About timebanking

Timebanking builds communities

Timebanking helps build community by weaving connections to other people, to new experiences, to community activities and unique and interesting offers made by timebank members. These connections help create more connected and resilient communities.

How timebanking works

In its most simple form timebanking happens when a group of people agree to exchange skills, goods and resources and record these exchanges as time-credits. Time becomes the currency, where one hour spent helping another person is valued at one time-credit. We all have skills to offer which help create supportive communities. A timebank encourages community exchanges and has been shown to create more connected and resilient communities. 

Timebanks can be adapted in different ways to have a different focus reflecting the interests of timebank members. 

This video shares the values and benefits of the Long Beach USA timebank.   Timebanking reflects the community it serves. 

Dane County Timebank is doing impressive things for it’s community including having a youth justice system.

Tedx Talk about timebanking

Timebanking is being explored by the state of NSW as a way to help older people and generally reward volunteers.

Join an Auckland Timebank

Timebank Auckland is taking on members.  You can join the Auckland-wide network or a local timebank.  There are currently two timebanks in Auckland, one based in Sandringham and one in Māngere. 



Frequently asked questions

What is a Timebank?

A Timebank is a reciprocity-based work trading system in which hours are the currency. With time banking, a person with one skill set can bank and trade hours of work for equal hours of work in another skill set instead of paying or being paid for services.

Why would I join a Timebank?

When you are a Timebank member you can

  • Get support for a project
  • Connect with people while sharing skills, talents and knowledge
  • Meet new people outside your usual circles of friends or colleagues
  • Become a part of a mutually supportive network of people
  • Learn new skills
Why is everybody's time valued the same?

Because we all have the same 24 hours in the day and a better world is created when we stop comparing ourselves to each other.  We are all of equal value!

How many time banks in New Zealand

There are about 30 time banks in New Zealand.  

What if I don’t have much time to give?

Timebanking is flexible and you only offer your time when you want to offer it. Unlike formal volunteering you do not need to commit to regular hours or days. If you are able to offer an odd hour now and again that is fine. Timebanking is reciprocal, if you give an hour you get an hour back to ask for something you want or need – so the more you put in the more you get out. Timebanking works around you not the other way around – you tell us when you are available.

I like the idea of time banking but I don't have many skills. How can I join?

There are lots of different things you can do.  From pet sitting to driving people to hospital.  come and have a conversation and learn how you will be valued within a time bank no matter what you can do. 

I want to join a timebank but there isn't one in my area?

Unfortunately there are not time banks in all regions.  You can of course start one and you will be supported by timebanking.nz  and it promises to be a rewarding labour of love!

What if I don't want anything back?

We encourage all Timebank members to ask for something back otherwise it might prevent someone else from giving their time and skills. Timebanking works best when people are giving and receiving. If, however you don’t want anything back you can donate your credit hours to another member, community group or a family member.

Isn’t it just the same as volunteering?

Not entirely. It is kind of reciprocal informal volunteering, where each person has hours spent helping is not just recorded but these hours become a way to ask for help in the future.  This changes the nature of the exchange as the recipient of the service can then help another person or group in the future.  Timebanking can create a more empowering model than the more usual way we volunteer. 

Following the core values of timebanking helps create kinder, more connected and resilient communities

Most timebanks follow the book “No More Throw Away People – The Co-production Imperative”  by Edgar Cahn.  His book describes how a system of exchanging time, where everyone’s time is equal, fulfills  our social needs in a way not currently met by our monetary system.

People are assets. Engage and work with the skills currently available.

Redefine work. To include unpaid work which keeps families supported, society functioning and democracy running smoothly.

Reciprocity. Helping that works as a two-way street empowers everyone involved – the receiver as well as the giver. Paying it forward ensures that, together, we help each other build the world we all will live in.

Social capital. It is our relationships within society that makes it function effectively.

Respect. Respect where a person is currently at, not where you think they should be at.

Examples of Timebanks

Worldwide there are lots of great timebanks around, and below are some favourites. 


Tai Tokerau: Tai Tokerau. Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/taitokerautimebank

How to start a timebank

The good people from Project Lyttelton have written a guide on how to start a timebank in NZ.  How to Build a TimeBank

Cafe Federation of Timebanks

USA timebanking guide

From New Zealand

Emma McGuirk did her phd on timebanking  and much of her writing is found here .


A research report collates all the work the Lyttelton time bank did to help after the earthquakes. 

Ashburton Time Bank celebrates 1 year old

After the Christchurch Earthquake Lyttelton Timebank well positioned to help in an emergency

Time on your side

Timebanking makes a difference

The Raglan timebank created a movie sharing why they love it.

Timebanking is now recognised as an effective way to engage people and build resilience in communities. The father Edgar Chan aged 82 is being interviewed by Forbes Magazine.

The UK Timebanking CEO Sarah Bird Tedx Talk is wanting to introduce time banking to the NHS. 

The Colchester Timebank: Called by one member a “Virtuous circle” where simple tasks get done for members who find these tasks difficult. This Timebank is focused on expanding to younger members.

What is Timebanking: A quick explanation.

Media coverage of the Vermont Timebank. This Timebank has been going for nearly 20 years.  One member had her first facial using Timebank credits.

Dane County Timebank operates a restortive Justice Timebank for young people.