Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Pacific homeowners urged to prioritise their mortgage payments

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Avatar photo
Anauli Karima Fai'ai | Reporter/Director

Pacific homeowners are struggling to stay afloat during the cost of living crisis, with many at risk of losing their homes due to mortgage arrears.

Poutasi Ikiua, of Auckland, was on the brink of losing her home when she was issued a property act law notice after falling behind on her mortgage payments.

“It was really hard. It was stressful. It was a headache,” she says.

“My family did help me, but they can only help me so much because they have families themselves.”

She turned to the Vaiola Pacific Island Budgeting Service for help upon realising that further inaction could leave her homeless.

“It was scary, but I thought I couldn’t do that to myself, you know.

“[Vaiola] helped me with a lot of phone calls with the bank, using my KiwiSaver in order to save my house.”

Now she can keep afloat through strict budgeting, which has helped her retain the home her parents purchased over three decades ago.

“I wouldn’t like to go down that road again of losing my house. I’d rather just stay on top of things now,” she says.

“I was shy to ask for help, but I had to, you know, because if it wasn’t for that, where am I going to turn to? If you get yourself into situations like this, it’s good to get yourself out.”

Another homeowner, who did not want to be named, also approached Vaiola, after falling behind on the mortgage payments for her two Auckland properties because of remittances to Tonga.

“Sometimes I thought to myself, leave the mortgage for next week,” she says.

“When I get into falling behind on my payments, I thought to myself ‘, I better listen to the budgeter and put my mortgage payment first because it’s good to have your own home.”

The budgeting service has been dealing with a rising number of referrals from homeowners struggling to make ends meet due to the cost of living crisis.

Service Manager, Vai Harris, says many Pacific people underestimate the importance of mortgage payments, often prioritising other expenses instead.

“Some of our people [have] too many debts. Too many loans. Also [they] should be living on the wages and income they’re getting [or] benefit, but they live beyond their means,” she says.

Vaiola has been helping its clients get back on track by helping them to pay off their debts and providing financial mentoring.

“It’s our job to give them a planner. Teach them how to manage their money. Teach them what to spend and what to pay.”

“Stop buying food every day. Some of our people, they [buy] takeaways five days, six days [a week]. Pay to cook food – much, much healthier.”

Stay Connected

Subscribe to our mailing list to receive daily updates direct to your inbox!

*we hate spam as much as you do