‘Time banking’ expands and formalizes the idea, setting out credits in the currency of time rather than dollars, and keeping track of what is earned and what is ‘spent’. The online system means many people can be involved and bartering opportunities are multiplied.

Members of Lyttelton’s Time Bank earn credits by providing their skills to someone in need, and can use those credits to ‘buy’ skills they need in return. The credits have no expiry date, are logged into an internet account and can be redeemed against the services of any other member of the network.

Karen Colyer was gathering apples in her orchard when her gumboot slid and she bust her ankle. Soon afterwards, she fell and shattered her wrist. Because she lived alone, Karen was only allowed to leave the hospital on the proviso that her meals were provided. Folk from the Diamond Harbour branch of Lyttelton’s Time Bank stepped in; many Karen had never met before. 

“Every night at about 5.30 or so, there’d be a knock on the door and this lovely meal would come in. It saved me! It allowed me to come home...”

Karen earns her Time Bank credits meeting and greeting at the Lyttelton Information Centre and is planning to seek some strong arms to assist with upcoming home renovations.

“It’s amazing what six people giving one hour can achieve,” she says.

Services offered for exchange through the Time Bank range from piano tuning to ‘nice writing’ for gift tags. Children from the play centre make cards for the elderly and unwell, and also hire out their services as song singers – ‘if they need cheering up’. 

In November, a conglomeration of Time Bank members will host, cook, decorate and photograph an entire wedding in Christchurch.

Reported for our AA Directions Summer 2013 issue

New! Our navigation has changed.

Use this button to access the site content.

 |  Learn more