member success story on a monthly newsletter.”

That’s changing, part thanks to the tremendous help afforded to her by NZCU Employees and the staff onsite.

“People might think that taking a loan out at the credit union isn’t the answer but actually for some it is, especially if you’ve got really good people that help you and are there for you,” says Mele, who only joined NZCU in 2016 after the death of her father, who passed away just five months after her mother.

Although her adult children had stepped up with contributions, she still needed to come up with a big amount of money for the fa’alavelave. A friend who was working at NZCU at the time rang her and told her to come into the branch to see what the credit union could do for her.

“I came here with my car and there was a little finance left on it, which they paid that off along with a few other debts and provided $5000 for dad’s funeral.

“It started off from there and I was very good at repayments.”

Mele, however, then struck some hard times with payments becoming thinner, but she would speak to someone in the branch and never once felt judged or looked down upon.

“Although I have been told a couple of times ‘no’ when I’ve asked for a loan, that was actually good for me,” she admits sheepishly.

NZCU Employees has helped curb the urge to hit up loan sharks.

“You think, ‘Aw nah, I’m desperate’, and then you become used to it, which is not good,” she says.

“But what happens at this place (NZCU Employees) is you don’t just get a loan out at a very low interest rate, but they force me to have savings. And, for the first time ever, I’ve got nearly $4000 in a savings account.”

With a Loan Provider Account, Mele has been encouraged to form good savings habits, as her savings are used as collateral for the loan she has with the credit union and funds are frozen – only to be withdrawn after 10 working days’ notice.

Moreover the more she saves, the lower her loan interest rate.

As a keen marathon runner, having participated in the Great Wall of China Marathon in 2017 and the Hawaii Marathon in 2018 with financial help from the credit union, Mele understands the beauty of slow burning stamina and gradually building on a strong core to make it through.
She is applying that sentiment to her finances, thanks to NZCU Employees, taking the lessons learnt and running with them towards financial stability.

“I believe in our traditions, I believe in my culture, and I’m so proud to be Samoan,” she says.

“You’ve got to take some of the good from that and the good from this life here in New Zealand, this blessed life, and make the most of it.”

If you would like to inquire about a Loan Provider Account click here.