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Developing local partners
in emergency planning anD management:
Lyttelton Time Bank as a Builder and Mobiliser
of Resources during the Canterbury Earthquakes
THE AUTHORS WISH TO THANK
Liz Briggs, Bettina Evans, Jen Kenix, Sue-Ellen Sandilands, Margaret Jefferies, Julie Lee and
Wendy Everingham for providing the photos for this report, and Jen Kenix for her graphical expertise.
In addition, we would like to acknowledge the members of
the Lyttelton Time Bank and the residents of Lyttelton who told us their stories of resilience.
DEVELOPING LOCAL PARTNERS
IN EMERGENCY PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT:
Lyttelton Time Bank as a Builder and Mobiliser
of Resources during the Canterbury Earthquakes
Lucie K. Ozanne, University of Canterbury
Julie L. Ozanne, Virginia Tech
© Lucie K. Ozanne and Julie L. Ozanne, 2013. Please contact authors to reproduce.
LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
1.1 What is Time Banking?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
1.2 The Lyttelton Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1.3 The Lyttelton Time Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.4 The Canterbury Earthquakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.5 Community Resiliency as a Conceptual Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1.6 Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
CHAPTER 2 - THE ROLE OF THE LYTTELTON TIME BANK IN RESPONSE . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.1 Developing Communication Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.2 Activating the Time Bank’s Communication Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
2.2.1 September 2010 Earthquake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
2.2.2 February 2011 Earthquake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
2.3 Developing Social Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
2.4 Activating the Time Bank’s Social Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
2.4.1 September 2010 Earthquake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
2.4.2 February 2011 Earthquake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
CHAPTER 3 - THE ROLE OF THE LYTTELTON TIME BANK IN RECOVERY. . . . . . . . . . . . 26
3.1 Developing Community Efﬁcacy and Problem Solving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
3.2 Activating Community Efﬁcacy and Problem Solving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
3.3 Leveraging the Time Bank’s Social Resources during Recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
CHAPTER 4 – TIME BANKS AS CIVIL DEFENCE PARTNERS IN EMERGENCY PLANNING AND
MANAGEMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
4.1 Before Disaster Strikes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
4.1.1 Map the Community: Document Existing Assets and Vulnerabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
4.1.2 Practice Team Work: Engage in Community Enhancement Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
4.1.3 Shout it Out: Build Redundant Local Communication Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
4.1.4: Plan Locally: Leverage Local Expertise to Organise Strategically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
4.2 When Disaster Strikes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
4.2.1 Celebrate Emotional Labour: Access the Caring Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
4.2.2 Expand Diversity: Appreciate the Range of Skills that Provide Flexibility . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
4.3 Recovering From Disasters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
4.3.1 Band Together: Leverage Social Capital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
4.3.2 Solve Problems Together: Leverage Community Efﬁcacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
Figure 1 – Time Bank Organisational Members Prior to the Earthquakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Figure 2 – Qualitative Data Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Figure 3 – Flyer - Time Bank Winter Education Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Figure 4 - Time Bank Organisational Members After the Earthquakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Figure 5 – Flyer – Grow a Little Extra Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Table 1 – Information and Data Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
This research examines a surprising partner in emergency management—a local community time bank.
Speciﬁcally, we explain the role of the Lyttelton Time Bank in promoting community resiliency following
the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. A time bank is a grassroots exchange system in which mem-
bers trade services non-reciprocally. This exchange model assumes that everyone has tradable skills and
all labour is equal in value. One hour of any labour earns a member one time bank hour, which can be used
to purchase another member’s services. Before the earthquakes struck, the Lyttelton Time Bank (TB) had
organised over 10% of the town’s residents and 18 local organisations. It was documenting, developing,
and mobilising skills to solve individual and collective problems. This report examines the Lyttelton Time
Bank and its’ role before, during, and after the earthquakes based on the analysis of over three and a half
years of ﬁeldwork, observations, interviews, focus groups, trading activity, and secondary data.
Before the earthquakes struck, the TB created a local marketplace of its members’ skills. All members
recorded the skills they wished to trade, which was captured in an online system. The explicit purpose of
the trading was to solve individual problems; a member might request help on a range of issues from trans-
portation and child minding, to computer problems and gardening. New skills were developed in many of
these exchanges, such as learning to prune a tree or build a retaining wall. Across the 30,000 trades prior
to the crisis, a stronger social network was built through these exchanges. Moreover, the TB facilitated
these trades through a robust communication system that was regularly used and trusted by its members.
Members enjoyed trading and many accumulated surplus hours, which were donated into a community
chest. These hours were invested back into the community on larger scale projects, such as building local
capacity by investing in the local information centre and schools. Indirectly, members were learning to be
self-organising work teams that could quickly work together to solve community problems. Over time, a
virtuous cycle emerged through which citizens identiﬁed problems, the TB organised members to solve
the problem, individual and collective efﬁcacy was enhanced, and residents enthusiastically identiﬁed
additional problems to be tackled. In the years leading up the earthquakes, the TB evolved a well-oiled
system to communicate with and mobilise qualiﬁed residents to solve individual and community problems.
During the earthquakes, the Lyttelton Time Bank had the best local communication system through
which vital information ﬂowed to members and local residents. Using a range of communication modes,
timely information was provided to residents on practical and safety precautions, as well as the availability
of clean water, food, services, and other resources. As a partner working with emergency workers and ﬁrst
responders, the Lyttelton Time Bank had a better knowledge of the community. It acted as a hub organi-
sation activating its extensive social network through which valuable resources could ﬂow. For example,
when at-risk families and groups were identiﬁed, TB members offered home visits, emotional support,
food, accommodations, repairs, and so forth. Problems were solved in the immediate aftermath of the
earthquakes, such as dismantling chimneys that could be safely removed, thereby freeing emergency
workers to assist on projects that needed greater skill. Or, TB members visited elderly residents providing
emotional labour, which freed medical personnel to deal with more acute medical problems.
After emergency personnel left the community, the TB provided on-going support in the months and
years that followed. Individual assistance continued to be provided to residents, such as helping with home
repairs or ﬁnding rental accommodations when houses were deem uninhabitable. But the Lyttelton TB was
particularly adept both working with other community organisations to solve larger community problems
and harnessing human labour and resources to complete these initiatives. For example, when recreational
and gathering spaces were damaged by the earthquakes, the TB worked with other community organisa-
tions to build new community gathering opportunities and infrastructure.
Community resiliency involves the process through which a community positively adapts following a cri-
sis. Research suggests that community resiliency improves when communities can quickly mobilise a range
of resources. This is a real strength of the time bank model since resources are identiﬁed, developed, and
activated through hundreds and thousands of trades. This report concludes with recommendations for
how the time bank model can be expanded to assist in emergency planning and management. Fundamen-
tally, investments in local time banks are an economical method of building a trusted and practiced local
communication infrastructure, which is critical during a crisis. Moreover, time banks currently identify
and develop communities’ assets; but this model can be expanded to map vulnerabilities. Knowledge of
both local strengths and weaknesses is essential in effective planning for emergencies. The community
enhancement projects that time banks tackle allow people to practice skills of self-organising teamwork,
which are also useful during emergency response. Time banks are hub organisations that can also employ
local members to help in preparing local emergency plans that are based on community-wide involvement
and leverage local expertise. Bottom-up, grassroots organising often provides a more effective and nu-
anced response than is provided by top-down bureaucratic processes that offer a one-size-ﬁts-all ap-
proach that does not consider local strengths and weaknesses.
CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION
Getting communities to participate in actions that enhance preparedness and create re-
silience to disaster has proven to be a signiﬁcant challenge to the civil defence emergency
management sector. (John Hamilton, Director, Civil Defence and Emergency Management,
Disasters cannot be prevented, but a great deal can be done to reduce harm to communities and citi-
zens. Ideally, planning for disasters needs to be an on-going process of identifying, developing, and mobilis-
ing resources, rather than single event drills. The Director of Civil Defence and Emergency Management,
John Hamilton, suggests it is difﬁcult to get citizens to engage in preparation. Moreover, research consist-
ently ﬁnds that residents who are at risk before disaster strikes, such as the elderly and the disenfran-
chised, suffer the effects of disasters more acutely because they lack social and economic resources. Thus,
solutions to this problem of preparation need to be systemic, continuing, and resource enhancing. This is a
tall order in prosperous times and a seemingly insurmountable call during economic downturns.
This report focuses on an unlikely player in emergency planning and response—a local time bank. Using mod-
est economic resources, this local grassroots exchange system identiﬁed, developed, and activated community
resources before a series of devastating earthquakes hit the town of Lyttelton and its residents. In the four years
before the ground began to shake, the Lyttelton Time Bank (TB) enrolled over 10% of residents as members.
These TB members used an online computer database to identify tradable skills. Moreover, thousands of trades
over several years built a robust social network used to mobilise resources during the recent NZ earthquakes.
This network of caring was not achieved by a top-down process, but instead emerged within the local commu-
nity as a grassroots effort to build personal and community resources.
Long before the earthquakes struck, the Lyttelton Time Bank was identifying and developing resources
to solve community problems and, indirectly, was getting the community prepared for the unimaginable
disaster. When the ﬁrst earthquake hit, the TB activated these resources to aid in the disaster relief and
recovery period. This report explores the role played by the Lyttelton Time Bank in the immediate re-
sponse to the Canterbury earthquakes and during the later recovery period. The report concludes with
recommendations for unleashing the potential for the TB model of exchange to develop powerful local
partners in emergency planning and management.
1.1 What is Time Banking?
Time banks are a form of community currency. Community currency is deﬁned by Seyfang (2004a) as an alterna-
tive form of money. Often new currencies arise during economic crises when little conﬁdence exists in the economy
or currency, which is evidenced in the current growth of alternative currencies in Greece and Spain (Cha 2012).
