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Lyttelton, portal to Canterbury’s historic past, a vibrant sustainable community creating a living future

Lyttelton Harbour Timebank



TIMEBANKING is a way of trading skills in a community.

INSTEAD OF DOLLARS, time credits are used as payment. You earn time credits for the work you do, and then use them to 'buy' another member's time to get the services you need.

EVERYONE'S TIME IS EQUAL. No matter what type of work is done, one hour always equals one time credit. 1 = 1. Every person is equally valued.


Everyone has skills to offer. Things that 
we are good at, things we enjoy. Sometimes people feel they have no spare time. But if we do things we like, and get another member to do the things we don’t enjoy so much, everyone benefits! Some offers and requests on the TimeBank are: cooking, sewing, gardening, child minding, transport, wood stacking, computer help, music 
lessons, storytelling, and companionship, 
to name but a few. Get creative!



Timebanking originated in the USA in 
the 1980s from the work of Edgar S Cahn. 
Since then it has spread worldwide. 
Project Lyttelton set up New Zealand’s first TimeBank in 2005. Timebanking continues to grow with TimeBanks popping up all 
over New Zealand.  


Lyttelton Harbour TimeBank is set up to strengthen our community in Lyttelton and around the Harbour. We want neighbours to meet each other, feel confident helping each other and to grow in awareness that we are a community growing strong together.


Click on the “Join the TimeBank” link under the TimeBank logo on this page, to sign up. If you don’t usually use a computer, then phone us on 
03 328 9093  or visit us at the Lyttelton Info Centre. After an orientation, and 2 character references, you will be up and running.  

How to Build a TimeBank

This booklet, How to Build a TimeBank, is a guide drawn together from our experience at Lyttelton TimeBank. It is not a definitive ‘how-to’ guide as every community is unique, but we want to share what we have gathered along the way, to hopefully make your path easier. Keep things simple, stay attached to the spark that inspired you and drew you towards Timebanking, and don’t forget to get trading!

Edgar Cahn visit

Emmaus In garden standing up DSC 6229 1 2Our Lyttelton Harbour Timebank turned 10 in September 2015

Professor Edgar Cahn, the originator of Timebanking worldwide and an inspiring speaker and thinker, came to New Zealand to help mark the occasion.

Timebankers from around Canterbury met with Edgar to hear him speak and for an Open Space event facilitated by Margaret Jefferies. Notes from the sessions can be read here:



Biography of Edgar Cahn

Edgar Cahn, PhD, JD Distinguished Professor of Law, UDC School of Law. CEO, TimeBanks USA, Ashoka Fellow. Co-Founder (with late wife, Jean Camper Cahn) the National Legal Services program as part of the War on Poverty, the Antioch School of Law (now the UDC School of Law). Cahn is regarded as a founder of poverty law, a pioneer in creating clinical legal education, the founder of a global TimeBanking movement, and a social justice innovator undertaking to incorporate system change in legal education and inject co-production into service delivery and community development.


Time Dollars and TimeBanking This is a unique tax-exempt local currency now utilized in 40 states and 37 nations to generate mutual exchange and civic engagement needed to address major social problems. TimeBanking provides a new medium of exchange to link untapped capacity to unmet needs and to rebuild the Core Economy of family, neighborhood, community and civil society.

Co-Production As a framework for system change, Cahn has reframed CoProduction utilizing TimeBanking to specify the elements involved in transforming clients from passive consumers to active co-producers of outcomes.

Time Dollar Youth Court A teen court authorized by the DC Superior Court that handled more than fifty percent of non-violent crimes by teenagers in the District of Columbia. It reduced recidivism below ten percent by empowering a teen jury (earning time credits) to impose sentences on first offenders. (Refunding is being sought to revive it.)

National Homecomers Academy Created by a collaborative process that brought experts and former inmates together, the National Homecomers’ Academy incorporates a vision of reentry that enables homecomers to redefine themselves as community builders on a journey of service and learning. Today, homecomers associated with the Academy provide safe passage across gang territories in Washington D.C.'s most troubled neighborhoods.

CareBanks. As an Ashoka Fellow, Cahn pioneered Carebanks as an adaptation of TimeBanking to provide a form of long term care insurance with premiums paid in Time Dollars earned helping others. Different versions are creating the informal care system so essential to avoiding nursing home institutionalization.

Racial Justice initiative Seeking to dismantle structural racism in juvenile justice and child welfare, Cahn formulated a novel legal theory and strategy designed to give rise to a legally enforceable obligation for officials to use validated, less expensive alternatives when present practice perpetuates racial disparities. Public Notice Hearings are in use to contrast present practice with alternatives that work giving rise to pressures from multiple sources to compel the use of knowledge.

Education: B.A. Swarthmore; M.A. Yale (English); Ph.D Yale (English); J.D. Yale; Honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, Fulbright Scholar (Cambridge University), Order of the Coif, Articles & Book Review Editor, Yale Law Journal; Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities; Founder’s Award, National Council on Aging; 1997 American Association of Law Schools William Pincus Award for Outstanding Contribution to Clinical Legal Education; Point of Light 1997; Co-op Quarterly 1998 Building Economic Alternatives Award - Fostering a Sustainable Economy; Medal of Distinction, D.C. Superior Court 2000; National Equal Justice Library Article Award 2002; Servant of Justice Award 2004; Ellis Island Medal of Honor 2007; Arthur S. Flemming Senior Advocate Award 2008; Ashoka Fellow & Senior Fellow 2008; ABA General Practice Section: Difference Making Award (2009); National Legal Aid & Public Defender Charles Dorsey Award for Passionate Commitment to Equal Justice for All 2009; UDC Presidential Award for Exceptional Service to Society 2010; D.C. Commission on Human Rights Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Contributions 2013; Pioneer of Justice –Neighborhood Legal Service Program 2014.

Writings: The War on Poverty: A Civilian Perspective; Hunger U.S.A.; Our Brothers Keeper: The Indian in White America; Time Dollars; No More Throw-Away People; Priceless Money and numerous law review articles.

  • Timebank frequently asked questions

    Time Banking is a type of complementary currency. Local community trading and bartering systems help to create empowerment and resilience in communities by enabling local trading of goods and services without relying on the national money system.


TimeBank Media

Read about Lyttelton Harbour TimeBank in the Guardian. You can also see a recent interview with TimeBank co-ordinator Wendy Everingham on Star Live.