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Tongan finance expert says investment world needs more Pacific people

Mary Afemata

Equity Director Joe Halapua shares his experiences working for the NZ Super Fund and why more Pacific people should consider a career in finance.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

An NZ Super Fund executive says there’s a need to demystify the industry and attract more Pacific representation.

Equity Director Joe Halapua has worked for the Fund for the past 12 years.

The Fund is celebrating 20 years since its first investment and now has a portfolio of about $65 billion.

The government created the fund to ensure it can pay for increasing superannuation costs.

Speaking with Levi Matautia-Morgan on 531pi's Pacific Mornings, Halapua says for most Pacific families, it’s community, it’s church, there’s a lot going on other than thinking about investment management.

“The reality is that we don't see finance, it sits in the background.”

Raised in Fiji and of Tongan descent, Halapua says when he first started there weren’t many Pacific workers in the sector but they’ve made progress.

“There’s a lot of work underway trying to find talent in places that people haven’t traditionally looked at.”

He says the industry is guilty of making itself seem extra special, different, or unrelatable.

“If people can make it relate to what they do, I think they will be more attracted to it.”

Halapua encourages Pacific talent in the industry and wants to see more people reaching out and having a talanoa or coffee to find out more.

“Just go for it. The more of our people we see in the industry, the industry is better for it.”

The Fund is important for the future of Pacific people, he says.

“Our demographic is changing, people are getting older and there will be more older people relative to those who are working.”

Watch the full interview on 531pi below:

Hero image: NZ Super Fund celebrates its 20th anniversary. Photo/ NZ Super Fund

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