Time banks are a relatively new form of community currency based on non-reciprocal trading of
services (Collom 2005; North 2003; Seyfang 2002). The TB model of exchange is based on the as-
sumption that every member’s labour is equal in value. Regardless of the service provided, any hour
of labour provided by a TB member is rewarded with one hour of time credit. Participants can spend
their earned hour of currency by requesting an hour of labour from another member in the TB sys-
tem (Williams 2004). In most TBs, a broker is employed to manage the system, maintain a database of
participants, and recruit new people and organisations as members (Seyfang 2004b). The TB system
is growing in popularity, in part, because online systems help record, store, and reward transactions of
neighbours helping neighbours (Williams 2004).
For example, within a hypothetical town, Tom looks at the online database to ﬁnd out that Robert has
experience building stone walls. Tom asks if Robert would spend four hours helping him build a stone
wall and passing on these skills. Robert agrees and earns four hours. Robert spends these hours by ask-
ing David, another TB member, to spend the afternoon with his aging father providing companionship.
Now David has earned hours for doing an important task of giving care, which is often not rewarded in the
formal economy. Moreover, Tom has learned a new skill. Given that people voluntarily trade skills that they
enjoy, this system encourages a virtuous cycle of giving and receiving that beneﬁts all parties.
Limited research exists on participation in TBs; however, a few studies explore the beneﬁts. For in-
stance, Boyle, Clark, and Burns (2006) suggest that TBs help participants extend their social networks and
the range of opportunities available to them. These researchers also found that TBs are an effective way of
developing reciprocal relationships among users. Seyfang and Smith (2002) found that TBs were success-
ful at attracting participants from socially excluded groups. TBs also interest people who do not normally
volunteer. They also found that members’ participation in a TB improved people’s sense of well-being by
increasing social interaction.
In a study of TB brokers in the United Kingdom, Seyfang (2001) found that participants exchange time
at least once or twice a month. The most commonly exchanged services were gardening, transportation,
companionship, household repairs, dog walking, and computer training. In addition, Seyfang (2003) con-
ducted an in-depth investigation of a TB in an impoverished community in the United Kingdom. She found
that the primary motivation for joining a TB was to help others, get involved in the local community, im-
prove the neighbourhood, receive valuable services, and meet people.
In perhaps the most comprehensive study, Collom (2007) found that participants joined a TB in the
United States to expand purchasing power and help other people. The values that the TB supports were
cited as an important reason for joining. Although participants were highly motivated to join for needs-
based reasons, participants did not always feel their needs were being sufﬁciently met by the TB. This ﬁnd-
ing was similar to the ﬁndings of Seyfang (2003), who found a ‘skills gap’ can sometimes prevent needed
exchanges. This skills gap can be more pronounced in resource-constrained communities. Participants,
however, still reported high levels of satisfaction and engagement with the TB.
1.2 The Lyttelton Community
Lyttelton is geographically separate from Christchurch, which is the largest city on the South Island of
New Zealand. Located 13 kilometres from Christchurch, Lyttelton is accessed primarily through a road
tunnel. Access is also possible through winding and steep roads over Dyers or Evans Pass. This geographic
separation makes Lyttelton potentially vulnerable during a disaster, particularly, in the event of an earth-
quake which could lead to the need to close the road tunnel.
This physical isolation contributes to the feelings of a close-knit community (Jefferies 2012). Ever-
ingham (2012) notes that, historically, Lyttelton has “a strong culture of self-sufﬁciency and a very strong
culture of community building and community service.” A civic spirit continues today; in this town of a little
over 3000 people, 76 civic organisations existed prior to the earthquakes, including 27 community organi-
sations, 25 recreational groups, 4 religious organisations, 1 business association, 2 residents’ group, and 18
community meeting venues (Christchurch Council 2011).
According to the 2006 New Zealand Census and prior to the seismic events of 2010 and 2011, Lyttel-
ton had 3,075 residents and 1350 households. In Lyttelton, 53.2% of people aged 15 years and over had a
post-school qualiﬁcation, compared with 38.5% of people in the wider Canterbury region. Lyttelton’s un-
employment was 3.6% and the greater Canterbury region was 3.9%. The median income for people aged
15 years and over was $28,400 for Lyttelton as compared to $23,500 for the region. Also, 23.6% of resi-
dents had an annual income of more than $50,000 as compared to only 15.8% for the region. Lyttelton had
a higher percentage of Maori residents than Canterbury, 9.2% vs. 7.2%, and a substantially larger percent-
age of residents born overseas, 23.7% vs. 17.9%. Finally, 65.9% of individuals in private occupied dwellings
owned the dwelling as compared to 59.8% for the region (New Zealand Census 2006).
1.3 The Lyttelton Time Bank
The TB was initiated by Project Lyttelton, a local organisation whose goal is to preserve the historical
character of the town while encouraging a sustainable community. This umbrella organisation sought to de-
velop creative local enterprises that ﬁt broadly within the organisational vision (Jefferies and Everingham
2006). The core values of this organisation include respecting people and their unique contributions (Hall
2009). The TB promotes an egalitarian spirit that ﬁtted well with the vision of Project Lyttelton.
The Lyttelton Time Bank was the ﬁrst in New Zealand. After a slow initial start, the TB grew quickly
aided by a part-time coordinator that was paid through a small three-year grant of $15,000 per year. Other
keys to the organisation’s growth included the development of a community website, adoption of software
to manage trades, and the orchestration of publicity and educational events to explain and promote the
concept of TBing in the town. A signiﬁcant obstacle was surmounted when a tax-ruling made TB exchanges
exempt as long as participants’ primary income-generating activities were not traded. At the time of the
Canterbury earthquakes, the TB had approximately 330 members and 18 organisational members, in-
cluding the Lyttelton Medical Centre, the police department, the Community House, and a local primary
school (see Figure 1).
1.4 The Canterbury Earthquakes
In the early hours of Saturday, the 4th of September, 2010, the citizens of Lyttelton and the Canterbury
region were jolted awake by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake (GNS Science 2012a). The epicentre of the quake
FIGURE 1 - TIME BANK ORGANISATIONAL NETWORK BEFORE EARTHQUAKES
Christchurch City Council
Primary school A
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC
Lyttelton Tag Busters
Lyttelton Tennis Club
Lyttelton Parks Committee
Holy Trinity Church
Torpedo Boat Museum
Diamond Harbor &
other Time Banks
Lyttelton Business Association
Time Bank member
Not a member
Line thickness represents strength
GOLD indicates part of Project Lyttelton
BLACK in place before EQs
RED after Sept 2010
BLUE after Feb 2011
was 40 kilometres west of Christchurch city near the town of Darﬁeld at a relatively shallow depth of 10
kilometres (GNS Science 2012b). The earthquake produced the highest ground shaking ever recorded in
New Zealand, at the time, up to 1.25 times the rate of acceleration due to gravity (GNS Science 2012b).
The National Crisis Management Centre in Wellington was activated and Civil Defence declared a state
of emergency for Christchurch (TVNZ 2012). Although the quake caused widespread physical damage, no
fatalities occurred and only two people experienced serious injuries (TVNZ 2012).
Over the next 18 months, the region was hit by a sequence of earthquakes triggered by the initial
quake. However, the most notable earthquake event happened on the 22nd February, 2011, which had a
magnitude of 6.3 and was centred 10 kilometres south west of the Christchurch in the town of Lyttelton
(GNS Science 2011). Due to the time of day at which it occurred, 4.35 in the morning, and the location,
the initial September quake caused no loss of life (TVNZ 2012). However, given the February earthquake
occurred close to the city at a shallow depth and in the middle of a working day, 185 people were killed,
making it New Zealand’s second-deadliest natural disaster (Geonet 2012). The deaths in the February
quake occurred primarily as a result of building and masonry collapse. Widespread damage occurred to
infrastructure, land, and buildings.
Unlike the September event where Lyttelton was minimally affected, in February, Lyttelton was close to
the epicentre of the quake and experienced tremendous damage and two deaths. It was estimated at the
time that every second building was damaged in Lyttelton and thus cordons were put in place to close the
main business area (TVNZ 2011). The Lyttelton Tunnel was closed following the earthquake (New Zea-
land Transport Agency 2011) and only opened four days later for local and emergency trafﬁc (Canterbury
Earthquake 2011a). Like a large portion of Christchurch, Lyttelton lost power, water, and sewage. By the
5th of March, water was restored to 78% of Christchurch, residents were still advised to boil their drink-
ing water (Canterbury
Given the level of
damage of the Feb-
ruary earthquake, a
arose in Lyttelton.
Volunteers and officials
from Civil Defence,
St. Johns Ambulance,
the Police, the local
volunteer Fire Brigade,
and the New Zealand
Defence Force were
engaged in emergency
PHOTO 1. A RNZN Member serves food to the Lyttleton Community as part of the
disaster recovery of the Christchurch Earthquake on 23 February, 2011.
operations (See Photo 1). Emergency workers responded to the tremendous damage in Christchurch.
However, the closed Lyttelton tunnel left the town on its own (Interview Civil Defence 2012). The
HMNZS Canterbury was in port at the time of the earthquake and 226 defence force personnel were
committed to Lyttelton and the region providing security patrols, hot meals to the township, and ac-
commodation to a small number of people (New Zealand Army 2011; New Zealand Navy 2011). “The
ship’s fortuitous positioning allowed an immediate response with the unloading of personnel, vehicles
and equipment into the Lyttelton CBD (New Zealand Navy 2011).” By 7 March, a Recovery Assistance
Centre was established in Lyttelton giving residents a “one stop shop” to provide face-to-face welfare
information and access to social services (Canterbury Earthquake 2011b).
