Fi­nance dif­fer­ences lead to trou­ble

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

New mi­grants face many chal­lenges when first ar­riv­ing in New Zealand, but some­times their lives are made tougher by our as­sump­tions about money.

Ter­e­moana ‘‘Terry’’ Tanga­maki is one such ex­am­ple.

He was raised in the Cook Is­lands by his grand­par­ents and at the age of 27 he ar­rived in Porirua to meet his par­ents and si­b­lings.

Nei­ther he nor his fam­ily re­alised quite how dif­fer­ently the two coun­tries ap­proach money. Terry found out the hard way.

As he says, life in the Is­lands is about self suf­fi­ciency. You have your own land, you grow your own food, you have your own chick­ens, and you fish.

To pay for the few bills he had, he worked at the famed Palace Take­aways in Raro­tonga. You have to make your own way there as only the very young and the very old are en­ti­tled to ben­e­fits.

When he ar­rived in New Zealand, he moved into a state house. He got a job. Af­ter a cou­ple of years, Bay­corp started knock­ing on his door.

He ap­pre­ci­ates now that he was naive, but he re­ally had no idea about how to pay bills. No one had ac­tu­ally sat him down and said, ‘‘if you sign up to Sky TV, you will get a monthly bill and the best way to pay it is set up a di­rect debit from your weekly pay’’.

Things got re­ally out of hand fol­low­ing a heart­break­ing split from his wife and child.

For a num­ber of years he went on the ben­e­fit and, af­ter pay­ing for his board, any spare money would go on drink­ing, smok­ing and gam­bling.

It was only when he re­alised that his gam­bling meant he was tak­ing money away from peo­ple who needed it – he would beg friends and fam­ily for money to cover him be­tween pay cheques – that he stopped.

But the fi­nal straw came when he was again board­ing with fam­ily.

‘‘My money was just go­ing’’, he said.

Feel­ing com­pletely out of con­trol, he de­cided to do some­thing about it and joined the Wes­ley Good Cents pro­gramme.

‘‘I chal­lenge ev­ery­one to do this course,’’ he says. ‘‘You learn about your­self and what you are worth, in so many ways.’’

It also pro­vides prac­ti­cal ad­vice, he says.

For ex­am­ple, if you can’t make a bill pay­ment, call the sup­plier and let them know and you can work some­thing out.

An­other thing he learned through the course is to save on bank fees, by us­ing tele­phone bank­ing rather than go­ing into the branch. And set­ting up di­rect deb­its for all bills means a lit­tle can go a long way.

‘‘ I am now in con­trol of my money, not the other way around.’’

This means he can now think about the fu­ture.

He has a sav­ings plan in ac­tion – 10 per cent of what he earns goes into an ac­count so that he and his chil­dren can go to the Is­lands to meet the fam­ily.

And, on his re­turn, he plans to save enough to set up his own take­away shop to ri­val the one in Rara­tonga.

To find out more about the Good Cents Course, con­tact Wes­ley Com­mu­nity Ac­tion on 04 237 7923.

Tak­ing charge: Af­ter years strug­gling with bills and money from oth­ers, Ter­e­moana Tanga­maki has found ways to get ed­u­cated about his fi­nances and ac­cu­mu­late sav­ings.

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