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Margaret Jefferies MNZM27 December 1944 - 13 January 2020
Remembered with love by her many friends.
Respected and celebrated by many as a visionary for vibrant sustainable community and unlimited possibility.
An inspirational community leader has died in Lyttelton.
Aged 75 years, Margaret was no ordinary grandmother. Respected and celebrated by many as a visionary for vibrant, sustainable community and unlimited possibility, Margaret was a networker supreme.
Living Economies will know her for the person who brought timebanking to New Zealand and showed other communities how it could be done as the Chair of community group Project Lyttelton.
She saw opportunity wherever it emerged and labelled it with a capital O.
Give her a disused building, an unused talent, or even a devastating earthquake and she relished the challenge. Give her a community problem – she loved it. She then used her unique combination of intellect, common sense, and people skills to work out how it could be a win-win for all parties.
For example Margaret wanted to start a local news publication to start seeding the idea of the time bank. When she discovered the Akaroa Mail owners were distressed that their local deliverers were not doing the job properly in Lyttelton, she invited time bank members to do it for hours, Akaroa Mail paid cash which helped fund the early growth of the Time Bank and the other part of the deal was that Project Lyttelton would get an independent regular insert in the weekly Akaroa Mail to share local stories and ideas.
She grabbed each big problem as a possibility for new community action and then committed herself 100% to this new goal. Her legacy will live on because she inspired so many to do the same.
She stimulated creativity around her and inspired everyone who met her. But Margaret didn't do everything herself. She listened carefully to others with ideas and then said, "It sounds like a goer to me. Bring me your champion and I will support that person fully."
Her secret was an ability to listen, to see a good possibility and then to challenge others. Her talent was in forming and maintaining good personal relationships, the key to successful organisations and results. She had the X-factor. She said, "Yes, I will make sure that happens" and then achieved it. Undaunted in the face of disappointment and adverse circumstances, she somehow saw her projects through. An example was the spectacularly successful Living Economies Expo in 2017 in Lyttelton.
She also was not afraid to let things go if it became evident that the timing or energy was not quite right.
Margaret prided herself in being practical. Although very intelligent and a former teacher with an M.A, she didn't want to be involved in too much theory – that was for others. She held the centre, managed the vision and didn't want to be bothered with details or academic distractions. But give her a concept with a possibility for community action and she was all in: let's go for it!
She had the good judgement to know who to trust that their recommendations would work. But she never dodged an opportunity to speak frankly when it could be uncomfortable. She could not just nudge you but give you a sharp jab in the ribs. When she told you off there was no doubt in your mind at all. And it worked.
Through her many achievements and impressive list of celebrity connections, she came across as unassuming and never talked about her own accomplishments. She always gave the credit to others even though she clearly acted as the catalyst. She was totally at home with herself and profoundly human.
Many of her biggest ideas came from international connections. For those who knew her and her interest in Spirit at Work she had a thirst for sparking ideas for ground-breaking activities. When she found out about a Science and Spirituality workshop in Vancouver Island in 2018 or a Time Banking event at Bard College in New York in 2004, she raised heaven and earth to get there and she went. Inevitably she made contacts with global leaders and came home with ideas for action, most recently starting a Power of Eight Intention group.
While Margaret has now left us the ripples from her work and the people she has connected will long continue.
Margaret’s significant contribution to our communities was recognised in the 2018 Honours List where she was awarded the MNZM.
A celebration of Margaret’s life was held with family friends and community in Lyttelton on Saturday January 18, 2020.
From the people of Project Lyttelton: In honour of Margaret’s memory, we invite people to do a small act with great love, for others or for our Earth.
Margaret’s family invite people to share with them memories or stories about her. Please send these to firstname.lastname@example.org
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