Monday, 10 October 2011


Over the past 50 years money affairs have become a far more private matter as people turn away from their neighbours and communities and towards the ever-consuming, self-absorbing task of growing their own personal money tree/s. This has evolved a culture which is consumer-driven; a culture where individualism and competition are king and the trust and connectivity that we rely on for fulfilling human relationships undercut.

We, the people on the ground, are all part of this ever-evolving culture. With each pattern of action we make, we create the culture around us and affect the culture of our community.
Here in Lyttelton we are developing a strong culture around localised economics; we no longer try to convince people it's a good idea, local people know about it and are part of the change.
Here are just 3 examples:
> the Timebank now beats at the heart of the community; people use it alongside and instead of the monetary system.
> the Harbour Pool, a collective of households who pool their savings to share with others in the group at no interest, is expanding as the concept becomes more known by a wider range of households.
> as networks are strengthened, gifting - choosing to give away goods rather than receive monetary gain from them - becomes something that we do more often.
The cultural shift happens as we depend less on the market economy and turn back towards each other.
The cultural shift happens as the values that underpin these strategies also become the values of the community.  All of these strategies build trust and cooperation in the members and therefore provide platforms upon which reciprocity is supported. As we nourish these non-competitive alliances, the culture as a whole becomes more connected and concerned for others well-being.
And so this local cultural shift in Lyttelton turns away from individualism and competitiveness and promotes the common good.
It feels good to reclaim the agency that we have in our lives and remember the bigger picture. When I receive a gift I am not just saying thanks but also undermining the market economy that rips the heart out of local economies and people's lives.
It feels good to be part of positive cultural change.
What's exciting you about your community's cultural shift?

written by Jacinda, also at

Saturday, 8 October 2011

a workshop on resilience

Building Resilience:
Community Organising now in Otautahi/Christchurch

4pm – 7pm Friday 4th November (with dinner and social time to follow) -
9am – 4.30pm Saturday 5th November

This workshop is a place to gather the learnings from the last 14 months, link people together and strategise for the coming year(s)

The aims for this workshop are:
·      To share learnings from participants experience of community organising and community building
·      To envision communities that are strong, sustainable, and participatory in Otautahi/Christchurch
·      To share ideas about how these visions can be brought to fruition and plan collaborative next steps

Kotare is a national organisation, based in Hoteo North near Wellsford, that supports social movements through the provision of workshops ( Kotare acknowledges that we are not on the ground in Otautahi/Christchurch. We are working with local people on the organising and design of this workshop.

Who For: This workshop is for people engaged in community organising and community building in Otautahi/Christchurch and the surrounding area. Suggestions of people to invite are very welcome. Numbers are limited, so get in quick!
Venue: St Ambrose Aranui-Wainoni Church hall, 309 Breezes Rd
Cost: $0-$150 sliding scale for each workshop. Please self-assess your payment and consider your means when deciding what to pay.
Registration: Registration is required.  Please register as soon as possible and no later than Friday 28th of October by contacting Tanya, contact details below.
Facilitation team: Tim Howard and Tanya Newman
If you would like to know more about the workshop, please feel welcome to contact Tanya Newman at or phone 02102769112

Thursday, 6 October 2011

achieving the outcome we want

I was sent a link to the Jerusalem Journals
The author starts the piece with the fact of the Palestine Authority submitting an application to the UN for full statehood.
She questions ‘if people want to self-define, why do they need permission from the UN or an external body?’ She goes on and says that ‘institutions are no longer the place from which we must ask permission for our autonomy.’
I found the piece really interesting, especially when placed in context with what is happening around the world at this time. And also what is happening for us locally.
A few days ago I went with others to the Community Board meeting where a delegation was putting forward the desire that we (people of Lyttelton) no longer want to solve our earthquake initiated issues by the usual method of consensus whereby we get to share our ideas with Council – they take them away, filter through them, they come up with a draft plan and then they come back to us for further comment.
There is too much at stake and we want the best outcome possible.
Their style of consensus is not giving us the best outcome. There is too much processing going on in there without constant reconnecting with the people it is effecting. We want to be partners in our destiny. We have the passion and the expertise. We no longer want some boffins with their expertise solving our issues for us – we want full involvement. We won’t be shut out.
There is a spirit that is arising around the globe as people start questioning the systems that have been in place for so long. They are largely not working effectively, causing considerable harm to the planet and are disempowering for many, people and all other species.
I listened recently to Bruce Lipton talking about using our energy wisely . He says it better than I can summarise – so go and listen. But a thing he is talking about is that we need to place our energy where we are getting an outcome that we want to achieve.
I have the feeling that many of our governing bodies are never going to produce what needs to happen. They are based on outmoded and highly inefficient systems. They are Leviathan like.
So I do even question what is the point in going to the community board to ask the question? It is polite I guess. But creating any change? I want to place my energy in a different direction. One I know that will produce results.

written by Margaret Jefferies, chair of Project Lyttelton