WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Timebank – give or take an hour


Helen Dew
1 February 2013

Timebanking is rapidly developing as a way of exchanging services and building community, with a Wellington TimeBank sparking the formation last October of a timebank in the Wairarapa.

Wellington South TimeBank, based in Newtown Community Centre began in October 2011. Within six months, however, it had spread throughout the city and was renamed Wellington TimeBank to reflect this.
There are now 210 TimeBank members in Wellington and 26 centres throughout the country are set up for timebanking under the umbrella of TimeBank Aotearoa.

The idea comes from Professor Edgar S Cahn, the creator of Time Dollars and the founder of TimeBanks USA. Prof Cahn, who has devoted his life to social justice for the disenfranchised, is the author of No More Throw-Away People: the Co-Production Imperative (second edition, 2004) and, with Jonathan Rowe, Time Dollars (1992).

Based on the principle that everyone has something to give, Edgar Cahn says 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 credit. Then you have a time credit to spend on having someone do something for you. It’s that simple.’

One of the participants at a packed public meeting in Carterton last October said she thought timebanking was 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’.

TimeBank Wairarapa was formed late last year, and its steering committee is setting up processes for tracking members’ offerings, requests and banked time.

The connections that timebanking makes in the community became clear when Wellington TimeBank founder Hannah Mackintosh recreated a timebank tree showing the links between Wellington’s 210 timebankers.

‘You can really see how connections start to be made within the community and how much a community starts to get to know each other,’ she told the Carterton meeting. ‘People love the fact that [timebanking is] based on give and take, as well as equality.’

Because it is not always easy for strangers to approach a timebank, parish communities with their existing internal and external links, would be ideal to run a timebank.

For details about New Zealand’s timebanks, visit www.le.org.nz, email info@le.org.nz or phone Helen Dew on (06) 379-8034.
Image: Map of timebanks in New Zealand created by Lyttelton TimeBank coordinator Jen Kenix www.timebank.org.nz