1.5 Community Resiliency as a Conceptual Framework
The concept of resiliency originates from the ﬁeld of material sciences where resiliency measures the
ability of a material to bounce back after a disturbance. Within the social sciences, the concept of resil-
ience is popular and is deﬁned as the ability of a community to bounce back from crises (Baker 2009; Long-
staff 2005). Currently, researchers are exploring how to increase community resiliency before a disaster
and they are trying to understand why some communities are more resilient than others.
In this report, we examine how the TB was able to organise and develop signiﬁcant resources, which
they mobilised during the earthquakes. The ability to mobilise resources is an important part of building
resilient communities that can recover following disasters. As such, we use a conceptual framework based
on community resilience. We brieﬂy review some of the key research.
Norris et al. (2008, 130) review past work on resiliency, which they deﬁne as “a process linking a set of adap-
tive capacities to a positive trajectory of functioning and adaptation after a disturbance.” They stress the impor-
tance of ﬂexible and adaptive nature of resources, which includes the extent to which resources are robust (i.e.,
the resources work under a wide variety of circumstances), redundant (i.e., the resources are substitutable), and
rapid (i.e., the resources can be mobilised quickly). Norris and colleagues’ framework provides a useful approach
for understanding community resiliency. They argue that community resiliency involves economic resources,
social resources, communication resources, and community competency.
Economic resources include the level, diversity, and equity of economic development (Norris et al.
2008). Overall, New Zealand rates high on its level of economic resources. Our ﬁndings are relevant to
communities within countries of higher economic development and this is treated as a background context
and thus it is not explored speciﬁcally in this report. Although the ﬁndings would likely hold throughout
New Zealand, the ﬁndings might not be relevant to communities in countries that are less economically
developed and are unable to mobilise physical and social resources during an emergency.
Communities are more resilient when they have greater social resources. This is the domain where
the Lyttelton TB made a strong contribution directly developing and enhancing valuable social resources.
Norris et al. (2008) deﬁne social resources as social networks of ties and support. We explore the nature of
social ties in terms of citizens’ feelings of a shared connection with their neighbours, as well as the network
of weak and strong, and formal and informal social ties through which resources can ﬂow.
Communities are more resilient when they have communication resources through which accurate and
timely information can ﬂow. TB activities are mediated by coordinators who use different communication
modalities ranging from emails, educational seminars, publicity, social events, and internal communica-
tions. We explore the communications for their content and as a set of adaptive resources.
Finally, Norris et al. (2008) suggest that communities are resilient when they are able to solve prob-
lems. The TB is a practically-oriented community of exchange in which services are traded locally to solve
individual problems. In addition, residents donate their labour to community projects in order to address
common needs and interests. Thus, the adaptive competency of the TB community to solve problems is
explored across both personal and collective needs.
The study was conducted in Lyttelton, New Zealand between April 2009 and November 2012. The au-
thors originally sought to examine how communities were solving problems using local exchange systems
like time banks. The Lyttelton TB was an ideal research site given it was new and growing. However, when
the earthquakes struck 18 months into the ﬁeldwork, the focus of the research changed to explore the role
of the TB in responding to the earthquakes and the recovery activities.
The authors conducted a qualitative study using focus groups, in-depth interviews, participant observations,
content analysis of secondary data, and quantitative analysis of TB trading activity (see Figure 2). Two focus
groups were conducted with ten members of varying experience with the TB. Twenty-one in-depth interviews
were conducted with individual members of the Lyttelton TB both before and after the earthquakes. In addi-
tion, interviews were conducted with ﬁve key informants from the Lyttelton TB and several of these key inform-
ants were interviewed multiple times. Seven interviews were conducted with other organisations that were
also involved in response efforts following the earthquakes (see Table 1). Secondary data included newspaper
articles, TB email broadcasts, and ﬁrst-hand reports of citizens’ experiences.
FIGURE 2 - QUALITATIVE DATA SOURCES
• Field Notes
• Newspaper Articles
• Email Broadcasts
Informants were chosen to provide a broad range of experiences with the TB. In particular, we chose
members at different life stages since they may have different needs. The in-depth interviews were primar-
ily conducted in the informants’ homes. The interviews ranged from one to two hours in length and were
audio-taped and transcribed. The transcripts were coded and analysed using a hermeneutical analysis of
the data (for more details, see Thompson 1997). First, the transcribed interviews were coded based on a
priori conceptual categories as well as unanticipated categories that emerged from a close reading of the
text. To conduct the intra-textual analysis, the coded data for each informant was closely read to develop
a unique written interpretation of each informant. To conduct the inter-textual analysis, themes across
informants were compared to look for commonalities. Iterative tacking between intra- and inter-textual
analyses continued until the tentative themes could be forged into a coherent interpretation. The inter-
Type of Data Details
Group interviews -2 focus groups of TB members with different
levels of experience
Individual interviews -13 interviews with individual TB members who
had varying levels of trading activity
-5 post-earthquake interviews with advisory board
members and coordinators
-8 interviews with TB members following the
-7 interviews post-earthquake with high ranking
organisational representatives (Medical Centre,
Civil Defence (2), Lyttelton Police, Information
Centre, and Christchurch City Council)
Participant observations and ﬁeldwork - Field notes from organisational meetings and
community meetings, group activities from April
2009 until December 2012; correspondence
among advisory members; minutes of advisory
board meetings; correspondence to TB; photos
Email broadcasts - Bi-weekly email broadcasts from 2009-2012
Trading data - Quantitative counts of TB trading data from
First-hand accounts - Jefferies and Everingham 2006; Hall 2009;
Shaken Heart (Evans 2012); Everingham 2012;
Jefferies 2012; The Brigade (Surren 2012)
Local publicity - Lyttelton News since 2004
- 26 other news stories from regional press
TABLE 1 - INFORMATION AND DATA SOURCES
view insights were supplemented with ﬁeld observations by the lead author who participated in TB trades,
working bees, and community events. Finally, email broadcasts and press reports were analysed to monitor
the emergency crisis. TB trading activity was analysed to quantify the amount of hours traded that were
dedicated to different community activities and the disaster response and recovery.
CHAPTER 2 - THE ROLE OF THE LYTTELTON TIME BANK
Chapter 2 explores the role of the Lyttelton TB in developing communication and social resources before
the earthquakes occurred. These resources were later activated in response to the earthquakes, which is
2.1 Developing Communication Resources
Before the earthquakes hit, the TB already had a well-practiced communication system in place. These
communication resources included an extensive database of 330 local TB members, a list of volunteers
willing to provide immediate assistance to other residents (who were named the “Knightingales”), regular
email broadcasts to communicate with volunteers, and an inventory of TB members’ skills (Interview Time
Bank Coordinator; Evans 2012). The TB also created new communication systems, as needed, to prioritise
and record immediate requests for help and deploy members offering assistance.
In addition, eighteen organisations were also TB members and each had their own list of contacts. The
Volcano radio station was launched in 2008 and became a TB member doing on-air interviews with TB
members to discuss trades and broadcast trade requests and offers. The TB’s direct communication chan-
nels, as well as their relationships with the Volcano Radio and Lyttelton News, provided a local system for
communicating. This communication system had redundancies and could be deployed rapidly.
TB coordinators were familiar and trusted sources for community information. For example, members
reported enjoying the regular “chatty emails” that are easy-going, helpful, and communicate feelings of
community and civic pride. Email broadcasts from 2009 until the earthquake in September 2010 were
analysed. The tone was optimistic presenting a can-do attitude, as these examples of emails demonstrate:
Wow! Did we have a great time at the mid-winter Christmas on Friday night. Thanks every-
one for coming and making it such a great success. Special thanks to Time Bank members
Jane and Jen for all the hard work during the day and the clean up the next. Great to see
some blokes in the kitchen doing the dishes too!
Sometimes when I orientate new members they can ﬁnd it hard to identify their skills. One of
our most recent members thought long and hard on this and ﬁnally, after going into in-depth
conversation with his partner this is what he came up with: “I am tall so I can reach things,
and thin so I can ﬁt through things.” If you need any of these skills let me know!
A great big warm thank you to you and your team at [the local school] for working with us
this year with time banking. Between our two organisations we have created a very success-
ful model for time banking at schools, and I have two other time banks wanting full details on
how we have achieved this. We are really looking forward to enhancing our model next year
and creating some wonderful magic as we go. It was new ground for all and we thank you for
your openness and understanding that we ‘did not have all the answer’ at the beginning.
Thus, this was a supportive and trusted forum that facilitated creating a sense of community where everyone
was assumed to have tradable talents. Across radio, newspaper, and email broadcasts, a narrative was pre-
sented to both TB members and non-members that their community has diverse skills. Regular announcements
highlighted that the TB community was working together to solve individual and community challenges.
2.2 Activating the Time Bank’s Communication Resources
During crises, getting reliable information is critical (Guion, Scammon, and Borders 2007). However,
people often have little time to verify information; thus, they tend to rely on trusted and familiar sources
2.2.1 September 2010 Earthquake
Even though Lyttelton was relatively undamaged by the September earthquake, some residents were in
need of help and sought out immediate assistance from emergency services. For instance, several resi-
dents sought shelter at the Civil Defence Sector Post but found it closed (Anonymous 2010; Fieldnotes, 4
September, 2010). Local Civil Defence volunteers in Lyttelton, taking a directive from the city ofﬁce, were
deployed to the Addington welfare centre where need was deemed to be greater (Interview Civil Defence
Volunteer). In addition, the ReadyNet system that was adopted by Christchurch did not activate to alert
the network (Voxy 2010; Interview Information Centre Manager). The perceived lack of emergency servic-
es in Lyttelton created an opportunity for other groups to play a signiﬁcant role in assisting the community
(Anonymous 2010). Major roles were played by the Volunteer Fire Brigade, St. Johns Ambulance, Informa-
tion Centre, and the TB.
