Dogs wearing high vis vests to hunt down possums and kids earning pretend money at school. Sounds like the basis for 2017 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Taika Waititi’s next screenplay, but these goings-on are actually part of Kiwibank’s partnership programme. These partnerships are about doing good for New Zealand, something that Kim Waghorn, Kiwibank’s Brand Lead, says is an essential part of the organisation.

“It’s in our DNA and it flows in our blood: we’re Kiwis making Kiwis better off.”

Kiwibank has some big ambitions for New Zealand, and their partnerships with like-minded organisations allows them to magnify their impact. Kim says “Our partnerships are about the exchange of skills, expertise and different views.

“We really are in there with our sleeves rolled up. Our partnerships are based on a lot of respect and understanding for where each other is coming from and connecting to the things that matter most to New Zealanders.”

Dogs in high vis

Kiwibank has partnered with the Department of Conservation to get in behind Conservation Dogs — a world-leading programme using highly-trained dogs to locate our threatened native species and track down the introduced pests that threaten them (follow @conservationdogsnz on Instagram for your fix of very good dogs). Kiwibank and Predator Free New Zealand Trust work alongside local schools and communities to achieve the goal of getting a trap in every fifth backyard across New Zealand (got yours, yet?).

Read more about the Conservation Dogs Programme

Sharks in suits

As well as taking on stoats, possums and rats, Kiwibank has partnered with Ngā Tangata Microfinance to take on (loan) sharks. Providing financial mentors to work closely and one-on-one with clients to give budget advice and guidance, Ngā Tangata Microfinance can also provide a one-off, fee-free loan for debt relief. This holistic approach of providing both financial relief and education is enabling Kiwis to get on top of their debt — it’s about giving people the confidence to take control of their financial future and to have more open, upfront conversations about money.

Read more about Ngā Tangata

Play money

Understanding money and how it works in everyday life is a vital life skill, and yet for most of us, we haven’t been taught it. In fact, talking about money can be pretty awkward; it’s up there on the list of acceptable dinner party conversations along with ‘how’s your sex life?’ and ‘who’d you vote for?’ To help ensure the next generation are more financially savvy, Kiwibank has helped to bring Banqer, a fun, fictional, online economy into 3,300 classrooms around New Zealand.

In classrooms with Banqer, kids are paid a weekly salary from which they pay expenses (like desk rent), decide how to spend their discretionary income (use of toasted sandwich press at lunchtime, perhaps), earn interest on savings, buy houses and get insurance (or not). Armed with financial skills and knowledge, these kids will hit the ground running when they become part of the real life economy and through understanding how their money works, be empowered to talk more openly about it.

Read more about Banqer


Kiwibank partners with Ākina Foundation to build the social enterprise sector in New Zealand, helping purpose-drive businesses such as Loomio, BBM and Humanitix to grow and thrive. Loomio provides open source software to help organisations make their decision-making more participative and easy. BBM works to reduce obesity amongst the New Zealand Polynesian and Māori communities through its communal-approach healthy lifestyle programme. While Humanitix is redirecting those pesky service fees we pay on event tickets towards solving global inequality and using digital technology to help include disabled people in live events.

“The ongoing and long-term success of these social enterprise ventures shows that businesses can follow new models and be financially successful, while also contributing to a more sustainable world — it’s a great thing for Kiwibank to be a part of" says Kim.

Read more about Akina

Extrodinary ordinary New Zealanders

The Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award recognises Kiwis who have achieved extraordinary things and made a positive difference to the lives of New Zealanders. Now coming into its 10th year, previous winners have included Taika Waititi, public health advocate Dr Lance O'Sullivan and former All Black captain Richie McCaw. The 2018 winner, Kristine Bartlett, had her name written into Aotearoa’s history for her advocacy on behalf of underpaid health sector workers. Bartlett’s win was unquestionably a feel-good, goosebumps-down-your-arms moment for all New Zealanders.

Read more about New Zealander of the Year

Good for Kiwis (birds and humans)

Kiwibank are helping to shape young New Zealanders whose eyes are so much more open to the world around them. It’s a world where dogs help us to protect the environment, seven-year-olds know how to manage a budget and our neighbourhoods might one day be predator-free — of loan sharks and other introduced threats. It’s how Kiwibank are helping to make all Kiwis (both the humans and birds) better off.

- By Frances Speer

What else are we doing to make Kiwis better off?

Doing what’s right for New Zealand is part of our foundation – through our policies, processes, community involvement and by partnering with organisations that are making a difference.

Read more about community & partnerships