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.

Radio NZ: Susan Warren on the rise of early childcare centres in Auckland


COMET Auckland’s Chief Executive, Susan Warren, spoke with Radio New Zealand about the large number of new early childcare centres that have been established throughout Auckland this year, the highest number since 2009.

Of the 93 new ECE centres, 50 are being run from people’s homes – which is a controversial and often criticised method of delivery.

Susan told Radio NZ this increase could mean good news, but was largely dependent on where the new services were being opened.

“Many of the services that have been just opened this year are in the higher socio-economic areas and they tend to be the areas that are better served already for early learning,” she said

“So it’s a little bit of a concern that not very many of those new services are in low socio-economic areas.

“There seems to be an indication that quality is a bit more variable in home-based services than it is in others and if the pattern is followed, we would have to question what quality those services would be.”

Click here to read the full article.


SnapshotsThis year we created a series of 23 infographics presenting important statistics on education, skills and employment, with a particular focus on families.

The suite of education infographics cover Auckland’s 21 local boards, an Auckland-wide snapshot and, for the first time, information on The Southern Initiative (TSI), which combines data from Mangere-Otahuhu, Manurewa, Otara-Papatoetoe and Papakura.

These snapshots act as a valuable resource for Local Boards, Government, education professionals, community organisations, parents, caregivers and learners, enabling people to understand the key characteristics of their regions and make informed decisions. The infographics have received positive feedback from the Ministry of Education since being released in mid-2015.

The Southern Initiative infographic highlights some of the education and skills gaps affecting Auckland’s southern suburbs:

• The number of school leavers achieving University Entrance is significantly lower in South Auckland at 36.2%, compared to Auckland as a whole, at 57.1%.

• The unemployment rate in South Auckland is at 10.4%, compared to Auckland as a whole, at 5.4%

• 29% of South Aucklanders have no qualifications whatsoever, compared to 16.8% Auckland-wide

• A major concern is the lack of internet for households with children. In South Auckland, 33% of households with school-aged children don’t have Internet access, compared to 15% of families Auckland-wide.

Quotes from stakeholders:

“I met with some of the White House Initiative leaders in education today and gave them copies of your snapshots (Maori, Pasifika) and explained how important these have been. They went down very well with the people I was meeting with.” Professor Airini, Thompson Rivers University, Canada.

“We all love the snapshots” Paul Prestidge, Auckland Council

“I was able to use the Devonport Takapuna snapshot in conversation with the youth board and the new youth board applicants at our meet & greet on Monday evening, very timely.” Steve McLuckie, Auckland Council

“The factsheets were helpful in gaining an understanding of the demographic issues throughout Auckland, and particularly within my ward area.” George Wood, CNZM, Auckland Councillor

If you want to check out the 23 snapshots of the local boards, click here.


COMET Auckland’s Manager, Literacy, Alison Sutton recently won an award for her long-standing commitment to adult literacy and numeracy education.

Fitting with the theme of International Literacy Day, on 8 September, 2015 Alison was awarded the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Leadership Award by the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adult’s Director Professor, Diana Coben.

Alison has been involved in adult literacy for 27 years’, working in research, evaluation and project development roles. At COMET, Alison now leads numerous initiatives related to family learning and literacy across the city, the latest of which is Talking Matters, an Auckland collaboration designed to grow early speakers, listeners and readers.

Earlier this year, Alison was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship, and has since travelled to the UK and the US to research how city-wide literacy campaigns are being developed.

If you want to read more about Alison’s award click here.


COMET Auckland has been collaborating with iwi Mana Whenua, the Department of Conversation (DOC), and Auckland Council to create and establish Mana Whenua Kaitiaki Rangers trainee positions.

These rangers will be helping to conserve the natural and historic heritage on the islands of Motutapu, Motuihe, Kawau, as well as the Waitematā Harbour and the Hunua Ranges.

In addition to the normal training for park rangers, the Kaitiaki Rangers will receive specialised training from Marae Wānanga and iwi Mana Whenua, focusing on local history and the connection to the land, while Tohunga will be involved in developing the knowledge and conservation of the local areas, or kaitiakitanga.