At the time of the September earthquake, the TB was the local organisation with the most exten-
sive communication system for organising local emergency response efforts (Everingham 2012). As
explained by a member of the Information Centre, “The Timebank had the most comprehensive list so
it also became the principal information source.” Neither Project Lyttelton nor the Information Centre
had robust systems that could be rapidly deployed to communicate with residents (Interview Informa-
tion Centre Manager).
The TB’s email system for regularly communicating with members was still working following the
first earthquake. TB emails offered useful and timely information on safety precautions--such as
the need to boil water, and practical updates--such as closures of roads, schools, and businesses.
During the first week after the earthquake, ten informative email broadcasts were sent to all TB
members. The first post-earthquake email asked members to assist in the TB response as well as
to identify any neighbours who needed help from the TB. Because the TB had recently moved into
the building where the Information Centre was located, these two organisations were able to work
together sharing their resources. They were the key source for accurate information: “the [phone]
number has been given out left, right, and centre as the place to call (Interview TB Coordinator).”
TB members and Information Centre volunteers worked together to provide information and as-
sistance (see photo 2). Basically, these two organisations satisfied the civil defence function follow-
ing the first earthquake (Interview Information
… it was really supportive. It was great
that there was a hub down at the Lyttel-
ton Information Centre that anyone could
go to at any time if they were feeling
upset or needed some support and that
there were continual call-outs for help to
help take chimneys down. Really everyone
was pulling out the stops to help every-
body. (Interview TB member)
Following the first earthquake, the TB’s im-
portant role was acknowledged by emergency
From a St John ambulance perspective,
the way that you and your TEAM kicked in
and started to get things sorted has been
very much appreciated by our ambulance
staff.... On behalf of St John, thank you for
your excellent work. (Correspondence 14
2.2.2 February 2011 Earthquake
Following the second major quake, Civil Defence had responsibility for disaster relief and recovery because
a state of national emergency was declared (TVNZ 2011). Lyttelton was near the epicentre of the earthquake
and many support personnel arrived causing coordination problems. TB personnel were not included in daily
brieﬁngs with emergency responders nor were they given use of the emergency communication systems. Sim-
ply put, emergency responders failed to understand the help that the TB could provide. A City Council manager
familiar with the TB requested that the TB Coordinator be invited to the daily brieﬁngs and given access to the
internet (Interview City Council Manager). The TB Coordinator was not only a trusted source of information for
the community, but also an invaluable resource about the community. Outside emergency personnel could not
begin to understand a community into which they had only just arrived. To quote the TB Coordinator, the TB
had the key to unlock valuable community resources:
...whereas with the Time Bank, we did have it, and once they saw that and then Kyle from the
Navy, he gave me his mobile number. So suddenly I had everyone’s emergency numbers in
here and we were able to open all these doors to make things happen… we could unlock the
community for them. (TB Coordinator Interview)
PHOTO 2. A sign signaling that help is available outside the
Lyttelton Information Centre.
Like the ﬁrst earthquake, the TB played a key role providing information to both its members and
residents. Given problems with power and internet access, this communication was at ﬁrst rudimentary.
A community notice board was located outside the Recreation Centre and was updated after daily emer-
gency brieﬁngs (see Photo 3). Later, email broadcasts informed residents of the danger from damaged
buildings and the need to avoid the central township. Additional notiﬁcations told of the closure of the tun-
nel, the establishment of the Recreation Centre as the emergency centre, and the need for water and food
donations at the emergency centre. Further broadcasts asked members to help provide accommodations
and assist with clean-up activities, and the TB also offered assistance for those people in need.
Later in the week, email broadcasts reported on the availability of water, the need to boil water, free
meals at the Recreation Centre, the status of critical services (e.g., sewage, rubbish), the opening of the
tunnel, the need to evacuate dangerous areas of town, the status of EQC home safety inspections, and
the opening of supermarkets, chemists, and the medical centre. When critical social service organisations
were in town, such as WINZ and mental health counselling services, email broadcasts provided this infor-
mation along with notices of public meetings. Email broadcasts also asked members to look out for their
neighbours and identify anyone who was coping poorly or had special needs.
In addition to using email broadcasts, the TB also utilised the services of Volcano Radio to communicate
information to the community and air urgent requests for assistance. They also posted information to the
social networking site Facebook and the Project Lyttelton website.
Since many townspeople needed the assistance of trades people (e.g., plumbers, builders, electri-
cians...), requests for help needed to be matched with offers of professional and volunteer assistance. In
September, this service was done more informally given the small number of requests. In February, how-
ever, the TB set up and managed a job board matching requests and offers. Urgent requests, such as the
need to have a dangerous chimney dismantled, were directed to the Fire Brigade. Less urgent requests
were posted on the job board and matched with an available tradesperson. The TB Coordinator recruited
a large number of TB volunteers to man the reception desk at the Recreation Centre and manage this pro-
cess of getting services to residents.
The TB had a database inventorying community skills and resources long before the earthquakes
struck. Thus, the TB was able to locate needed items and coordinate donated supplies. For instance, a
large amount of food was donated and needed refrigeration. The TB located a member with a refrigera-
tor/freezer and coordinated delivery by the Army. This example illustrates the important role that a local
organisation with effective communication networks can play coordinating efforts to accomplish a shared
goal--an effective emergency response.
As the TB Coordinator explained, once her role had been recognised and legitimised, only then was she
given access to needed resources. Only then was she able to direct TB members’ efforts more effectively
and get necessary resources to assistance with the TB’s effort (e.g., the Navy helped by entering the dam-
aged Information Centre to retrieve needed supplies).
“So between Fletchers, the Fire Brigade, our
team of volunteers and [name excluded], we
had this one full system going on and the
amount of jobs we were all doing, emergen-
cy, would have been too much for one group
(Interview Time Bank Coordinator).”
Many people ﬂed the community in the
immediate aftermath of the earthquake and
relatives were unable to locate them. The TB
partnered with the Lyttelton Community House
and developed a list of residents’ locations using
their shared network of local knowledge. They
provided this information to concerned loved
ones. As a Lyttelton police ofﬁcer stated, “I think
that’s where the Time Bank came in. They were a
local support agency on the side.” In both earth-
quake events, the TB mobilised its communicative
resources, which are critical during disasters relieving stress, facilitating social connections, and lessen-
ing feelings of social isolation (Shklovski, Burke, Kiesler, and Kraut 2010).
2.3 Developing Social Resources
Aldrich (2012a) argues that social networks enable communities to withstand disaster and rebuild.
Research finds that individuals who participate in and develop deeper social ties to their local com-
munities report higher levels of personal recovery following disasters (Tatsuki 2008). These social
networks create “informal insurance” that individuals can draw upon to receive care from their family
and friends, formal and informal organisations, and communities (Aldrich 2011; Aldrich 2012b). This
support is captured through social embeddedness (i.e., informal social ties), citizen participation and
leadership in organisations (i.e., formal social ties to organisations), and linkages between and among
organisations [Norris et al. 2008].
Researchers who study disasters suggest that an important role is played by organisations that lie at the
centre of social networks of individuals and organisations (Longstaff 2005). Like the centre of a wheel with
many spokes, these “hub” organisations are most successful when their networks are large, when they have
strong ties forged through regular association, and when dyads exchange reciprocal beneﬁts (Goodman et
al. 1998). Granovetter (1973) suggests that hub organisations beneﬁt by having many weak ties that under
certain conditions are more effective. Loosely coupled networks have many weak associations that can be
activated in times of crisis to gain access to resources and fresh ideas (Longstaff 2005). Although tightly
coupled networks of friends and family provide comfort, they may not cast a wide enough net of social ties
to locate crucial resources.
PHOTO 3. The community notice board providing
community updates outside the Emergency
Centre on 24 February 2011.
Our ﬁndings support that the Lyttelton Time Bank functioned as an important hub organisation to the
residents of Lyttelton. It provided a way to build and access a social network through individual and com-
munity exchanges. When the ﬁrst earthquake occurred, 330 members made up the social network of the
TB and 30,000 trades had been made. Through these trades, members reported that the TB provided an
easy way to meet new people and create friendships. New residents described how the TB helped them to
integrate into the community. Consider the following quotations from the focus group interviews:
I’m relatively new to Lyttelton and just to get to know neighbours was the main issue really
[that attracted me to the Time Bank] (Focus Group Interview TB member).
I didn’t know many people in this community – the Time Bank provided an easy transition into
the community (Focus Group Interview TB member).
Also, many organisations joined the TB including social and economic organisations, as well as commu-
nication, government, educational, and medical organisations (see Figure 1).
2.4 Activating the Time Bank’s Social Resources
2.4.1 September 2010 Earthquake
After the September earthquake, the social ties developed among the TB members were activated to
provide social support. The Medical Centre, a TB organisational member, asked that TB volunteers call each
of the 156 elderly residents to check on both basic and emotional needs; “...did they have water, did they have
power, were they afraid, do they need someone to come around and talk to them?” (Interview TB Coordinator).
A signiﬁcant aftershock hit four days later, and TB members contacted these senior residents again often stop-
ping by for a personal visit. The Knightingales, TB members who had agreed to help out on short notice, were
mobilised through a cell phone text to make visits to several elderly residents. As explained by the community
nurse, “Look, we need to check on the elderly, otherwise the GP will need to spend two hours with each patient,
because people need to talk (Interview Medical Centre Nurse; Evans 2012).”
