Cook Islands National Youth Council secretary Selane Tairea, left, with Kiesha Dais, facilitator for financial workshop Dreams to Dollars: Make Your Money Work For You. Photo credit: Joanne Holden/ 23100810
Teaching young people and families how to thrive, not just survive on the Cook Islands’ minimum wage rate of $9 per hour, is the goal of those behind a workshop about budgeting and using money wisely.
The Cook Islands National Youth Council (CINYC) will
be hosting a free, interactive financial workshop called “Dreams to Dollars:
Make Your Money Work For You” at Arepua Gateway Church in Avarua, Rarotonga,
from 6.30pm to 8pm on Wednesday.
“Investing time into your financial well-being is an
investment in yourself, your family, your future, and your peace of mind,”
CINYC secretary Selane Tairea said.
“I wish there was a resource like this when I was
starting out – when I was trying to shuffle my money everywhere to figure out
the best actions I could take, the basics of budgeting, how to live my best
life and not stress.
“I’m still learning.”
Tairea, 23, said the idea for the workshop was born as
CINYC hashed out its strategic plan, noticing a knowledge gap between leaving
school and entering the workforce.
“We were trying to come up with ways to ease the
transition, to make it seem like it wasn’t such a huge jump,” she said.
“A financial workshop was just one of the ways we came
up with. We thought, ‘What do we wish was taught to us in school to help us
become adults?’ Because us adults, we’re winging it 90 per cent of the time.”
While the workshop was aimed at youth, anybody keen to
learn “how to be smart with your money” was welcome to come along, Tairea said.
“There’s a lot of spaces where we just give people
information, but you walk away not knowing what to do with it. It leaves people
with problems, not solutions.
“Hopefully, this workshop is one way to give you the
tools and the confidence to take action and make the most of the pay you get.”
Tairea said it was “definitely” possible to get ahead
on minimum wage in the Cook Islands, which rose to $9 per hour in July this
year, but “only if you work smart”.
Her number one tip was to “prioritise your money and
“Also, connect with someone whose lifestyle you aspire
to have and aim for that”.
Running the workshop will be former CINYC member
Kiesha Dais – an accredited financial mentor as well as a student voice
facilitator for Massey University in New Zealand, who has returned to the Cook
Islands for a month-long trip.
“It was an opportunity to give back to CINYC, to
partner with CINYC and help them achieve their goals and their dreams,” Dais
“One of the pillars of their current strat plan is business
and well-being, which go hand-in-hand.”
Dais discovered “a lot of people struggling on minimum
wage to make ends meet” when she volunteered to give one-on-one budgeting
advice as part of a fundraiser for Takuvaine Netball, inspiring her to start
Her hope for the workshop was “starting the
conversation” about how to thrive on the amount of money coming into a
household, rather than simply survive.
“It’s an opportunity to have conversations with
like-minded people within the community. It’s knowing everyone doesn’t have to
Workshop goers would also be connected to resources
and pointed towards people in Rarotonga who could help, she said.
“There are supports out there.”
Dais said registering for the event on Facebook would
put a person in the draw to win two lots of $50, which could hopefully be
turned into “something more”.