Unity Exchange

What is Unity Exchange timebanking?

A timebank is a trading system where hours are the currency, not money. 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. Give one hour of service, and receive one hour of time credit.


Join the Unity Exchange timebank

Here at the Common Unity Project Aotearoa, we work on a philosophy of ‘paying it forward’, which is the foundation of how timebanks work. Take time to help others and earn your timebank credits. A timebank member can be an individual, whānau or business.

Join our Unity Exchange timebank

The five core values of timebanking

Edgar Cahn is the founder of modern timebanking. He noticed that successful timebanks almost always work with some specific core values in place. In his book No More Throw-Away People, he listed four values and later added a fifth. These have come to be widely accepted as the five core values of timebanking – and most timebanks strive to follow them. They are a strong starting point for successful time banking.


Every one of us has something of value to share with someone else. Think about what you have to offer – you will have a skill that someone else needs.

Redefining work 

There are some forms of work that money will not easily pay for, like building strong families, revitalising neighbourhoods, making democracy work, advancing social justice. Time credits were designed to reward, recognise and honour that work.


Helping that works as a two-way street empowers everyone involved – the receiver as well as the giver. The question, “how can I help you?” needs to change to, “will you help someone too?” Paying it forward ensures that together we help build the world we all will live in.

Social networks 

Helping each other, we weave communities of support, strength and trust. Community is built by sinking roots, building trust, creating networks. By using timebanking, we can strengthen and support these activities.


Respect is the heart and soul of democracy. Respect underlies freedom of expression and everything we value. We strive to respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.

Four kinds of timebank giving and receiving

It’s helpful to think of four main kinds of timebank exchanges:

  • 1:1 – one person gives another person a ride to the doctor.
  • 1:Many – a cooking teacher earns credits teaching a cooking workshop to four other members.
  • Many:1 – four members earn credits doing a garden clean-up for a senior.
  • Many:Many – a whole lot of people earn credits organising and participating in a community pet-parade.

Join our Unity Exchange timebank