The TB social network was not limited to its members but extended to the wider Lyttelton community.
As the Fire Brigade became ﬂooded with requests to dismantle dangerous chimneys (see Photo 4), the TB
was asked to assist with low-risk jobs (Interview Fire Chief; Evans 2012). Utilising their database, the TB
Coordinator was able to determine members who might have the relevant skills and resources to assist
with this task. “The process at the moment is if we get a call about a chimney or the Fire Brigade calls us in,
I have a team of chaps that go around and assess the chimneys and basically where we can get those chim-
neys down absolutely safely, we will take them down (Interview TB Coordinator).” The TB also organised
material support, such as locating tarps and water vessels and requesting boiled water and cooked meals.
Manned by TB volunteers, the Information Centre became a key social welfare and emergency manage-
ment centre. The Information Centre was the central location where residents were able to drop in for
information, support, companionship, and often a welcoming cup of tea. As the TB Coordinator explains:
in to help, but
ing it, they
were coming in
into the informa-
tion centre for
they received it.
There was a lot
of talking and
teas and coffees
Coordinator; Evans 2012).
For example, during the ﬁrst week following the earthquake, a family was identiﬁed as in crisis. “We have a
family in a little bit of stress. We need to get them out of their home environment and get their home sorted
(TB broadcast, 8 September, 2010).” This family had two damaged chimneys that had collapsed into the house
sending ash and dust over all of their possessions. In addition, their water cylinder had fallen over soaking large
areas of the house. Their youngest child was very sick at the time. TB volunteers were recruited to wash wet
linens, clean their house and possessions, provide food, and care for the children. These services helped the
family stay in their home and community and feel like they were part of a caring community.
The TB also provided a conduit for those people who wanted to spontaneously volunteer. In the case of
the TB members, these volunteers were already vetted by the TB system, which requires potential mem-
bers to provide references. Since schools and most businesses were closed, residents had little to do. The
majority of Lyttelton residents were only minimally affected by the September quake and wanted to assist
those neighbours who were affected.
The efforts of the TB continued several weeks after the September earthquake. The local grocery store
was closed due to structural problems. A bi-weekly transportation service was arranged to take residents
shopping. This service was important for many of the elderly residents who lacked transportation and
were reliant on the local shop. As people found out that their homes were “red stickered” as uninhabitable,
the TB network located local accommodations.
HOME NEEDED FOR DISPLACED RESIDENTS – Unfortunately members XXXX and XXXX have to
move out of their home, for up to six months, due to structural damage to their home. Do you know of a
rental in the Lyttelton area? Please let me know ASAP (TB broadcast, 20 September, 2010).
PHOTO 4. Lyttelton Fire Brigade dismantling a dangerous chimney.
Also, the Information Centre continued to be staffed by TB volunteers giving residents a place to so-
cialise and congregate. Organisational members, such as the Timeball Station, sought TB help cleaning up
the rubble. Finally, the TB helped organise a party to “celebrate the strong and resilient community that we
are,” and to begin the process of returning to normalcy.
Approximately 183 hours were logged for the September earthquake work. However, this number
grossly underestimates hours donated since most TB members gave of their time freely and chose not to
bank hours earned during the disaster (correspondence TB Coordinator).
2.4.2 February 2011 Earthquake
As in September, the TB was part of a multi-agency response to the earthquake. The TB worked with
the Lyttelton Police, Fire Brigade, St. Johns Ambulance, Civil Defence, Community House, Christchurch
City Council, and Volcano Radio, as well as the New Zealand Army and Navy. Interviews with ﬁrst respond-
ers suggested that the effectiveness of the response in Lyttelton was due in part to the coordination
between the emergency responders and local volunteer sector; the successful response was due to “the
excellent local team work.” As explained in an interview with a Lyttelton police ofﬁcer who has policing
responsibility for a number of communities:
It was just everyone working together and that’s one thing I found was really great. That
worked really well whereas other areas were ruled by this is my pile, this is my pile, no-one
shared. At the end of the day, everyone pulled together and it didn’t matter what level of
society or where you were from. I would say 95% of the people actually pulled together and
it was amazing.... It took Sumner, it took them longer in terms of getting their community to-
gether and they saw a lot of community support, they saw a lot of community leaders trying
to do things but I don’t think it worked as well as here [in Lyttelton].
For example, the TB Coordinator assisted a member of the local Coast Guard Unit in securing housing
for tourists trapped in the Lyttelton by the closing of the tunnel. With an intimate knowledge of the com-
munity and its resources, accommodations were arranged with a TB member who ran a local Bed & Break-
fast. In addition, the Lyttelton Civil Defence team decided that residents and others could not be accom-
modated at the Recreation Centre, as explained:
We didn’t really have enough to do one shift let alone three. We talked obviously and said
right, we’ll ﬁnd accommodation for those whose homes have gone or they’re stuck in Lyttel-
ton, can’t get out etc, and so that’s when the TB came in. I said to the [TB] Coordinator right,
you should ring around and get accommodation as people come in and so on and that’s what
happened (Interview Civil Defence Volunteer).
In one case, a TB member stayed with an elderly couple who were afraid to be alone in their cold, dark
house as the aftershocks continued overnight. In addition, over the coming days, accommodations were
secured for both TB members and non-members, by matching those who needed accommodation with
those who could provide it. In one case, an elderly couple was housed for over 6 weeks with a TB family.
The TB used their network of social ties in the community to provide leads for accommodations for the
many months following the earthquakes.
Given the severity of the event and the loss of control experienced by many citizens in the community,
it was unsurprising that many people were tired, stressed, and even angry. As the TB Coordinator ex-
plained, the TB volunteers manning the reception desk were able to bring a friendly and recognisable face
to the relief effort. In several cases, this reduced anxiety and avoided conﬂicts. “The TB helped put a local
face on the emergency effort. Many outsiders have no idea who the right contacts are,” an Information
Centre volunteer stated. For instance, the TB Coordinator was able to diffuse three incidents between
residents angry over the availability and distribution of resources. The TB Coordinator facilitated access
for relief authorities to the local Maori Marae following cultural protocol and showing respect, which was
important to avoid conﬂict (Interview TB Coordinator).
TB members used their informal social ties to identify residents in crisis even before help was request-
ed. For instance, an at-risk family was identiﬁed after the September earthquake. Additional support was
provided following the February quake. “We need people that are willing to go the extra mile to look after
individuals that have come to our attention that need looking after. You would check on them every day
(TB broadcast, 2 March, 2011).” Other families were offered a “Quake Break” to leave the community for a
rest period, which was facilitated with the support of the TB. Also, TB members delivered meals to elderly
and other vulnerable residents who were unable to come to the Recreation Centre for meals. This service,
through the Community House, continues to operate. Finally, a member of the community who was experi-
encing tremendous anxiety from the earthquakes was helped to ﬁnd a supportive work situation provided
by a TB member.
The experience of one elderly couple in Lyttelton poignantly illustrates the power of the TB to assist
the most vulnerable members of the community. Although not TB members and having no family in the
area, this couple was initially housed for six weeks by TB members when their home was “red stickered.”
When it became apparent that they would not be moving back into their home of thirty years, an appropri-
ate rental property was sought for them in Lyttelton. The Fire Brigade was the only group authorised to
enter the damaged house and they helped to remove the couple’s belongings assisted by a chain gang of
Urgent call out! Are you around at half three today? Need help to form a chain gang with ﬁre
guys to get stuff out of a house on XX Rd. Will need about 8 capable folk and lots of boxes
(TB Text, 2 April, 2011).
TB members also moved the current tenants from the house that they located for the elderly couple,
cleaned the house, mowed the lawns, moved furniture in, arranged for services to be connected, complet-
ed rental documents, negotiated with insurers for rental accommodation support, provided home baked
goods, and continued to check on them over the following weeks.
Both in September and February, the TB’s ability to mobilise a large number of volunteers proved in-
valuable. In an interview, a Lyttelton police ofﬁcer says, “So it took away the responsibility, well not the re-
sponsibility actually, it took away the worry for us to try and ﬁnd people (volunteers).” For instance, when
water arrived to the township in large tankers, the TB was tasked with distributing and assisting residents
to ﬁll vessels. Since local schools were closed for approximately three weeks, TB members organised a
children’s fun day approximately one week after the earthquake and invited the whole community to par-
ticipate (TB broadcast, 28 February, 2011). Other efforts already mentioned, include stafﬁng the recep-
tion desk at the Recreation Centre, assisting in repair work, participating in working bees, managing the
job board, distributing tunnel passes, checking on vulnerable members, and delivering meals. During the
February earthquake, TB members recorded 860 hours of labour. Much of this labour was servicing non-TB
members (Correspondence TB Coordinator).
CHAPTER 3 - THE ROLE OF THE LYTTELTON TIME BANK
According to a report prepared by the Christchurch City Council (2012), Lyttelton was severely impacted by
the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. The built environment sustained considerable damage to residential proper-
ties, retaining walls, and roads. The economic environment was signiﬁcantly affected; the main retail district and
hospitality sectors suffered signiﬁcant damage (see Photo 5). The Lyttelton Port of Christchurch, a major driver
of the local economy, suffered damage to 500 port assets and has an estimated $500 million in total damage
(Wood 2013). In terms
of the natural environ-
ment, the nature reserves
around Lyttelton remain
closed for recreation.
assets, such as the rec-
reation centre, swimming
pool, and Council Ser-
vice Centre, are closed
because of damage.
cording to the Council’s
report (2012, p. 7), the
one area that improved
in Lyttelton is the social
environment. Services provided by community groups were maintained or strengthened, and “relation-
ships amongst community groups and organisations have been enhanced with strengthened opportunities
for collaboration.” The number of community groups even grew from 50 to 52 (Ozanne and Ozanne 2013).
