Expressions of interest

Natalie's picture

Hi all,

this is a deliberately very loose post - I want to see what happens.

The short version:

I'm looking for expressions of interest to participate in / co-lead any of the following ventures:

1, Establishment of a national Transition office / coordinator / leadership team

2. Securing funding for the above

3. Offering transition based advisory services to Councils, Businesses, Community groups, Individuals

If you feel you have skills, time and passion to contribute to any of these, please contact me or join me on facebook (Transition Nation Aotearoa) for some further conversation around this. (Please note, this page will only exist temporarily to facilitate contact and conversation).


The slightly longer version:

After undergoing a process of deep personal enquiry over the majority of the past year, my vision includes certain recurring aspects that involve the wider transition community. However, they say never start anything until you have the support you need - so I'm sharing these aspects in the hope they may resonate with some of you. If they don't, that's fine as well. I'm not asking what skills or background you have. If you feel like you can contribute to this, you are probably right.

My vision includes:

- a strong Transition Network that proudly stands out as the leader of change in the challenging times ahead

- a team of skilled professionals and facilitators that are capable of providing the tools, information and facilitation needed to support organisations at all levels to lead the paradigm shift


Underlying this, here are some of the conclusions I have come to:

- The Transition Network, if it is to survive and prosper in New Zealand, needs some strong coordinated support around group cohesion and governance, networking, resources and facilitation. This can only be provided by creating paid opportunites for coordinators, facilitators and experts to support the work that is being done in individual local groups

- The critical aspect of all transition work lies in community governance - enabling groups to work well together, keep their passion and motivation alive and learn the necessary tools to overcome conflict, hardship and obstacles

- The acknowledgement, acceptance and celebration of the needs for cooperation, interdependence and support are key to success

- Increasing economic pressure poses risks and opportunities to transition work. As made clear by Maslow, personal needs have to be met before we can step out to create and contribute. It is therefore a necessity for Transition Initiatives and the Network to become directly involved in meeting individual needs in whatever way they present themselves - whether they are financial, social or emotional. And we need to do that first.

- Once personal needs are met, invididuals will be free to contribute naturally according to their individual skills, gifts and passions

- The debate about the future of our society cannot be had from the head alone. Developing the skills of empathy and heart-felt communication need to be the starting points for the paradigm shift. It is from this place that we can shift individuals and their mental models.

- Organisations, on the other hand, require facts and information in order to satisfy their processes, and in order to be successful we need to provide those as well, until the paradigm shift is well underway.

What do you think?


Expressions of interest

Would love to help but not a lot of time. I am a full time working mum already volunteering some of my time. I am particularly interested to help with this venture as it is dear to my own values. I think I would make time! Let me know if you are keen to talk further.
Cheers, Amanda

Natalie's picture

Hi Amanda, that sounds great!

Hi Amanda, that sounds great! - Lets see how things here develop further and then talk :-)
Cheers, Natalie

Andy Kenworthy's picture

Exp of interest

Hi Natalie,

I believe you are right that TT could benefit from a heightened national profile/leadership.

Not sure what I can contribute at this stage, but interested to talk more about it.



Scott Willis's picture

TT governance expression of interest

Hi Natalie and all,
The curly one here is an 'assumption' of leadership when TT may be functioning quite well 'with no blueprint'. I for one however do strongly value the development of enabling structures to ensure we build more durable actions and assist the development of transition initiatives without reinventing the wheel. The lack of activity on the TT website may well be an indication of a maturity, a cooling of passion, or just the development of other websites to express all the new activity, but is should be a caution to assume too much I'd suggest.

At our local level we have:
- established a local governance team
- secured funding
- provided transition based advisory services and advocacy to all especially including local government and community.

There is no doubt some national body could enhance what we do locally but should not be entered into lightly. My suggestion would be to start with a scoping study - which will have to be funded - to scope the need and the ability to create a national organisation. This might well be a good target for the "Working Together More Fund". We'd be keen to contribute thoughts to this from the BRCT perspective.

Natalie's picture

Hi Scott, thanks for your

Hi Scott,
thanks for your comment. I think the scoping study is a great idea (even though it doesn't quite meet my need for promptness, so to speak - or relieve my sense of urgency) - Can you tell me more about the fund you are talking about?

Also would love to hear what sort of services you have provided to local government etc. Might be a good place to start collecting some 'good examples'...

Look forward to hearing more.

