Living Economies is a voluntary network of educators that work to promote community well-being by promoting sustainable, interest-free means of exchange to strengthen regional economies.

Our volunteers include our Board of Trustees and Associates, all of whom may be in a position to offer educational support in their own areas. You can contact any of them through our web form.

Board of Trustees

Helen Dew

Helen’s awareness of the potential of complementary currencies for environmental, social and economic wellbeing began in 1991 when she joined the Wairarapa Green Dollar Exchange. In 2002 she became a founding member of the Living Economies board and the New Zealand distributor of Margrit Kennedy’s Interest and Inflation Free Money, the first of a growing list of titles now available through the Living Economies online bookstore.

Helen is a keen networker, and her attendance at international conferences on currencies in Germany (2003) and New York (2004) have led to ever-widening contacts with others committed to researching and promoting local and global currency projects. She was project manager for the New Zealand edition of Fleeing Vesuvius, published by Living Economies in August 2011.

Nicole Foss

Nicole is an international speaker on energy and global finance. She is Senior Editor of The Automatic Earth, a big-picture web site that integrates discussions about finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and realpolitik. She has practised as an environmental consultant, researched energy policy (including nuclear safety, electricity policy, farm-based biogas, and grid connections for renewable energy), and co-taught permaculture design certificate courses.

Nicole's qualifications include a BSc in Biology from Carleton University in Canada (University Medal for top science graduate in 1988), a post-graduate diploma in air and water pollution control, the common professional examination in law, and an LLM in international law in development from the University of Warwick in the UK (prize for top law school graduate in 1997).

Margaret Jefferies

Margaret has been the Chair of Project Lyttelton for over ten years, working to create a vibrant sustainable community. Living Economies introduced Margaret to the ideas of complementary currencies and to the direct role our current monetary system has in causing many of today’s global issues. She has been a member of its board since 2003.

Inspired by the concept of TimeBanking while attending a complementary currency conference in upstate New York in 2004, Margaret instigated New Zealand's first TimeBank in Lyttelton. The success of the Lyttelton Harbour TimeBank is spawning TimeBanks throughout the country – as well as in Australia and Uruguay.

For her services to the community, Margaret was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, 2018.

Bryan Innes

Bryan has been a permaculture design certificate teacher since 1996. He and his partner Jo Pearsall mounted the four Ecoshowsinitiating the launch of Transition Towns NZ and the 2012 Australasian Permaculture Convergence.

Bryan is a trustee of Awhi Turangi Trust, a centre of sustainable practice working on experimental building systems, livelihood creation, and food production. The Trust also provides tertiary education as a hub of Otago Polytechnic. To study interest-free banking, in 2006 Bryan attended a community currencies conference in Weimar, Germany after visiting the JAK Bank in Sweden. He then created an interest-free community economy system based on reciprocity known as the Genuine Wealth System (also known as Savings Pools).

Babs Lake

Babs has an interest in creating community resilience and systems of intentional interdependence. She was a founding member of The Well Savings Pool in Wellington and a core group member of Transition Towns Lower Hutt. She also has participated in Hutt South Timebank and served on its advisory board.

Babs has a background in neuroscience and environmental studies. She is driven by a deep sense of responsibility for the disconnect between our current lifestyles and the planet's ecological limits. She has devoted the last decade to understanding and acting on environmental issues. Five of those years have been spent providing strategic environmental policy advice to members of Parliament.

Warwick Mather (Treasurer)

Warwick has been interested and involved all his life in movements for social justice and environmental responsibility, organic agriculture, natural foods and healing, and community resilience. Over recent years he has become involved in the establishment of savings pools, both in his own locality and nationally.

He has a background in small business enterprise and management and a degree in civil engineering. He has a lifelong involvement in music playing and many years teaching and choral conducting, with a special interest in renaissance and baroque music. He and his wife Elizabeth have lived for nearly forty years in Hawkes Bay, maintaining a life-long association with the Coromandel community, where they are now based. They travel frequently to enjoy the wonderful outdoors and to meet and share with others working to build healthy local communities.

Murray Stentiford (Secretary)

Murray's education and professional work experience are in science, engineering and IT. He is deeply interested in helping others learn about how local economies and alternative currencies contributed to empowered, thriving communities, helping them weather the highs and lows of the economic climate.

Murray has been involved extensively in holistic education programmes, holding several positions of responsibility in voluntary organisations. He is a keen student of processes that enhance communication and wellbeing, such as NonViolent Communication and Coaching. He has also been a professional musician in several genres.

Phil Stevens (Chairperson)

Phil is an energy, carbon management, and IT consultant. He has provided operational support for the Community Forge Network, an open source mutual credit system used by over 100 LETS and TimeBank organisations worldwide. He also leads workshops for RECAP, a community resilience initiative centred in Ashhurst and the Pohangina Valley, and he volunteers in RECAP's community garden and orchard. He serves as Treasurer and Secretary of LEAP, the Society for the Local Economy of Ashhurst and Pohangina, a not-for-profit organisation that runs a community market, produces a community business directory, and issues a local currency.

Phil grew up in the desert Southwest US, a region that instilled a profound respect for the constraints imposed by the natural world. He emigrated to New Zealand with his family in 2005 to pursue a more self-sufficient lifestyle and develop community networks. He is also a versatile musician and a sound engineer.

Patron

Deirdre Kent

Deirdre has been championing strong local economies since the 1970s when she was a Values Party candidate and a Tauranga City Councillor. Originally a maths teacher, she chose community work, helping form many women's organisations before moving to Auckland to be a professional lobbyist for health organisation ASH, working for smoke-free legislation.

After some time as an Alliance activist, she left to edit national newsletter The Indicator. During this time she met economist author Richard Douthwaite and started writing Healthy Money Healthy Planet: Developing Sustainability through New Money Systems. She co-founded Transition Town Otaki. In 2011 she co-founded The New Economics Party from which came her book The Big Shift. She lives in Waikanae.

Associates

Elizabeth Mather

Elizabeth has spent a good part of her work life in a Rudolf Steiner community for people with special needs and also teaching English as a second language to foreign students. She has had a long involvement in movements for social and environmental justice and is passionate about animal rights. Elizabeth was a founding member of a savings pool and an organic food co-op before moving to Coromandel where she is involved in native bush regeneration on a bush block where she lives with her husband.

Joanna Pearsall

Jo has long been one of the leading volunteers in Living Economies. She is co-founder of the Eco-Show, and, with Trustee Bryan Innes, she has traveled the length and breadth of New Zealand promoting innovative approaches to sustainability, community-building, and healthy economies for people and place.

Living Economies Educational Trust (LE) promotes exchange systems and investment models that build community strength and well-being, offer interest-free alternatives to 'business as usual', and respect both people and our living planet. Our network of volunteers can recommend resources and provide educational support for community initiatives. LE (CC 38114) is a registered educational charity, and we do not provide financial or legal advice.

© 2018 Living Economies