Mele has worked at ANZ for three years and in the wider banking sector for 20 years, but said she’s never seen this Te Ao Māori approach taken by a bank before.
“I’ve never had a workplace describe my culture as ‘beautiful’ before,” she said.
“I wish it had been present in my school when I was growing up. So for a bank - not an educator - but a bank to put this into their workplace and give this opportunity to us - that’s huge,” Mele said.
“The purpose is to make a difference for my team now and the generations after me, and I hope that we continue to move forward because it’s a brilliant model, and it has liberated my team.
“It’s empowered me to be a better manager, it’s empowered me to have the courage to reach out to my community, to have some really good robust conversations with my team and call out our values and it’s empowered me to enjoy my people.
“In a nutshell, the wairua of my branch is huge, and it’s unmatched by any other team in town.”
As ANZ New Zealand’s Head of Te Ao Māori Strategy, seeing results like those in the Kerikeri and Kaihohe branches is very encouraging.
It’s really satisfying to see outcomes like this within our organisation and to see it being driven so passionately by inspiring wahine toa like Mele.
In addition to the Te Reo Māori language courses, ANZ’s recent Matariki Visa Debit card promotion ‘Te Tohu o Matariki o ANZ’, which offer a range of card designs by Māori artist Geoff Popham, have been a resounding success.
Our target for that campaign was about 400 card requests, but we were delighted to receive almost 3000.
ANZ is also in the process of incorporating Tākiri-ā-Rangi into other branches, including Gisborne, where a new design will be completed by November.
The Gisborne branch will be called Tūrangānui-a-Kiwa, and will pay homage to Tairāwhiti’s rich cultural history, featuring bilingual signage, design details like tukutuku panel decals and Pacific-influenced architecture.
More information on ANZ’s Te Ao Māori strategy framework is available here.
Karleen Everitt is Head of Te Ao Māori Strategy at ANZ New Zealand
A version of this article was originally published on ANZ NZ News