Cheers, Natalie

Scott Willis's picture

Natalie - Local govt. & Funding

Hi Natalie,
Working Together More Fund =

Working with local government:
1. We participate in the "Community Resilience Forum" a Dunedin City Council initiated forum with Uni, Polytech, DCC staff and governance and community representation that shines a sustainability lens on policy and strategy.
2. We submit thoroughly on all strategy and planning documents open for public submission.
3. We are working with the DCC to try to establish a durable energy advice service for Dunedin, while concurrently working with the Energy Cultures team at the University of Otago, collaborating on a trial of different forms of Energy Information and Advice in three Dunedin areas (Blueskin Bay, North East Valley and Brockville).
4. We will soon be running a 'Community Led Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Waitati' (Waitati is a 'hot-spot' for climate change in the Dunedin area) if discussions we've had with the DCC are confirmed in a formal arrangement.

Natalie's picture

Hi Andy, great to hear from

Hi Andy, great to hear from you! Haven't been in touch a while.. See above, lets see what else (if anything) emerges here and then chat.

Good on you for your date with Richard, haha ;-)


Expressions of interest

Hi Everyone,
I think this is a really important discussion to have, whatever way the outcome goes. First up, just to note that I have had no active involvement in TT. I have read the forums since this time last year, I started a blog a couple of months ago, but I do so in relative isolation, not being part of a local TT group. So, take my comments from this place of a lack of inside knowledge, so to speak. I may get some points wrong in terms of history and existing capacities. So, from this space my view of TT in NZ is that it hit it off with a roar (going on the TT Handbook) but has since quietened off in many (most?) places. Some are well and strong, such as Scott’s example (sounds like fantastic work you and your crew are doing in Dunedin). I also see from events postings, more than forum postings, that there is high activity in AK in parts, BOP etc. From my experience, the TT handbook has a section on New Plymouth and mentions the group talking to a council that is very open to ideas. Living here in New Plymouth 4 years later I see zero activity, though there are related activities in local environmental and political groups, environmental centres etc.

I run a social network site for 400 distance education students. It has had a similar experience – initial activity and energy, students meeting up local to discuss their courses, get peer support etc. followed by a drop off a year later. For the last year there has been a very low baseline of activity online. Experience (and student survey results) here shows that while some students are now actively engaging via other media (Facebook, email etc.), the vast majority say they are just too busy to get involved, even though they would like to more. My guess is that a lot of people interested in TT are in a similar boat. Natalie, from this viewpoint, I would agree with your Maslow reference – we are often so busy in our lives just meeting basic needs that time and/or energy/motivation to get involved in TT activity is limited. I am in this place at present. 2012 for me is all about getting onto an acre of land, moving a house there and expanding my previous suburban food growing capacity. I’m trying to meet my family’s personal needs, as you say, and become more food resilient. I then plan to look more outwards. However I would jump at a way to be able to contribute to TT initiatives now, while I am busy with other things. I do wonder how many others out there would be in a similar boat…

Scott, I agree with your idea that some regions might have strong groups, and yours is obviously very robust. However I think the fact that research would be required (a great idea to do) to find out needs and what is happening nationally points to the fact that there is likely a need of some sort to co-ordinate nationally. If we knew enough of what was going on everywhere because we were actively sharing learning and experiences about successes or otherwise in projects, the concept of the need for research would not be there. Or at least that is how I see it. However, I admit I don’t know what existing structures there are behind this TT site for instance. How was it set up? What group maintains it? How would these people, or this group link with any new structure/organisation? There is already a trust set up yes? These are areas I don’t know much about, obviously, but it would seam to be part of the research required.

I also agree this should not be entered lightly. Representing such a diverse range of decentralised (by nature) groups would be a big challenge, as would the thus allocated responsibility for that person to be the voice piece of TT NZ. Would it be an elected role? Who/how would this occur? Or, would a governance board advertise the position? etc etc. Lots to think about, and I would love to hear some input by people more experienced in the network.

I would say that a national paid person to help draw strings the energies together does not need to seen in the light of ‘leadership’ in the sense of normal business ideas of leadership (even while Natalie used this word). Leaders can help show the way rather than being a power holder. Scott, I like your phrase ‘enabling structures’. From my workplace experience with social networks, I am doubtful that the lack of action on the TT website shows maturity. I think in many regions of NZ it is most likely a sign that not much is happening, even while a few are strong and maturing. To my mind, enabling the learning and knowledge created by these few to be used by others would be a great thing. While local governance seems to be a key element in the TT model, I think there also needs to be a focal point that allows outside groups, media etc. to come to that point for info on what TT is, what it offers, how to get started etc – sometimes a book (the TT book) is just not enough, and personal experience can lead to more action. In the UK, while Rob Hopkins expounds this local governance model and decentralisation, he is by default this focal point nationally by doing what he has. Aspiring groups, media etc. come to him for his experience and advice. He helps get things started. Is there value in creating a structure in NZ that is this enabling focal point, and which is fed into by the regions? I would say yes.