Against this backdrop, the TB continues to play an important role galvanising resources for community
resiliency. Chapter 3 examines the Lyttelton TB’s role during the recovery period. In particular, this chapter
focuses on how the community practiced collective problem solving before, during, and after the earth-
quakes assisting in the recovery process.
3.1 Developing Community Efﬁcacy and Problem Solving
Community efﬁcacy is the collective sense that people can work together to exert social control over
their environment (Sampson 2002). The TB assists in identifying, developing, and organising community
resources, which are deployed to solve problems in the local community. Thus, the TB works to enhance
perceived collective efﬁcacy. The TB regularly publicises successful projects using communications that
are broadcast community wide. A virtuous cycle occurs in which success breeds success. Particularly fol-
PHOTO 5. Signiﬁcant damage to local businesses was caused by the earthquake.
lowing the earthquakes, the collective ownership of the TB grew beyond the boundaries of its members to
the community at large. Both TB and community members identiﬁed new community problems and acti-
vated the TB to mobilise resources to solve local problems. These successes were publicised, leading to
new opportunities being identiﬁed.
How was this virtuous cycle initiated? To join the TB, members must post their tradable skills online. It
was common for people to struggle to identify skills. They could not use skills upon which they generated
their primary income given the tax code. Often people did not believe their labour had value because so
much labour upon which the traditional market depends is unpaid (e.g., the labour of caring for children
and the elderly, neighbourly assistance, companionship, and so forth). The TB helped members recognise
their skills and realise that they can provide services that their neighbours value (Ozanne 2010). As ex-
pressed by one focus group participant, “I have skills that people want.”
The TB creates a local marketplace of services that documents members’ talents. The speciﬁc services
participants report receiving through TB trades include gardening, computer training and advice, working
bees in individual’s homes and gardens, assistance with shifting, child minding, access to a trailer, support
with ﬁtness and well-being, and business services, to name but a few (Ozanne 2010).
Some trades are simple exchanges of time, such as getting a lift to the airport for one TB hour. But many of
the trades leave behind practical, real-world skills. As described by one TB member in a focus group interview:
I’ve always been very busy, and then my husband died, and I thought, I’m gonna join the Time
Bank because I need to know how to do things. I needed help with, how do you prune an apricot
tree? I had no idea but someone in the Time Bank did and they came to my rescue.
This woman was taught to prune her trees and is now able to do this skill herself, which contributes to
her personal sense of efﬁcacy. In the early history of the TB, most exchanges were among individual trad-
ers and not all of the trades involved developing new skills. Yet, before the earthquakes hit, an average of
400 hours were traded monthly and over 30,000 total hours were traded. Many of these trades directly
inﬂuenced individual’s skills and feelings of personal efﬁcacy.
I think my teacher gene has come out. I come from a family where all the women are teachers and
everyone’s always told me I’d be a great teacher. And I’ve always gone, ‘I’m not going to be a teacher.’
But I do actually really enjoy teaching people. I really, really enjoy showing people how to do stuff and
seeing people get it. So I guess I’ve become more aware of that and just being aware that I can com-
municate well with people and with a wide range of people. [Interview TB member]
The TB also facilitates group initiatives to build the skills and capabilities of its membership. Partici-
pants reported that the training sessions that developed individual and community skills (e.g., book read-
ing sessions, video nights) were particularly useful (Ozanne 2010).
I was thinking of the pot luck dinner, where we had the ﬁlm, “The Story of Stuff,” and we had the
trading swap. And I thought it was a nice community gathering around a topic. I loved the topic
and then watching the ﬁlm together and having a conversation about it (Interview TB member).
The TB develops new skills by regularly holding classes that it staffs with members to promote a range of
skills (e.g., ﬁlleting a ﬁsh, sewing, storytelling, learning foreign languages) [see Figure 3].
In the two years prior to the earthquakes, surplus hours accumulated in a Community Chest that the TB
used to invest hours back into projects that improved the community. For example, TB members who were
not using their hours often donated them back to the community. Thus, a wide range of community pro-
jects were tackled including supporting Lyttelton’s annual community events, such as the Festival of Lights,
and supporting local initiatives, such as the community garden. Some of these initiatives were building
local capacity such as investing TB hours to support the local Information Centre. Increasingly, members
undertook collective tasks that required more people and time, and higher levels of creativity, coordina-
tion, and organisation. Consider the following TB email broadcast:
Last Monday evening some people gathered to talk about continuing education as provid-
ed/promoted by Project Lyttelton. With ACE funding cuts it forces us to think laterally. One
line we would like to develop is providing education via the Time Bank. This is how it could
work. On Wednesday evenings, starting in March (could expand out to other times as we
develop) will be an opportunity for locals to share their skills and knowledge. So we need to
establish what skills/knowledge people are willing to offer to share with others. They would
get time credits for sharing these. People who attend would pay time credits. There would be
a small charge for covering costs (heating, paper, tea/coffee etc.). An example: Rachel offers
to teach how to make berry vinegars, the Time Bank organises which Wednesday she does
this, and details are advertised. People turn up at the venue advertised. Course goes ahead.
People enjoy devouring berry vinegar! The courses could be for one or several weeks. What
would you like to share?
The Lyttelton TB was resolving local problems by using their members’ diverse knowledge and skills,
and the TB community was developing and practicing skills that were setting the stage to help them re-
solve unexpected problems.
3.2 Activating Community Efﬁcacy and Problem Solving
Given the challenges facing the Lyttelton community following the earthquakes, many opportunities existed
for the TB to support the efforts of the community during the recovery period. The Lyttelton TB was particularly
effective providing social support by activating the skills and competencies of its members for community ac-
tion. For instance, the weekday meal service for elderly residents who were vulnerable in the immediate after-
math of the earthquakes continues today. The TB organisers also worked to ﬁnd new locations for Plunket and
the toy library whose facilities were damaged (Fieldnotes 29 March, 2011).
Communities tend to be more resilient when they can return to a sense of normalcy by resuming their
regular rituals and celebrations (Abramowitz 2005). TB members helped organise a party at one of the primary
schools so the school children could regain a sense of normalcy during these trying times. The TB helped to fa-
cilitate with Project Lyttelton the Festival of Walking to give local residents a way to engage with other residents
and increase their ﬁtness:
Fun. Education. Sharing. Timebanking.
Education classes, run by Lyttelton TimeBankers for Lyttelton people!
Mozarella-cheese making with Antje Duda
26th of May, 3-5pm, and 16th of June, 3-5pm, The Portal
soap/eco-cleaner making with Kate Henry
9th of June, 1.30-4.30pm
ecological walk with Serra Kilduff
10th of June, 11am, meet at Petanque Court
Permaculture with Kate Henry
23 and 30th of June, 1.30-4.30pm
basic woodwork skills with Dirk Heffter
1 July, 9-4pm, The Portal
art of story telling with Bertha Tobias
every Monday in July, 7-9pm, The Portal
sewing postcards and
cosmetics bag with Sue-Ellen Sandilands
17 and 24 July, 7-9pm, The Portal
LEARN TO Play guitar with Natalia Artemiev
every Monday in August, 7.30-9pm
Payment: 1 Timebank credit/course hour or $15/course hour for non-Timebank members.
Pre-book: to avoid disappointment as most courses only have limited
space available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring Sue-Ellen at 328 9243
More info about the courses? Go to www.lyttelton.net.nz/timebank
Join the Timebank? Contact email@example.com
FIGURE 3 - FLYER - TIME BANK WINTER EDUCATION CLASSES
…where a whopping 21 TB members were involved in organising and running the event,
contributing to walks with themes as diverse as poetry, chickens, pushchairs, farms, trees,
coastguard and ecology and more (TB email broadcast).
The TB actively promoted many opportunities for people to get out and socialise. The TB ran a series
of swapping events at the Petanque Court on the main street to provide both members and residents with
a chance to get out and interact with others. This exchange event expanded to include swapping events
of books, toys, DVDs,
seeds, clothes, and ac-
cessories (see Photo 6).
In the last two years, a
large annual swapping
event on “the grassy” oc-
curs where TB members
have shared their skills
with the community for
free. Activities included
tie dying, tennis and
juggling skills, yoga,
games for kids, massage,
mosaic, and many oth-
ers (see Photo 7). “The
idea is that as many of
us TBers as possible get together on the grassy ﬂat during this time and have fun, while at the same time
show-casing the variety of skills on offer at the TB (email broadcast).” The TB also created a winter series
of educational classes
soap making, wood
working skills, permacul-
Given the TB’s exten-
sive social network of
formal and informal ties,
they were particularly
effective working on
initiatives with different
groups and organisa-
tions. Plenty to Share
was a new local organi-
sation that helped mem-
PHOTO 6. Community members participating at a seed swap.
PHOTO 7. Residents making juggling balls at the annual swapping event.
ber grow food for the Community House’s meal program for the elderly. The TB helped organise its mem-
bers to work with the local Community Garden group. Also, the Community Garden and the TB organised
a gardening series and one project involved rebuilding the cob oven. The TB offered labour to help rebuild
the tennis club rooms in partnership with the Tennis Club.
Given the shortage of community gathering spaces, the community was particularly interested in
building the Petanque
Court for recreation
and as a gathering spot.
Members organised the
work using labour and
resources provided by
the TB, Gap Filler, Vol-
cano Radio, and Project
Lyttelton. Across sev-
eral working sessions,
the land was cleared,
the court was built, the
site was landscaped,
and seating and perfor-
mance areas were con-
structed. The Petanque
Court is currently a popular gathering spot that is enjoyed and preserved by the community (see Photos
8-9). The TB worked with Gap Filler to build a community sauna. Jefferies (2012) argues that a “culture of
possibility” is developing in Lyttelton.
