AFLPP Network: What really changes our financial behaviour?

photo-1457805552964-d90a8f9a578fKia Ora and thanks to everyone who came along to the fascinating conversation about what really works when supporting individuals, families and communities to change their financial behaviours. Scan the notes for some information about meetings that are coming up.

Rebecca Ruwhia- Collins, Coordinator G-Fit and smoking cessation behaviour change specialist

Behaviour Change: what can we do to strengthen the chances?
Key points from the AFLPP session March 11, 2016

Rebecca applied public health-related behaviour change thinking and strategies to the financial wellness sector in her presentation.

Changing behaviour means managing the push/pull factors relating to increasing capability, increasing (or decreasing) the Opportunity and increasing the right kind of motivation for the desired behaviours.

Key points included:

  • Build in support and accountability to a group / buddy / family  members –“you are not alone”
  • Build self-regulation into the design: have people identify their own strategies for behaving differently – that helps them take responsibility and builds in that accountability e.g. “How could you can avoid going out to the shop truck when it arrives?” What do you want to do differently?” What would be a first step to get where you want to go?

Increase people’s readiness to act in the first session by asking them about the behaviour that brought them into the room, one specific behaviour they want to change. Talk about getting into the right space, about having a ‘ready head’

Have everyone set a start time for taking action

Incorporate the TOP 5  behaviour change strategies:

build rapport; describe what a budget is (and can do for you in language that the group can relate to); help participants set a start date; track progress (via money diaries, payments made in a week etc); secure their commitment to reduce debt –through the support and self-regulation approaches above.

Nicola Gamble, Behavioural insights Manager, Commission for Financial Capability

Nicola talked about the behaviour change frameworks the commission is using presentation here.

Behaviour change is about starting a new behaviour, stopping a behaviour that harms, preventing taking up something harmful and changing a behaviour someone already has.
The EAST framework was a highlight – make behaviour change strategies Easy, Accessible, Social and Timely.

Tips that resonated:

build in support and peer to peer recommendations

Tales from the Tent – starting conversations with the public, using a starter question (and a tent!)

Showcase success – where other  people who have adopted the desired behaviour

Key life events are learning moments –tailor our financial literacy approaches to big events like weddings, the birth of children, going flatting

Visualise the desired behaviour – so people know where they are going!


AFLPP Network: Building Pasifika Financial Capability – Actions and Insights

11057395_896794533702344_2568264420427970974_oAt the latest Auckland Financial Literacy Practitioners & Providers (AFLPP) network meeting we had three amazing speakers share some powerful stories about the power of budgets.

Keeping with the meeting’s theme: Building Pasifika Financial Capability – Actions and Insights, the speakers shared how families transformed once they started managing their income differently.

First up was the Community Development Manager for the Cook Island Development Agency, Rourina Brown, who spoke of a research project – From Turanga to Ora’anga Mou – that involved 20 Cook Island families and highlighted why it is important for services to understand the collective as well as the individual’s need.

Next up was Geoff Fariu, who shared how the ‘Akara Mamao’ church in Tamaki is running a six week home-ownership focused programme that is followed up with a detailed financial plan and coaching, including ongoing peer support.

This programme shows how housing can be a real catalyst for change, linking home-ownership focused financial literacy with ongoing support enables families to clear debt, improve credit ratings and get a sense of hope and purpose for their financial future.

Lastly, Pelenatete Lam Sam presented on how Vaka Tautua is incorporating financial literacy into support for Pacific families who care for disabled family members.

As many of the families in these programmes had no idea what a budget was, let alone how to create one, the speakers said it’s important to remember that budgets need to recognise what people care about – family, church and cultural obligations, which should not be seen as additional, but essential to their way of life.

Another important theme that came up multiple times during the meeting was the value of education. Education is one way families can save for the future – as if families invest time into the education of their children, the whole family will have a better life together.


Alison Sutton - Winner 2015

Oral language skills are an important part of learning, and yet research has shown that roughly a third of young people lack the necessary language skills needed to make a great start on reading.

COMET Auckland and Learning Auckland are sponsoring Talking Matters, a collaboration of representatives from more than 30 organisations in teacher education, health, early learning, family services, child development researchers, parenting programmes, family literacy and government.

Talking Matters is raising awareness of the importance of early oral language and will explore ways to encourage and upskill families and educators to provide the richest oral language environment possible.

Two forums have explored the importance of early oral language and school readiness and considered strategies that are effective in growing the communication confidence of children in their first few years. Already some of the participating organisations have made small changes to their practice as a result of the information shared.

Talking Matters is drawing on insights from Alison Sutton’s Winston Churchill Fellowship early in 2015 when she looked at city-wide literacy initiatives. Enhancing oral language in families and in early learning and family services emerged as a key strand of action in the cities Alison visited in England and the USA. Alison has been active in the media, advocating for more attention and action on children’s oracy. We are encouraging adults to talk, sing, read and tell stories to their kids as much as they can – simple, free and easy strategies that make a big difference.

NEXT STEPS: Talking Matters has been in a scoping phase this year. More network meetings are planned for 2015, a work programme is being developed and we are applying for funding to support this collaboration.

If you’d like more information on Talking Matters, please contact Alison Sutton, COMET Auckland’s Manager, Literacy, at

Why Fathers should encourage their kids to read

books_blue_photography_pink_abstract_hd-wallpaper-1879901COMET Auckland manager for literacy and family learning Alison Sutton spoke to about the gender gap in literacy and oracy, and how we can help combat it this Father’s Day and Tuesday’s International Literacy Day.

