Help­ing kids learn about money


Vane Sopoaga knows money mat­ters.

The ASB GetWise fa­cil­i­ta­tor spends his days teach­ing money lit­er­acy to pupils, largely in the Welling­ton re­gion, and has just reached a mile­stone. On Thurs­day, at Rangikura School in Porirua, Sopoaga de­liv­ered one of his work­shops to his 100,000th pupil.

The num­ber, he says, was achieved over six years of ‘‘just preach­ing the good word of fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy’’.

In to­tal, he has de­liv­ered more than 4000 work­shops to more than 257 schools.

With a back­ground in dance, per­form­ing arts and so­cial work, Sopoaga – and his per­sonas of Cap­tain Cash­tas­tic and P.T, a per­sonal trainer – brings en­ergy and fun to the class­room as a way of teach­ing kids what money is and how to earn and save it.

‘‘If we can have the abil­ity to just nudge them, just gen­tly, into a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion where they’re go­ing to make some bet­ter fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions, it can have a huge im­pact on their lives.’’

Sopoaga says he didn’t learn any­thing he teaches dur­ing his school years.

‘‘I saved up my whole pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate years and I ended up sav­ing $8.80,’’ he says.

‘‘And as soon as I got it out with my bank book, me and my brother took the train from Pukerua Bay to Porirua to the McDon­alds, and that was the first Big Mac I’ve ever eaten. I saved up all those years and bought a Big Mac.’’

ASB be­gan its GetWise pro­gramme in 2009.

The work­shops fit the school cur­ricu­lum and are de­signed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ex­perts in pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion and cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment.


Vane Sopoaga teaches a class about fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy.

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