The Petanque Court
site is the future site
of the new Lyttelton
Civic Square. The land
was purchased by the
Christchurch City Coun-
cil for this purpose. In
the interim, the Council
funded a transitional
project “as part of the
Programme to help pro-
vide facilities, promote
activity and enhance the
PHOTO 8. Community members participating at a working bee building the Petanque Court.
PHOTO 9. Children at a community party being held at the Petanque Court.
look and feel of the most
damaged suburban cen-
tres (Scoop 2013, p. 1).”
Seven artworks were
installed on the site
and will remain there
until the permanent
construction of the civic
square begins (Future
Labour and skills to
construct three of these
artworks was provided
by TB members (see
The TB organised a
regular community garage sale, which was an important initiative to provide ﬁnancial assistance to other
local organisations (see Photo 11). Initially, the garage sales were envisioned by a TB member as a fund-
raising mechanism for the TB. However, the garage sales are now a bi-weekly event run by TB volunteers
with goods donated by the community. After the February earthquake, the TB sales generate funds for
local groups, who also provide labour to work at the garage sales. These activities help strengthen organi-
sational relationships with the Community House, Plunket, Volcano Radio, Sea Scouts, the Youth Centre,
Lyttelton Harbour Civil Defence, the Primary Schools and many other organisations (Fieldnotes 28 March,
2011). In 2011, the TB invested 133 hours in this project, and over $9000 and $22,500 was generated in
sales in 2011 and 2012, respectively, which was reinvested in the community.
The Lyttelton TB also promotes the development of TBs in the Canterbury region and New Zealand.
They sought and received funding for a coordinator whose sole responsibility was facilitating the growth of
the Timebank Aotearoa New Zealand (TBANZ) network. The TB coordinators regularly answer questions
regarding how to start a TB, visit other TBs, and distribute a booklet they created on how to start a TB
(Project Lyttelton 2013). The skills and capabilities of Lyttelton TB members were harnessed to host the
ﬁrst New Zealand TBing Hui in October 2011 just eight months after the February earthquake. An organi-
sational member provided the venue and individual members organised and facilitated the conference
providing food, lodging, and hospitality to visiting guests. In all, 277 hours of TB labour were dedicated to
3.3 Leveraging the Time Bank’s Social Resources during Recovery
The Lyttelton TB continues to provide care and support to members and the wider community during
the recovery period. As the number of social organisations in Lyttelton increased after the earthquakes
PHOTO 10. Residents working on a transitional artwork project on the future site of
from 50 to 52, the TB
increased its links, both
formal and informal,
with many organisations.
It continues to act as a
hub organisation within
the community (see
Figure 4). The garage
sales are a particularly
effective way for the TB
to increase its formal
links with other commu-
nity groups and support
TB members con-
tinue to provide care and support to vulnerable groups in the community. As discussed previously, the TB
works with the Community House to provide nightly meal services to elderly residents through the “Grow
A Little Extra” initiative (see Figure 5). The TB provides activities for children, such as the Gruffalo Party
and a children’s activity day at the Petanque Court, which is particularly important given the loss of recrea-
tional facilities (see Photo 12).
TB members still need help relocating as their
houses are deemed uninhabitable or repairs are
made. The TB helps members ﬁnd accommoda-
tion and helps facilitate with moving. The TB offers
a number of activities to reengage members in
the community and provide social opportunities
to meet other residents, such as pot luck dinners,
games evenings, social events, and the swapping
events, as previously discussed. The TB Coordi-
nator states, “we also felt very strongly after the
earthquake the mood of people was really de-
pressed and there wasn’t really that much for lots
of people to look forward to.” In addition, the TB
hands out welcome bags to new residents, which
include bus and ferry information, a local map, in-
formation on community groups, home baking, and
seeds from the community garden.
PHOTO 11. Saturday morning at the Time Bank community garage sale.
PHOTO 12. The Time Bank working at a local school to
Christchurch City Council
Fletcher’s Building Hub
St. John’s ambulance
Plenty to Share
Harbour Arts Collective
Primary school A
Primary school B
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC
Lyttelton Tag Busters
Lyttelton Tennis Club
Lyttelton Parks Committee
Holy Trinity Church
Torpedo Boat Museum
Diamond Harbor &
other Time Banks
Lyttelton Business Association
Time Bank member
Not a member
Line thickness represents strength
GOLD indicates part of Project Lyttelton
BLACK in place before EQs
RED after Sept 2010
BLUE after Feb 2011
FIGURE 4 - TIME BANK ORGANISATIONAL NETWORK AFTER EARTHQUAKES
FIGURE 5 – FLYER – GROW A LITTLE EXTRA INITIATIVE
for Community House
Did you know Community House
delivers 5 home-cooked meals a week
to elderly residents of Lyttelton?
Could you please help by contributing
extra from your garden?
Produce delivery coordinated through the
Community Garden, contact Sue-Ellen on 328 9243
CHAPTER 4 – TIME BANKS AS CIVIL DEFENCE PARTNERS IN
EMERGENCY PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT
Chapter 4 examines how the institution of TBing could be used in emergency planning and manage-
ment. Ideally, public policy should seek to enhance local communities’ resiliency—or the process of positive
adaptation following a disturbance. Past research suggests that community resiliency occurs when com-
munities are able to nimbly mobilise a range of resources (Norris et al. 2008). These resources are more
adaptive when they can be quickly mobilised, when the resources work under a range of circumstance, and
when there is substitutability among resources.
The TB model creates a marketplace of services by mapping its members’ skills and assets. In nor-
mal times, members with needs are matched with members who can offer services. In extraordinary
times, this system has the potential to galvanise resources to solve pressing individual and collective
problems. We focus on the key strengths of the TB model, which is the ability to develop and mobilise
communication and social resources to enhance collective efficacy and problem solving ability be-
fore, during, and after emergencies.
4.1 Before Disaster Strikes
4.1.1 Map the Community: Document Existing Assets and Vulnerabilities
Communities are not static but are constantly changing. New households arrive and old households de-
part. Couples expand into families and families contract into empty nesters. People enter the community
through marriage and leave the community through divorce and death. Moreover, residents’ economic cir-
cumstances change as prosperous households enhance their properties and invest in consumer durables.
Other households face economic hardships and sell off valuable assets. Community members also change
as they learn new skills, such as nursing, carpentry, or CPR, to name but a few.
The TB model provides a dynamic system for tracking members and their skills and assets. As previous-
ly discussed, the TB’s marketplace of services is in effect a map of members’ assets and skills. The current
tracking system could be expanded and members could archive speciﬁc skills and assets that would be
vital in an emergency. For example, currently TB members do not trade skills used in their primary employ-
ment. However, any community member with medical or emergency training could be listed in the online
system providing quick access to skilled local personnel in the face of a crisis. Similarly, TB members often
trade the use of possessions, such as trailers or equipment. The system could also map any consumer du-
rables or resources vital in emergencies, such as generators, solar panels, mobile deﬁbrillators, emergency
medical kits, water storage, or rappelling equipment.
In this study, the Lyttelton TB also identiﬁed people who were willing to help on short notice. This idea
of identifying local rapid response teams could be expanded to identify people who can provide a range of
help in an emergency from caring and comfort to rescue and demolition. Although currently many commu-
nities have local trained personnel, such as the police or volunteer ﬁre brigades, emergencies tax existing
systems. A TB can identify and train teams that can be rapidly deployed providing greater redundancy of
emergency human capital.
The TB system does not map vulnerabilities or at-risk community members. However, in an emergency,
lives can be saved if people with mobility or medical issues are known ahead of time. Again, this type of
information can be dynamic. For example, a pregnant woman might be mobile until the last trimester of
her pregnancy. Or a resident might be temporarily incapacitated due to a short-term injury. The online TB
system can easily be used to update changes in individuals’ circumstances since it is a locally based com-
The labour of the TB members could be harnessed to map these assets and liabilities. TB members could
interview community members to identify opportunities [e.g., doctors, generators, water storage,…) and threats
(e.g., older homes, kindergartens, nursing homes,…] (Enarson 2012). For instance, TB “street ambassadors” could
call on their neighbours to determine potentially at-risk residents, such as neighbours who need assistance
during an evacuation, people who are under medical care or rely on electricity for medical needs, or individuals
who are socially isolated lacking family and friends in the immediate area. TB street ambassadors could also map
critical material resources such as generators, refrigeration, water and food supplies, and so forth. These data
provide a more complete proﬁle of the community, which could assist in preparing an emergency plan that takes
into account local strengths and weaknesses (MCDEM 2010).
4.1.2 Practice Team Work: Engage in Community Enhancement Projects
Although regular emergency drills are valuable, it is challenging to motivate citizens to practice fre-
quently unless they have prior experience of a large scale threat (Simpson 2001). However, one advantage
of the TB model is that community members can practice working together on community enhancement
projects, which both strengthens social ties and collective efﬁcacy. Recall that unused TB hours can accrue
within a community chest and these hours can be reinvested back into the local community. In this study,
these community projects solved local problems ranging from cleaning up grafﬁti, improving the commu-
nity garden, strengthening services at the local information centre, assisting with local town celebrations
and festivals, helping the local school, and so forth.
But a number of unintended consequences resulted from these community enhancement projects.
First, social ties were being strengthened. Often when people worked on a community project, such as
helping in the community garden, they would meet other community members who shared their interests.
Some of these contacts resulted in weak connections, such members recognising one another in town.