In Auckland primary schools, 81% girls are reading at or above the standard level for their age, compared to 72.6% of boys who are reading at the same level.

These figures are significantly lower down in South Auckland areas captured by Auckland Council’s The Southern Initiative programme, with only 58.9% of boys reading at or above the standard for their age.

“Those figures are really worrying, because the gaps in literacy between girls and boys widen as young people go through their education journey,” said Alison.

As these boys grow into adulthood, this can result in a lack of the basic literacy skills needed for adults to do their jobs, said Alison, and can have a negative impact on their children’s reading.

“We need to build the literacy levels of parents and caregivers so that our young people can get the best start in school, and adults can thrive in their work,” she said.

There’s a call for an increased focus on literacy for boys and men across the country, so in keeping with the Father’s Day and International Literacy Day theme, COMET Auckland is encouraging fathers and father-figures to spend more time talking, reading and singing with their kids.

If you’re interested in reading the full article click here, or if you want to know more about oracy programme Talking Matters, click here.

Help promote Talking Matters this International Literacy Day

Talking MattersSupporting parents to help their kids learn is the key to getting more children reading successfully and getting the best start in education.

Oral language is the foundation for literacy, so we’re using International Literacy Day – Tuesday 8 September – to promote the importance of talking, singing, storytelling and reading to children.

Before we can read and write, we have to speak, listen and understand, so children need to be exposed to an abundance of language in their everyday lives.

A great way to grow children’s brains is through conversational turns – where the conversation goes back and forth between the adult and child at least five times (this is more than asking them questions).

Here are seven things you can do to support literacy and oracy on International Literacy Day:

  • Dedicate the day to storytelling – invite a couple of parents to tell stories about their lives, or to tell the legends of their families and cultures
  • Read aloud – read to your own kids or have them read to you or each other. Have every class read at the same time
  • Create a random act of reading – grab a pile of books and take your children to read in the public such as the park, a café, or even on the footpath
  • Spread the word – tell parents a couple of simple, free and easy ways to help grow their children’s brain by talking, singing and reading to them. One great idea is to make a collaborative digital book with your children
  • Have a book swap next week – bring in books from home, ask other parents to do the same, and have a book swap
  • With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, ask all the Dads or father-figures you know to read to their children, and post a photo of it on social media
  • Spread the word to your staff at work by having a short training session about the importance of oral language and consider how as an employer you might help improve literacy for your own staff

Keep up with us online

We will be posting facts, stats and updates about International Literacy Day and Talking Matters on Twitter – you can follow us here.

If you’re on Twitter, use #TalkingMatters in your tweets to help get our message across.

If you want to know more information about Talking Matters click here, or check out the links below for some recent interviews and articles on oracy and literacy:

Let’s Read Them a Story! The power of parents

All parents want to help their children learn, but parents sometimes feel unsure of the best way to help. New research shows that parents with relatively little time and no specialised knowledge can still support their children’s learning effectively.

Let’s Read Them a Story! The Parent Factor in Education, a 2013 OECD report shows that many parent-child activities linked with better reading performance among students involve relatively little time and no specialised knowledge. Key actions parents can take:

  • Reading books to children when they are just beginning primary school
  • Talking with teenagers about topical political or social issues
  • Reading themselves: When parents are interested in reading, children are more likely to be interested too.

The OECD research also highlighted that parental involvement in education is essential for the success of children throughout their school years and beyond.

Reading to children isn’t easy for everyone. Parents who are not confident readers may find it hard to help their children with reading; others may not know the importance of reading to children,particularly younger children. Growing Up in New Zealand: Now We Are Born (Morton S. et al, 2012), the second report in a longitudinal study of children born here in 2010, has found family differences in reading by the time the children were nine months old:

  • 16% of mothers and 38% of fathers in the study reported they seldom or never read to their babies at nine months of age, despite only 2% of parents saying they had no books in the home
  • 4% of mothers and 15% of fathers seldom or never sing or tell stories to their babies.

Helping parents develop reading confidence and skills is crucial if we want to break intergenerational cycles of low literacy.

What would it take to support all families and whānau to read, sing and tell stories more often to their children (including babies)?  Imagine what might happen if every child in the country had an adult read to them 10 minutes a day, every day of their preschool lives!  What would it take if we had storytellers and readers all over our communities so there was reading in parks, libraries, community centres, churches, marae?



The Solomon Group, COMET Auckland’s delivery partner for family learning and literacy, wrapped MoneyMinded into Whānau Ara Mua (a family learning programme where second-chance learners complete a Level 2 Certificate in Family Learning and Child Development). This enabled the parents on the course to improve their literacy and maths while also learning skills with money. After the course, 82% of the participants said they had started to put money aside for family emergencies. The impact report shows that greater financial literacy increases personal confidence and reduces stress. A carefully crafted financial literacy programme can have a really positive difference, as illustrated by the recent impact report on the ANZ’s MoneyMinded programme

One of MoneyMinded’s strengths has been that it is designed for use by adults with low reading and maths skills, something that is not always recognised in financial literacy programmes.

For more information on MoneyMinded, you can access the ANZ Impact Report here

To access the full version of our April 2015 Newsletter and read more of the projects we are involved in, please click here to check it out and subscribe.