All the ingredients for a good party were there – balloons, coloured lights, streamers, Chinese lanterns, flowers, candles – and of course volunteers. At 3.00 in the afternoon, food was arriving, racks of glasses were being carried about, ladders manoeuvred into position, enterprising solutions found for fixing balloons, sound equipment installed, and a driver dispatched to collect the guest speaker.

And at around six, the most necessary ingredient for any party started arriving - the party goers, or in this case, the barn dancers! They brought food of all kinds – with ample scope for vegetarians, salad fans, and dessert lovers. Once Paul Eagle, Deputy Mayor, and Margaret Jefferies, guest speaker from Lyttelton, had arrived, and Timebank’s free band, the Corn Dodgers, had tuned up, we were ready to eat.

Over dinner, Chris introduced me to Ana, who was responsible for acquiring the Seatoun Village Hall for our event. She told me that Peter Jackson was in fact the hall’s owner, having purchased it with the purpose of keeping it for community use. Thank you, Sir Peter!

Chris, our MC for the evening, now announced the first dance! Fortunately for everyone, we were blessed with rousing music from the Corn Dodgers and we had indispensable help with the dance itself from the caller. Those who participated soon shed any self-consciousness, and the floor became a riotous melee.  

Our guest speaker, Margaret Jefferies, congratulated us on our fifth anniversary, and reminded us of Timebank’s origins. She had travelled to the States for a conference about currency, and returned with the inspiration to start Timebank in New Zealand!

Timebank really came into its own at the time of the Christchurch earthquake, she told us, because help at the community level already existed. This is a really significant indicator of the importance of our organisation.

Then it was time for the awards to be announced and presented by Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle and Hannah McKintosh (past Timebank coordinator). The list included: Faithful Volunteer - Bernadette Delany; Enthusiastic new member - Peggy Teoh; Maddie Stanley- Most yummy trades; Sonya Cameron - Most active long term member.

A few more dances and then the winners of the raffle were to be chosen. For prizes, there were 50 vouchers ranging from discounts on computer services to discounts for cups of coffee – all organised by Ra, who had successfully chatted up the sponsors from all over Newtown.


Lulu, our photographer, captured moments of glory, hilarity and occasional ignominy! See accompanying images.