Other times, friendships were formed. Thus, these community projects enhanced the social connectivity
of the town. Second, as the number of these events expanded and they were publicised, collective efﬁ-
cacy increased. The community of Lyttelton was developing a culture of caring where people believed that
collectively they could work together to get things done.
Third, as people gathered to solve community problems, they were forming impromptu work teams.
These were temporary groups of people who worked together to complete a task. Thus, the temporary
team members had to be self-organising where leaders with expertise emerged to structure the work and
assign roles to get a speciﬁc project completed. These community projects allow people to practice these
skills, which are particularly valuable in times of unexpected emergency where bottom-up, ﬂat leadership
and nimble organisational skills are often more effective than top-down, bureaucratic approaches (Long-
Finally, these community enhancement projects can be strategically-focused on enhancing a communi-
ties’ preparedness. For example, the Lyttelton TB community invested hours to enhance the Information
Centre, which proved fortuitous given the events that unfolded. Community projects were also completed
with organisations catering to the elderly and the young. In a crisis, these relationships can be, and were,
leveraged to provide urgent assistance.
4.1.3 Shout it Out: Build Redundant Local Communication Systems
In this research, the Lyttelton TB developed several modes of communication including sending regular
friendly emails, making announcement on the local radio, and posting regular news stories in the town’s
newspaper; the TB also had its members’ phone numbers and addresses. During emergencies, people turn
to trusted information sources. Thus, developing a well-known communication system with redundancies
is important before catastrophe strikes.
Given the expansion of cell phones, and the robustness of the cell phone technology during a disaster,
the TB might offer to send announcements to TB members and other local residents during emergencies.
However, the cell phone network or the internet may be unavailable during a crisis. Thus, communities
need to invest in communication systems with redundancies and sometimes simple low-tech solutions
work well. For instance, physical copies of the community contact data should be kept in multiple loca-
tions in the community. Provisions should be made to create a community notice board for emergency
information at a centralised location. A notice board might be created before a crisis hits to communicate
community events and thereby create another practiced communication mode. Finally, TB organisational
members, such as schools and healthcare providers, could be provided with radios and appropriate train-
ing to facilitate communication. Rather than waiting for a disaster, the use of radios could be practiced
during non-emergency community events, such as festivals and celebrations. The central point here is to
develop and build upon the local communication systems by practicing with them regularly during commu-
nity events as an on-going process rather than a one-off emergency drill.
4.1.4: Plan Locally: Leverage Local Expertise to Organise Strategically
TB members could organise the preparation of an emergency management plan with community in-
volvement and based on local expertise. The aforementioned mapping of resources and liabilities provides
vital information needed in this planning process. For example, during the mapping of resources and liabili-
ties, it may be apparent that the community lacks particular skills or lacks redundancy in a key capacity. TB
members may be recruited and rewarded with TB hours to undertake speciﬁc training (e.g., logistics, ﬁrst
aid, foreign language training, running a welfare centre...).
Such an approach could empower the community to manage its own risks and capabilities and take
ownership of the planning process (MCDEM 2010). For example, members of the TB community with
medical skills, in consultation with local health organisations, could prepare a health and welfare plan.
Other organisational members and stakeholders, such as emergency ﬁrst responders, could prepare an
evacuation plan. Local schools administrators could prepare speciﬁc evacuation plans for children in their
care. The Information Centre could plan to aid tourists during a crisis, since visitors’ unfamiliarity with the
local area places them at-risk. Finally, the TB could clearly articulate speciﬁc roles for TB volunteers in the
event of an emergency, such as running a welfare centre or doing search and rescue. Traditionally, people
volunteer to engage in this type of emergency planning. But the TB model allows these important non-
economic exchanges to be rewarded with TB hours during both simulated and real emergency situations.
In its position as a hub organisation, the TB model can facilitate innovations in educating residents to
develop household emergency plans by leveraging the diverse expertise of its individual and organisa-
tional members. Research suggest that barriers prevent residents from preparing, such as risk percep-
tions, optimism bias, normalisation bias, and a transfer of responsibility to others (Finnis 2004). Novel
approaches may be necessary to overcome these barriers. For instance, Healthy Christchurch and the
Mental Health Foundation launched the Well Being Game after the Canterbury earthquakes to give Can-
tabrians a fun way to incorporate ﬁve simple actions into daily life to increase health and happiness (Scoop
2012). In 2013, the game was taken into local schools to encourage school children to play and increase
their own mental and physical health. TBs are particularly well suited to developing and managing inter-
organisational relationships. The TB also brings together diverse people with different skills, which may
spur innovations. They could work to partner with local groups to enlist residents, or even children, in get-
ting households prepared (e.g., storing food and water, purchasing batteries and torches, and developing a
family plan), since research suggest that public awareness campaigns often have limited results in turning
awareness into action (Paton 2000).
4.2 When Disaster Strikes
4.2.1 Celebrate Emotional Labour: Access the Caring Culture
Mitchell’s (1983) Critical Incident Stress Debrieﬁng (CISD) is the most widely used approach to psycho-
logical stress (Hutton 2001). This approach advocates that residents who are experiencing stress should
have debrieﬁngs with health care professionals as a post-disaster intervention tool. However, research
challenges the effectiveness of the CISD model (Kenardy and Carr 2000). Other researchers ﬁnd informal
approaches, such as talking to family and friends, equally effective for the vast majority of people who
experience a disaster (Gist, Lubin, and Redburn 1999).
The TB system provides a valuable way to provide rich reserves of emotional labour often needed during
and after disasters. TB members can call or visit vulnerable residents. TB members can staff welfare centres
so people can talk about their experiences and fears. TB members are community members who have expe-
rienced the disaster and may know the people experiencing stress. Thus, they may be able to provide a more
nuanced and empathic approach than outside relief workers. When local residents provide this important
emotional labour, emergency workers are also freed to manage the tasks for which they are trained.
Signiﬁcant evidence suggests that helping other people can provide therapeutic beneﬁts for the care
giver. For instance, older women in a ﬂood in Pennsylvania did as well and, in some case, even better than
those who did not experience the ﬂood. Similarly, following Katrina in New Orleans, older women found
helping others enhanced their sense of independence (see Enarson 2012 for additional research on the
evidence for the therapeutic effect of caring for others). Thus, the TB system can be activated to provide
emotional labour to those in crises, which provides beneﬁts for the TB helpers.
4.2.2 Expand Diversity: Appreciate the Range of Skills that Provide Flexibility
Communities in New Zealand are susceptible to a wide variety of potential hazards including earth-
quakes, landslides, ﬂooding, high winds, drought, and tsunamis. Given the diversity of imagined and unim-
agined disasters, it is impossible to anticipate the resources that may be needed. The TB system, which
documents a wide range of skills and resources in the community, can potentially create a more effective
response. Disasters cannot be fully imagined but having a diverse range of practiced skills certainly helps.
4.3 Recovering From Disasters
4.3.1 Band Together: Leverage Social Capital
Aldrich (2011, 2012b) argues that social capital is the most robust predictor of population recovery
after catastrophes. He explains that social ties act as ‘informal insurance’ allowing victims to draw on a
ready-made support network (2011, p. 598). Well-connected communities are better able to mobilise and
voice their concerns. Embedded networks beneﬁt those individuals who are part of this network and raise
the cost of leaving a community.
TBs help build trust. They increase interaction and participation among members linking individual
members and organisations to broader social networks. Therefore, the TB model helps build stores of so-
cial capital in a community. During disaster and recovery, TB members can access these reserves of human
capital to help them solve immediate personal problems. However, these stores can also be drawn upon to
mobilise TB members to articulate broader community needs and lobby policy makers to provide resourc-
es to meet these needs. For instance, the community may identify community assets that require repair or
replacement to protect the community from threats. By asserting a collective will, TB members are more
likely to overcome structural obstacles to recovery (Aldrich 2011). In its role as a hub organisation, the TB
effectively links the community to organisations, both horizontally and vertically, to provide resources criti-
cal to recovery.
4.3.2 Solve Problems Together: Leverage Community Efﬁcacy
As was demonstrated in Lyttelton, TB’s can enable communities to work together and thus increase
community efﬁcacy and problem solving ability. This community efﬁcacy gives people the power to ex-
ert control over their environment (Sampson 2002). During the recovery period, the TB and community
members can identify important community problems and then activate the TB to mobilise resources
to solve those problems. TB members or organisations with speciﬁc skills or expertise can be galvanized
to work on important projects. For instance, an ex-mining community in Wales created a Time Centre to
deal with problems of unemployment, loneliness, and community breakdown after the closure of the local
mines. Members work in the community, earning time credits that can be spent on a range of activities at
the Centre or community hall; the labour of these individuals beneﬁts the whole community. TB members
also meet monthly with police and council workers to identify community problems and develop collective
intelligence about how to address the problems (Kennedy, Lietaer, and Rogers 2012).
In conclusion, the TB model is a grassroots and economical model for mobilising communication and
social resources to solve local community problems during normal times. Before disasters strike, a TB can
map the communities’ assets and liabilities, which can be used to improve emergency plans that leverage
local resources and anticipate vulnerabilities. The TB organises members to trade skills and work on col-
lective projects that enhances the collective store of community skills, strengthens social and communica-
tion infrastructure, and practices ﬂuid problem solving within self-organising teams. During disaster and
recovery, the TB provides a practiced mechanism to mobilise quickly communication and social resources
to wrestle with unexpected problems. The TB is particularly successful at managing the emotional labour
needed to provide care and comfort from those suffering from the inevitable stress of the immediate
disaster and its aftermath. The TB builds and strengthens the formal and informal social network and this
connectivity helps mobilise resources for recovery.
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