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Mowing lawns earns whitebaiting lesson

Nov 29th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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From left: Liz Galloway, Edan Mourie, Emilie Mourie and Robyn Mourie.

TE HORO’S Edan Mourie wanted to learn to catch whitebait – so he’s mowing lawns.

The connection comes through Otaki’s Timebank, which allows people to trade skills and labour.

Edan (12) joined the scheme with sister Emilie (9) and mum Robyn, and when he spotted an offer of whitebaiting lessons, decided to earn “credits” by mowing lawns.

Mrs Mourie says he had a ball, netting 500gms on his first time out and really wants to do it again, so is building up his hours with a regular lawn-mowing job through the bank.

Now the Timebank wants more youngsters to join.

Since its launch a year ago, membership has grown from 20 to 76, but founding member Deirdre Kent says she always wanted children to get involved.

“I’m excited about the possibility of more children joining because it’s something they really want to do,” she says.

People join a Timebank offering to do work in return for someone else in the bank doing a job for them.

Contributions are measured in hours of credit and those with a “credit balance” can “employ” someone else for something they themselves cannot or do not want to do.

All skills are equal and valued, especially those which are taken for granted like companionship, and everyone’s time is equal.

Interaction between the generations and learning from each other, is especially wonderful, says Ms Kent.

Emilie Mourie joined in April after going to a meeting with her mum.

The meeting did not excite her, Emilie says, but when she saw art and sewing lessons offered on the website, she was hooked and set about earning hours by delivering pamphlets, washing windows and attending the Timebank’s annual general meeting.

She has been learning highland dancing since she was four and has advertised her dancing skills in a bid to earn hours for more sewing lessons.

Mrs Mourie says her children are being taught about giving and helping people, and that not everything is about money.

A part-time physiotherapist, she was researching how Timebanks empowered disabled people within their communities for an academic paper, when she met Ms Kent at an Otaki meeting and was signed up on the spot.

She has driven people to Wellington for appointments, washed windows and reviewed an economics book, in return for mulch and haircuts for the children.

Mrs Mourie says the best deal was having dinners made for the family while she was studying in the evenings. The children told her they were much better than anything she cooked.

Husband Adrian has since joined and mum, Liz Galloway, was “coerced” into joining.

deidre kent otaki bankMs Kent, pictured, says the Timebank helps strengthen community ties and is a great way for newcomers to meet people.

Weeding and cleaning are always in high demand, says Ms Kent. “We need the muscle of teenagers as too many of us are past our ability to turn our compost heaps.”

But the range of skills and types of requests has grown as membership has increased, with cheese making lessons, Japanese and yoga just some of the more varied skills on offer.

Among the requests for help currently on the website is for a fishing companion, a hand collecting seaweed, and help programming the DVD.

There are eight established Timebanks throughout New Zealand, with about 812 members. The first Timebank was set up in Lyttelton five years ago and recently helped the town deal with the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake.

Timebanks were first piloted in the USA in the late 1980s, and are now in 22 countries over six continents.

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