A new name after 50 years of service

In July, Tauranga Budget Advisory Services will celebrate 50 years of supporting the financial well-being of people from Katikati to Otamarakau.

Although they have been a pillar of support for the Bay of Plenty community for half a century, they have remained agile. Tauranga Budget Advisory Services general manager, Shirley McCombe, says the 50-year milestone is significant.

“Our vision remains unchanged, but the way we work with our clients has evolved over the years,” she says.

McCombe points out that with all the changes, what remains is steadfast support.

“Our role to work alongside our clients providing advocacy, education, and mentoring (budgeting).  What we do is so much more than just creating budgets. It’s the ongoing support that really makes the difference, particularly because clients don’t feel like they are facing their challenges alone”.

Over the past 12 months, the Tauranga Budget Advisory Services team, together with their rōpū and the community, have been working together to develop a name that better represents the way they work with their clients.

The objective of this year long project was to find a name that reflects the reciprocal nature of the services relationship with their clients, the desire to incorporate Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Tikanga Māori into their practice, and a commitment to whanaungatanga (the importance of relationships), manaakitanga (respect and generosity) and kotahitanga (unity).

As a result, from 3 March 2022, they will be known as Bay Financial Mentors Tau Awhi Noa. The new name and logo has significant meaning.

The harakeke (flax), which flourishes along the Bay of Plenty coastline and inland waterways of our region, represents financial wellbeing. Flax mills historically lined the coast and were vital to the financial welfare of Tangata Whenua and others who settled in the area.

The harakeke remains an important taonga (natural treasure) because when nourished the roots of the harakeke thrive and its fibres can be woven together to support the well-being of an entire community.

For Bay Financial Mentors (formally Tauranga Budget Advisory Services), the concept of nourishing and thriving is at the centre of their practice.

“We work alongside our clients, weaving knowledge and experience with theirs to strengthen and support their financial wellbeing. We work to grow their skills and confidence for a future where their family/whanau are at the centre of decision-making,” says Shirley.

The words Tau Awhi Noa speak of embracing and supporting their clients without judgment or limits.

“It is about empowering clients, growing their knowledge and capability, and then sharing those skills to strengthen family/whanau and communities.”

The name may have changed but Bay Financial Mentors services and support continues to be free and available to everyone.  They have financial mentors all across the region as well as offering sessions in the evening via Zoom.  This year between their one on one sessions and education programmes they will deliver approximately 4500 sessions.

“We are going from strength to strength,” explains McCombe “and our service is reaching more people than ever before.”

A big celebration was planned for March but in light of the current Omicron situation the service has decided to delay the celebrations until July.

In the meantime, with the guidance of their Roopu, there will be a karakia (blessing) by local Kaumatua, with the board and staff.