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Marae DIY and AIA New Zealand Marae DIY and AIA New Zealand CREDIT: AIA New Zealand
Marae DIY and AIA New Zealand Marae DIY and AIA New Zealand CREDIT: AIA New Zealand

AIA New Zealand and Marae DIY - The Power Of Iwi

Thursday 26 May 2011, 2:31PM
By AIA New Zealand

A unique partnership between Maori Television and life insurer, AIA New Zealand, has opened up the hearts and minds of everyone involved – and is even helping to enhance the culture of an international organisation.

It all started as a simple sponsorship agreement between Maori Television’s Marae DIY programme and AIA New Zealand. But it soon became clear that the relationship went much deeper than just being financial.

By sponsoring Marae DIY, AIA was hoping to learn about Maori kaupapa and, at the same time, increase Maori awareness of insurance as an effective way to provide financial security for whanau.

“We know that Maori, and in fact most Kiwis, are underinsured – and this means it can be extremely tough for whanau when a family member dies, becomes sick or is disabled. That’s why being part of Marae DIY has been so important to us,” says Wayne Besant, AIA CEO.

For Marae DIY, the sponsorship couldn’t come at a better time. The programme had just completed its 50th episode, and the financial support from AIA will greatly help this popular show to continue into the foreseeable future.

“It was wonderful to have a sponsor on board, but even more fantastic to have a sponsor who has wholly embraced our programme and kaupapa of the series,” says Philly de Lacey, MD of Screentime, the production company for Marae DIY.

During filming, AIA staff worked side-by-side with Marae DIY crew, iwi and the local community on marae for three or four days. Together, they hammered, shovelled, painted, planted and cleaned. They shared stories, cooked and ate kai together. Mahitahi was in full swing.

It was a profound experience, especially for the AIA team, many of whom haven’t had the opportunity to experience a powhiri or visit a marae.

“I have never been so proud to be a Kiwi. I worked with such fantastic people and am truly grateful for the opportunity to experience such amazing community spirit. It was worth the sore back 1000 times over!” said Vaughn Wellington, a business development manager from AIA.

One reason this unique partnership has been so successful could be due to the similarity of values between the two organisations.

Marae DIY’s kaupapa is about whanaungatanga, teamwork and the power of people working together to achieve a common goal. Similarly, AIA’s kaupapa is to support communities through what it calls the ‘Power of We’; this kaupapa reaching the entire AIA Group, which spans 15 countries across the Asia Pacific region.

In New Zealand, AIA is actively embracing Marae DIY’s kaupapa within its organisation. It is holding regular korero sessions where everyone comes together to contribute to the direction of the company, as well as Te Reo and Maori culture classes in order to grow cultural awareness within the organisation.

The company is also building relationships with iwi as it sees its role in educating New Zealanders on the importance of having insurance to provide financial security for families and whanau.

“We believe that every New Zealander should have financial protection and easy access to insurance services, regardless of who they are or where they live. It is about choice – and this is what we’re aiming to provide,” says Wayne.

For a large organisation such as AIA, it can take time for greater cultural awareness to filter through. There’s a lot more work to do, but Marae DIY has been a positive start.

“I was absolutely blown away by the support and enthusiasm of everyone from the AIA team. AIA is more than just a sponsor; the energy they brought was inspiring and they were the real face of the makeover team.” Julie Sparham, Organiser of the Tauranga Marae DIY.