Closed for Good: Running financial literacy workshops in prisons

Inspired by their Closed for Good activity in 2014, members of our Wellington Private Bank Team have taken up the mantle of running financial literacy workshops for the Wellington Department of Corrections.

In 2014, the Department submitted a request for a single financial literacy workshop as part of Closed for Good. This increased to five workshops in 2015. Realising that demand might grow, BNZ Private Banker, Brenda Allen-Browne, decided to take on the role of coordinating and facilitating these workshops on an ongoing basis.

Since then, Brenda has delivered workshops at Arohata Prison, and her team has committed to delivering more in October.

Earlier this year, the Department approached Brenda with the idea of running the workshops for a slightly different audience – young offenders who have been sentenced to Community Service.

“These guys have the option of taking part in workshops that’ll enable them to become better citizens, as an alternative to traditional Community Service work,” says Brenda.

Brenda was asked if there was a young male in her team that the young offenders could identify with, who could facilitate the workshop, and BNZ Senior Associate, Kyle Edmonds stepped up. Kyle delivered his first wave of financial literacy workshops earlier this year and hopes his workshops have held some value for the participants.

“Financial literacy is a pre-requisite of being good with your money. So, to be able to educate youth around simple tasks such as opening a bank account, setting financial goals, and differentiating between needs and wants, is a great way to help them on their financial journey,” he says.

“It’s pretty exciting to know that we can make a difference. We’re currently looking to establish our workshops in Rimutaka Prison, so I can’t wait to see where it can go from there.”

Our mission at BNZ is to help New Zealanders be good with money. The adage ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there’ can easily apply to our finances too.

“It’s about understanding financial products, developing the skills and confidence to become more aware of financial risks and opportunities, and using these to make more informed decisions. It’s also about sharing your knowledge with your kids, family, business partners or colleagues,” says Brenda.

As well as the workshops for the Wellington Department of Corrections, BNZ’s Private Bank team are also delivering financial education initiatives in primary schools. This year, Closed for Good is on 31 August. In addition to blue-shirt armies of BNZers you’ll see out and about, painting fences, cleaning up beaches and sprucing up your local kindy, there will be more BNZers than ever before indoors, running our ‘Good with Money’ financial literacy workshops and taking their highly valuable business, finance marketing, HR, digital and technology skills to organisations that wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford this kind of resource.

Get in touch with us if you think a group or organisation you’re part of would like us to run a Good with Money workshop and we’ll be able to help. Email us at and we’ll be in touch.