COMET Auckland will be involved in the ongoing establishment, support and development of the training programme with a view to increasing Māori employment opportunities and training development in the wider departments of Auckland Council and DOC.

The objective is inter-generational transmission of knowledge, tikanga and practise and in time the sharing of this indigenous knowledge and practice to all New Zealanders. Training will start in October 2015.

For more information on the work COMET Auckland is doing in Mātauranga Māori or to be involved in the next Tāmaki Makaurau Education Forum, please view our website and/or contact our Māori Education Manager, Hau Rawiri at


english-many-languagesLanguages not only equip us with a means to communicate with one another, they also enrich us socially, culturally, spiritually and economically.

The Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland Languages Strategy aims to establish a shared agenda for a multilingual Auckland, aligning policy and practice to support, promote and foster all the city’s diverse languages and cultures.

The strategy has been developed by multiple language-related organisations, including Asia NZ Foundation, English Language Partners, NZ Association of Language Teachers, Multicultural NZ, University of Auckland, AUT, Victoria University, Community Languages Association of NZ and Auckland Council.

The Auckland Languages Strategy working group will be hosting a conference, in partnership with the Office of Ethnic Communities, to launch the strategy on the 27th November. The conference will include several exciting keynote speakers, workshops to hear about current practice, a chance to engage with the newly-published strategy, and hands-on sessions to contribute to planning for action to support languages in Auckland.

Date: Friday November 27th (save the date)

Venue: Owen Glenn Building, University of Auckland, Grafton Road

Registrations will open in October, and at that stage we will send out official invitations and circulate the programme. If you would like to be kept informed of when registrations open, please email If you would like to endorse the Auckland Languages Strategy, or would like more information about it, please


20150805_111706Papatoetoe High School student Sirila Alao aspires to be a chef in the Navy, so he was thrown straight in the deep end with work experience at SKYCITY Hotel’s 24/7 Staff Restaurant and Room Service kitchen.

Sirila is one of 100 young people working towards a Youth Employability Passport (YEP), an innovative new pilot programme that aims to equip young people with the soft skills employers have identified as being critical to securing and retaining employment.

“With a bit more training, I feel like I could even get a job as an apprentice chef,” said Sirila. “Through the YEP, now I know how to write a CV and how to act properly at a job interview.”

The YEP is currently being trialled in three schools and a youth training organisation this year. COMET Auckland plans to increase the number of students and sites involved in a wider trial next year.

Our Skills Manager, Shirley Johnson, recently spoke with HRM Online about how the objectives of YEP, click here. For more information on the Youth Employability Passport, please contact Shirley at


mould for newsletterSouthSci, the south Auckland pilot of the MBIE-funded  Science in Society: Participatory Science Platform project, is proceeding at a steady clip with an excellent level of interest and enthusiasm from the community and science sector alike. Two projects have successfully secured funding in our first intake, with results from the second intake due in the next few weeks.

The first project to kick off is led by Nick Pattison at Rongomai Primary, in partnership with Manurewa High School Health Academy, looking at mould in houses. In preparation for their own research, students from the Health Academy looked at different types of cultured mould under the microscope. Nick showed them how swabs could be taken from walls and windowsills in the homes.

The second project to receive funding is based at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, led by Shauna Eldridge in partnership with Armagan Sabetian from AUT. The project will investigate water quality in the Otara Creek which runs along the boundary of the school grounds.

SouthSci was featured in a story by the Manukau Courier, so if you’re interested in finding out click here here and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

If you have an idea for a project, or would like to hear more about the projects mentioned above, please email our SouthSci project manager, Dr Sarah Morgan at


We are pleased to announce the COMET Auckland annual report for 2014/2015 is now available online. We invite you to browse through our recent work and achievements, and to learn how we are working with partners and stakeholders across the city to drive better educations outcomes for all Aucklanders.
The report summarises our actions and outcomes for 2014/15 and gives an overview of our strategic directions for the year ahead, contributing towards systems change to make education and skills in Auckland more effective and equitable.

We hope you find our annual report a useful tool to better understand the work we are doing and how your organisation can collaborate with us in your part of the education and skills system.

You can access the annual report here.