“I thought Timebanking was primarily a way for people to meet one another’s needs, with community building a nice spin-off, but now I think it’s the other way around,” commented one of the people who came along to a packed public meeting on Timebanking held at the Carterton Events Centre.
Wellington Timebank coordinator Hannah Mackintosh and steering committee member Renee Rushton spoke to the meeting about how the Wellington Timebank started from a back office with an ancient computer, no pens and no paper to today’s vibrant group of 175 members.
“A Timebank is defined by who you are as people in your community,” explained Hannah. “It’s a journey and you have no idea how you’re going to get there, it really is about finding out about who is interested and just calling them up and getting it going.”
The enthusiastic response from the meeting would suggest that there is a groundswell of support behind forming a Timebank in the Wairarapa.
“A year before the Wellington Timebank was formed there was a process where the steering committee built the idea of a Timebank in the community. They held public meetings and workshops explaining to the community what a Timebank was,” added Hannah.
|Hannah Mackintosh & Renee Rushton (both of Wellington Timebank) & Helen Dew (Living Economies) thanking presenters at Timebank public meeting in Carterton.|
This process has already begun in the Wairarapa, with the formation of an initial steering committee made up of Hayden McGrail (Wairarapa Green Dollar), Stephanie Young (Living Economies), Stuart McKay (Mangatarere Restoration Society) and Catherine Rossiter-Stead (Pukaha Volunteer Programme).
The committee held its inaugural meeting last week to discuss the way forward, with its first steps centred on researching how other Timebanks in New Zealand operate. Two members of the Wairarapa community have already offered to purchase the ‘Community Weaver’ software that helps to keep track of members and their banked time.
Strengthening a sense of community and inspiring respect for each other and the environment is embodied in Timebank Aotearoa’s mission statement. There are currently 26 Timebanks operating in New Zealand and the momentum is gathering as people search for alternative ways of making contributions to society.
Edgar S. Cahn, the creator of Timebanking, explains how Timebanks weave a community one hour at a time: “For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one Time Dollar. Then you have a Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you. It's that simple.”
This was clearly demonstrated by Hannah when she recreated a Timebank tree, showing some of the inter-connections which hold Wellington’s 175-strong Timebank community together. “You can really see how connections start to be made within the community and how much people start to get to know one another and link together. People love the fact that it’s based on give and take, as well as equality. We need our community and people can get that through the Timebank.
“Timebanks have just grown so much in New Zealand and I think a lot of that has come out of Lyttelton, where they demonstrated so strongly the impact a Timebank can have, especially in a crisis situation,” summarised Hannah. “The Christchurch earthquake was a terrible tragedy, and what we learned from that was the importance of community in a time of crisis. The people of Lyttelton demonstrated the spirit and resilience of community and the Timebank was a key part of that.”
If you wish to let the Timebank Wairarapa steering committee know that you are keen to be involved please email Timebank Wairarapa at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Timebanks can be found at www.le.org.nz.