Tumarangai Sciascia

“There are definite barriers [to whānau making use of Whai Rawa]; access is a big one. For example, smartphones, the internet - some whanau don’t have access to that, and some families simply don’t have the financial literacy to understand the importance of savings.”
It’s a problem many are facing in New Zealand, but Whai Rawa is possibly the most simple and customer-friendly saving scheme available - it’s free and it is only for Ngāi Tahu whānau. Opening an account is the first step.

After years of living in Auckland’s fast lanes, Tumarangai Sciascia’s decision to relocate for a quieter lifestyle presented his first real opportunity to draw help from Whai Rawa.

Taking up a role as a Maori Capability Advisor at the New Zealand Treasury in Wellington, Tu (Ngāi Tahu, Oraka Aparima, Awarua), his wife Dee and their 10 month old son made the big shift earlier this year and settled in Pukerua Bay, just outside of Porirua.

For Tu, 34, using his Whai Rawa funds to buy their home in Pukerua Bay was a no-brainer. His experiences as a Whai Rawa member began fairly early on in the scheme’s 10-year life, as his older brother was working at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu alongside current programme leader David Tikao.

“I had finished varsity by the time Whai Rawa came along, so that was when I actually had money to make contributions. And buying a home was always going to come before retirement,” Tu laughs when discussing the three main uses of Whai Rawa savings.

“It takes a bit of work, buying a home. Having to deal with lawyers and getting finance approved… Whai Rawa is just one part of a million things you need to do in order to buy a home.

Despite the stress of engaging lawyers, lining up finance and making offers, Tu is full of praise for the team behind the Whai Rawa name.

“The support was great; if I forgot my online password, all I’d have to do is ring up and they were so helpful. My son is already enrolled and he’s only a few months old.”

As an advisor for Māori Capability with the Treasury, Tu understands the importance of whānau having, and improving, financial literacy.

“There are definite barriers [to whānau making use of Whai Rawa]; access is a big one. For example, smartphones, the internet – some whanau don’t have access to that, and some families simply don’t have the financial literacy to understand the importance of savings.”

It’s a problem many are facing in New Zealand, but Whai Rawa is possibly the most simple and customer-friendly saving scheme available – it’s free and it is only for Ngāi Tahu whānau.

Opening an account is the first step.