University backs boost to Maori financial literacy

Waikato University is to be part of a government and private sector initiative to boost Maori saving and financial literacy.

The National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, Tukua Kia Rere, at the University of Waikato will join several interested organisations to help create plans and strategies and to complement existing work in designing Maori-specific savings schemes and delivering financial education programmes to Maori.

The group was established in response to the Maori economic development strategy and action plan released by the Maori Economic Development Panel.

The plan identifies Maori saving and financial literacy as a priority work stream.

The initiative will be led by the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income and headed by Phil Broughton, project manager for Maori financial literacy at the commission.

"Whanau want financial security and Maori businesses want to grow while maintaining majority control, so Maori need money in the bank and the first step in that journey is basic financial literacy," he says.

The university will be represented by Professor Diana Coben, director of the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, who also chairs the advisory group of the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income's national 2013 Financial Knowledge and Behaviour Survey.

Professor Coben says the university's historic ties with Maori and its work in the education sector and financial literacy will contribute to developing the group's education stream of work.

"No other university has our historic depth of relationships with Maori, nor the extensive body of research on Maori education needs and initiatives."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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