With inflation at a 32-year high on the back of more expensive housing, food and fuel costs, it’s getting harder for all whānau in Aotearoa to save as much as they want (or should) – if they can save anything at all.
But the rise in the cost of living shows exactly why creating a culture of savings and investment is so important.
Over the past five years, the hapū has contributed almost $8 million (after tax) to members’ Toi Tupu savings accounts in the annual distributions.
While the funds can be left to gain interest over time (at a rate that is generally higher than term deposits on offer from banks), Toi Tupu also allows for whānau to withdraw their funds when they need it. And increasingly, we are seeing Toi Tupu assist whānau struggling to make ends meet.
More than $250,000 of hardship withdrawals were made during the year (from July 2021 – June 2022), an increase of 60% compared to same period the year prior. And, in the past four months alone, $150,000 of withdrawals have been made due to financial hardship. Living and vehicle costs made up the biggest percentage of withdrawal applications along with support to cover dental and tangihanga costs.
While Toi Tupu withdrawals may not be a long-term solution to financial problems, we are pleased whānau have this option to turn to when they are struggling. Part of creating a culture of savings and investment is empowering people to make positive financial decisions – choosing to dip into savings is often wiser than borrowing money and getting further in debt.
It's also pleasing to hear of whānau who have withdrawn their Toi Tupu savings to assist with purchasing a first home – a significant achievement. Stories like this demonstrate the success of the scheme and illustrate exactly how it is contributing to the growth of ngā uri o Tuperiri.
We hope Toi Tupu will also be a help to those looking to purchase a whare at the new papa kāinga housing in Ōrākei.
While the benefits of the scheme are clear, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure as many whānau as possible are reaping these rewards.
Currently, 4,651 whānau are enrolled in Toi Tupu – that’s 69% of those who are registered with the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust. While this is fantastic progress, it means almost 2,000 whānau are still missing out on the opportunity to grow their pūtea.
Our ultimate goal is to get every single whānau member, whether they’re in Aotearoa or abroad, enrolled in the Toi Tupu saving scheme.
So please, if you or any of your whānau are not yet enrolled, we encourage you to do so – it is free and easy to sign up online. You can do so here: www.ngatiwhatuaorakeiwhairawa.com/toi-tupu/enrol/