On the right track
“We’re the communities that have traditionally struggled when it comes to managing our money,” he says.
“There isn’t even a word for what we call budget among our languages, so the idea of saving your money is not ingrained in us. But it can be. We have to learn about it.”
As General Manager of the NZCU Employees, approximately 90% of members are Pacific or Maori (Kona is of Niuean descent).
Half of the credit union’s Pacific member base is bilingual, which prompted Kona to hire Samoan-born and raised Lele Faifai as a Lending and Business Development Manager.
We have also recently recruited Ana who is of Tongan descent. Say hello to Ana next time you visit the credit union.
NZCU Employees is already expanding under Kona’s leadership. As a board member of The Fono, the largest Pacific-owned and operated health and social services provider in Auckland, NZCU Employees is receiving a number of referrals from branches of the Fono throughout Auckland (in Henderson, Manurewa, Blockhouse Bay and Auckland city) to help with financial literacy.
“We’ve also established relationships with organisations like Oceania Career Academy, which delivers trades training for young Pacific people and helps them secure trades apprenticeships, as well as helping in-coming Indian students. They’re young, educated, keen and have got to start somewhere. We’re equipped to help them.”
With its own licensed banking system, and 60% of Fletcher Building Ltd employees (one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies) members of NZCU Employees, Kona says they have a strong base to build from.
Kona says many potential members have no track record of saving and don’t think that starting with a modest deposit will make a difference.
He insists they’re mistaken.
“Even if you’re only putting in $5-10 a week, you’re starting to learn and develop a good habit. After a while you won’t even notice it building up. That’s when you know you’re on the right track.”
Talk to us
If you’d like to discuss getting your own finances on track, contact us for a chat today!
Phone: 09 579 0448
Visit: 591 Great South Road, Penrose, Auckland 1061