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Financial capability in an enterprise context at Aorere College

Meriane Brown teaches year 13 business studies.

Developing financial capability within an enterprise context provides students with an authentic learning context to develop and apply understandings about budgeting, spending choices, and managing risk.

“Financial literacy is defined as the ability to make informed judgments and effective decisions on the use and management of money. Being financially literate gives students choices, helps to protect them from unexpected events, and enables them to have a voice as consumers and citizens.”

June 2012 Charting a course: A review of financial education in New Zealand, p. 7

Teaching financial capability in an enterprise context
Teacher Meriane Brown talks about the financial capabilities her year 13 students develop as part of Lunches for Less, the year-long enterprise project her students are working on. 

Teaching approach

Meriane facilitates her year 13 students’ learning about financial capability within the context of setting up and running their own business over a year. This is done in conjunction with the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme.

Students work in groups to come up with their own ideas for a business and develop them successfully. They set up their own company, create real products or services, compile and implement a business plan, and make real profit or loss. Throughout the year students develop business knowledge, financial capability, and key competencies through teamwork, communication, problem-solving, negotiation, and decision-making. To facilitate students in realising their vision, Meriane provides support, advice, and guidance in problem-solving and time management.

Financial capability – approaches to teaching and learning
Identifying what motivates students, recognising the impact of students’ values and culture on learning, and providing an authentic learning context engages students, giving them ownership of their own learning and contributing to the successful approach Meriane has developed in her classroom. 

Cultural perspective

The majority of the mainly Pasifika students at Aorere get a real sense of satisfaction, pleasure, and self-worth from giving – particularly to their own community and cultural groups – rather than being motivated by profit. The result is a lot of not-for-profit business ventures. Within this context, students learn how to budget successfully, make wise spending choices, and manage risk.  


New Zealand Curriculum achievement objectives used as a basis to develop learning intentions.

Social sciences


Students will gain knowledge, skills, and experience to:

  • understand that well-functioning markets are efficient but that governments may need to intervene where markets fail to deliver efficient or equitable outcomes
  • understand how the nature and size of the New Zealand economy is influenced by interacting internal and external factors.

Financial capability progressions

Budgeting and financial management

  • Prepare, monitor, and adjust a given budget to reflect changing financial circumstances, and achieve goals.


  • Discuss different views about making wise spending choices in relation to age and circumstance.

Identifying and managing risk

  • Explain risk and return, and diversification individual/whānau/group financial management. 

Assessment links to achievement standards

  • AS91382: Develop a marketing plan for a new or existing product
  • AS91384: Carry out, with consultation, an innovative and sustainable business activity

Lunches for Less project

The Lunches for Less project is just one of the businesses initiated and run by the year 13 students. In this project students deliver hands-on workshops to years 3 and 4 students from low-decile schools in South Auckland, teaching them how to make a healthy lunch for less than $2 per day. The aim is to support families to make achievable spending and eating changes.

To minimise costs for workshop participants, the Aorere students gained support from local businesses. For example, Tip Top provide bread and Sistema provide lunchboxes and drink bottles for the primary school workshops. Engaging with the Heart Foundation means the Lunches for Less menu has their tick of approval. The Heart Foundation provides pamphlets on healthy eating for workshop participants and are now developing workshops for parents to expand the Aorere students’ vision of conveying the healthy-eating message to both parents and students.

Parents are invited to the workshops Aorere students present in schools. A big part of the workshop involves explaining the purchasing decisions and budgeting necessary for students and their families to create a healthy lunch for under $2 a day. Aorere students have also connected with Mangere Budgeting to provide further support to parents creating a household budget to include food for school lunches. 

How do students develop financial capability?

Through developing and running their own business, and by creating and explaining a simple budget for students and their parents, Aorere students develop an understanding of how to manage money and make wise spending choices. They must identify sources of income, plan and analyse costings, and understand the market, to price their product realistically.

While each group has a financial director it is important that all members of the group have a clear understanding of planning, costing, and budgeting to ensure that they understand where their money has come from, how it is going to be used, and that it is used effectively. The understanding students gained from the practical experience of purchasing ingredients, planning to take advantage of specials and seasonal fruits, and budgeting was built into the workshops they delivered.

Managing risk is an important part of the students’ learning as they are personally liable for their company and any profit or loss it makes. By creating a budget, regularly monitoring it, and adjusting it to their achieve their goals, students develop practical knowledge and experience. They understand what risk and return are, and the consequences of being unable to meet financial obligations.

Developing financial capability – a student-perspective
When reflecting on their learning, students identify the transferable knowledge and skills they have developed throughout the year and can articulate how this will affect their choices and lifestyle in the future.

Find out more about the project

Published on: 05 Dec 2013