Edgar Cahn, Father of Timebanking, visits Wellington

I had the pleasure of spending a few days traipsing around with Edgar Cahn as he proceeded to inspire people from all walks of life around Wellington. At a dinner with the Steering Committee on his first night in town we each introduced ourselves and I marvelled at how he took the time to reply to each person picking out parts of their story that were relevant to him and then returning a tale of some aspect of his long and adventurous life.

When he was little his father told him that “Justice” is a concept that is too hard to define, however injustice is something that we are all capable of seeing (or feeling, as it may be). From a young age he has been committed to fighting injustice wherever he sees it. As such, he is a true believer in people being trouble-makers as long as you’re causing trouble for the right reasons. It also means that he has many, many tales to tell.

While here he spoke with interested folk at the In Good Company co-working space and met with the wāhine of Kahungugu Whānau Services - an organisation that supports whānau in Wellington. There was a firestorm of ideas that came out of that small hui and I'm excited about the potential pathways for working together resulting from that.

Edgar Cahn has set up timebanking as a way to encourage a movement of people who respond to injustice, who believe in true democracy and who are committed to the principles of kindness, generosity and love. He says that life is not about what you do while you are here, but about the things that you set in motion. 

In Wellington he spoke to an audience of about 250 people. Afterwards he told us with great excitement that it was the single largest audience he had ever spoken to on the topic of timebanking. He was thrilled with the opportunity to come to Aotearoa and see his vision in action in a place so far away from his home. He already has plans to bring his wife back here.

You watch a video of him speaking in Wellington here.

We waved him off at the airport as he headed down to Christchurch to celebrate the Lyttelton Timebank’s 10th anniversary and learn about the power of this social tool in building resilient communities when faced with large-scale disasters.

Big thanks to the ever generous Marion & Quentin for hosting our famous guest in their home. And to the Wellington City Council & Paul Eagle for supporting the event.