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Wood named finalist in NEXT Woman of the Year Awards

Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre director Dr Pushpa Wood.

Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre director Dr Pushpa Wood has been named a finalist in the 2019 NEXT Woman of the Year Awards.

Dr Wood has been recognised in the education category for 30 years of researching the best ways to improve financial literacy and translating this into practical training programmes that make a difference.

She says the recognition is humbling. “I do the work because I believe in it, I feel a duty to share my passion and expertise. Being recognised for something you love doing is an additional bonus. My biggest reward is the joy I get from being involved in this mahi and the learning that brings for me.”

As director, Dr Wood has overseen a range of research projects, including a longitudinal study that will track the financial capability of a group of Kiwis over a 20-year period; the annual Retirement Expenditure Guidelines, which calculate the real cost of retirement; and research projects to identify the best way to support Māori women and Māori entrepreneurs.

She works to develop educational resources to improve financial capability, provides financial advice in the news media and advises organisations within New Zealand and internationally.

“I guess my proudest moment in recent years would be leading the work of the Fin-Ed Centre, where we have trained over 250 people in the community to start having some serious money conversations at home, in community groups, on the marāe and at work,” she says. 

“It really makes my day when someone tells me that they are on the right path with their money, or that their relationship with money has greatly improved.”

Dr Wood says there is still a lot to do to lift the quality of financial capability programmes and improve access to them.

“If there was one thing that I would like to see implemented in the next 12 to 18 months, it would be a nationwide competency framework for educators and mentors running financial capability programmes. I think that is a key if we are to see New Zealand’s financial wellbeing score improve over the next five years.”

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