Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard has thrown his weight behind Money Week, which starts today, saying Kiwis need to learn how to better manage their money.

Bollard said financial literacy needs to start in the classroom, so children won't make their parents' mistakes.

"There is an increasing understanding of the importance of financial literacy around the world and I believe developing this capability begins in the classroom. We need to equip our children with the skills to manage their money so they make wise decisions in their future," Bollard said.

"Investing in financial education in schools will also mean younger generations have an understanding of the global financial context which is especially important during a recession."


Otahuhu College and Onehunga High School are two schools already embracing the idea and working to ensure students are financially savvy when they graduate.

Both Auckland schools teach a 12-week course to year 10 students (14- to 15-year-olds) on the importance of saving, budgeting and borrowing.

But it is not just children who need to know how to balance their budget. Monetary skills are a national focus in this week's Money Week.

Created by the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income, the week focuses on teaching Kiwis how to manage their money.

Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan said: "We teach our children to tie their shoelaces, cross the road and drive a car - why are we not more committed to teaching them about how to manage money?"

Otahuhu College head of commerce Monty Naidoo said most of their students are from low-decile backgrounds and are not taught these skills at home.

"The students lack budgeting skills, like many New Zealanders," Naidoo said. "By learning how to do this children can then teach these skills to their parents."

Head of the business department at Onehunga High School Linda Everett said financial literacy is embedded in all aspects of the business curriculum.

She said the school had a responsibility to teach financial skills, and one of their initiatives included an overseas trip every two years. Students applied to attend and those who planned to get a job and pay their own way were more likely to be selected.

* The Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income (the team responsible for Sorted) has launched New Zealand's first annual Money Week.
* This is a series of financial education events and activities will be undertaken by many different organisations around the country to raise awareness of how people can better manage their money and get help to do so.