Primary and Secondary

The New Zealand education system offers many exceptional state schools. The Ministry of Education can help with advice on getting your tamariki through school. See:
However, even with “free” education there are a number of extra costs that need to be budgeted for. These include: 
  • Uniforms/ Sports gear 
  • Stationery
  • Sports 
  • School Trips/ Camps
Many schools also ask for donations. These are voluntary contributions which help towards costs not covered by government funding, such as extra sports equipment. If your financial situation means that paying this donation is difficult for you then talk to the school directly. Many schools will set up automatic payments for donations so you can pay them off over time and with no interest. 

In order to meet these costs it pays to plan ahead. If you put aside a little each week then this will take the strain off. You can also try spreading out the purchases as much as you can or putting them on lay-by so that the financial hit does not come all in one go. 

When choosing a school think about these expenses as these can differ drastically depending on where you send your tamariki. If the school you choose does require a uniform consider getting a second hand uniform as new uniforms can be costly. The WINZ office can also help you with these payments, but they normally need to be repaid. 

School holidays

School Holidays are also something that requires a budget. If you can’t take the time off make a plan of who they will be with. There are a number of options, but some are more expensive than others. 
  • Paid childcare – but this can be very expensive. 
  • Many schools have holiday programmes or sports camps. 
  • Some older children like to have a holiday job. 
  • Exchange deals with non-working friends or relatives. 
  • Some children may be old enough to babysit but this takes good organization and rule-setting if it is to work well. 
  • Council holiday programmes.

Whenever you are able to take the kids try to plan the time you have with them. This will avoid stress and nagging – and you caving in to them take them to the movies or the mall. 
Make jobs around the house fun! Holidays provide a great opportunity to clean out the garage, go to the recycling centre, paint the house, do the garden, etc. Kids love to be involved and to work alongside adults. Don’t be conned into thinking you have to provide expensive ‘treat’ activities – many kids would much rather just do things with Mum or Dad, things that need to be done anyway. 


Most whānau have to ration their money for trips and treats. What will your whānau choose? Involve the tamariki in the choices and planning – they can have a budget for petrol, food, treats, rides, etc. If you involve them in the budget/plan they will not only learn a great deal but will cease nagging for more. 

Chill Out

It’s OK to do nothing sometimes! Our modern world sends us messages that we should be in perpetual motion but we all need quiet times. It’s a great idea to reserve whānau time for doing nothing – have a sleep, lie in the shade, read a magazine, listen to the radio. And it’s good for kids to learn to be self-reliant. Use the holiday period for some quiet time for everyone in the whānau. Allocate a couple of hours each day to chill time!


Deciding to study at tertiary level is a financial commitment that should not be taken lightly. While student loans are readily available the downside is that it is easy to amass huge debt and this can be something that sticks with you for a long time! It is also getting increasingly difficult for students to get by on the weekly student loan or allowance payments without additional support from a job or whānau. 

1) Help them make the right decision. 

Tertiary education can be a great way of investing in your future career as well as a mind opening experience. However, it is not the best option for everyone. Embarking on study (particularly at universities) is a massive investment and careful consideration needs to be given as to whether this is right for the individual. 

2) Providing financial support.

The cost of tertiary education is something that is best considered as early on as possible. While you can have no idea what your tamariki may or may not want to be doing 15 or 18 years down the track, having a plan and putting away some money as early as possible will go a long way to avoiding them entering the workforce with crippling debt. Starting a savings account, either in your tamariki’s name or your own may be a good option. Make sure it is an account with limited access to ensure the money stays there for its intended purpose. If you have other more pressing financial goals there are other ways that you can support your tamariki financially. This includes, providing accommodation at the whānau home while they are studying or helping out with some kai when they are finding it financially difficult. If they are really struggling to get by most universities have provisions for student hardship (however, these can only be used in serious circumstances). 

3) Avoid the bank loans. 

The banks all vie for students custom and offer attractive deals to students. Encourage your tamariki to make the most of low bank charges, but they need to be aware that offers such as interest free loans should be avoided so as to avoid the stress of extra debt down the track. 

4) Scholarships. 

If your tamariki is at the stage in their education where they are thinking about tertiary study, there may well be scholarships available that they are eligible for. Te Tapuae o Rehua, provides some scholarships through their partner institutions and can provide information on other scholarships available. 

To find out what they offer, check out the website: The Maori Education Trust offers financial assistance by way of scholarships for undergraduate Te Rūnanga Group also support a number of fully funded university degrees in the areas of property, tourism and commercial related fields. The Universities New Zealand page also has links to many scholarships: 

5) Support.

The most important support that whānau and friends can give to those who are studying is not financial, but emotional which means supporting your loved ones when the going gets tough. Helping them reach their full potential by looking after their emotional needs is key to their success.