Coming back to my earlier point that I am one of the ‘I am feeling like I am too busy and don’t have the energy but like the idea people’. In the name of diversity and resilience, I would suggest that should anything move forward along the lines of a National Coordinator (yes, jumping the gun a bit I know) that the focus of base wage funding should be from within the network, rather than external sources. Many small internal contributors give more diversity and resilience than a few, or just one, external funder. I would be happy to offer a monthly donation to aid this. It gives me a way to enable the movement now and feel like I am contributing, while I am focused on other things. I think many others would be in a similar boat and feeling like they are not taking part in positive change as a result. $25 a month is $300 a year. Get 150 people within the network to offer the same and your funding is on its way.

Right, feel free to chew my ideas and rebut any that do not make sense. Like I said at the start, I have little active knowledge of this movement and may get a few things wrong as a result. Still, I hope this adds positively to the discussion. Thanks for starting it Natalie. I appreciate your sense of urgency :)

Smiles, Laine

Natalie's picture

Hi Laine, thanks for your

Hi Laine,

thanks for your detailed response... It made me think a few things, actually:

- it must be quite difficult for someone 'new' to get their head around what TT is actually doing in NZ, it's structure etc. You have done really well, but I don't think it is very welcoming for people in a wider sense. This may be very different at the local level in certain communities, but I wonder how many people we're 'losing' elsewhere that can - rightfully - 'not be bothered'.

- when you talk about your piece of land, my immediate thought was: but that IS precisely TT work!!! Why do these two have to be separate? We're taking about resilience and community building - why should it not be part of your local TT activity for a group of people to come around and give you a hand (working bees etc) And maybe your future garden can then support the odd community exchange. To my mind, this is exactly what we are trying to do - resilience, community.

- as far as leadership goes, enabling structures are essentially what I am talking about. This is about supporting what is already out there, not guiding it in any way. So I don't think we need an 'elected' coordinator in the first instance - maybe different when it comes to external communication, but I'm not even thinking about that so much at the moment.

- crowdfunding is a great idea and we could think about that. And rather than just paying one person, we could distribute tasks and make sure that people get paid for their time out of a 'pot'... and thus live the 'new paradigm' which, for me, includes things like job sharing etc (sideline thought: why should a single person have to meet all the elements of a 'role description' - just let people do the bits they are actually good at and passionate about - everything else is a question of communication and a shared vision... aaargh! better not get into that) Having said all that, attempts at crowdfunding at coordinator have been made in the past, but potentially times have changed now and potentially a different approach to what happened then is needed.

I may think of more later, but thanks for this conversation - I think it's really good.


TT research and other stuff

Hi folks, (Hi there Laine! Fancy meeting you here)
I reckon that heaps of people are doing heaps of TT stuff all over the place, but aren't calling it TT. And is there any reason why they should?

I think that what is lacking (in New Plymouth anyway) is the coordination and sharing of what is happening.

The New Plymouth TT steering group has just jumpstarted, and had its first meeting last week. Laine, if you are interested, we'd love to have you on board. You seem to have lots to offer.

Heaps of people are already doing research about TT ..... I've been emailed twice in the last few months by different university researchers and asked to participate in research (as I'm listed as the contact for TT Inglewood).

The most recent was Dawn Deavin in Sept.
And another one a few months ago from Giuseppe Feola:

We may as well utilise their research, rather than guessing and making assumptions......

Cheers to you all,

Count me in

Hey Kama,
Count me in, but not very actively for a while - can you cc me in meeting minute for now? I need to focus on a house over my head (and Natalie I agree you could call this TT, my point was more about being active out in the community in a greater sense, which I think a lot of people don't have the time/energy for, but would be happy to contribute in other ways e.g. crowd funding?).

Kama, I agree there is lots being done, whatever banner it is given. And like you say the sharing is really important. Our stories give us strength and help us to move forward in the challenges. They key in people not yet aware of or involved in groups by representing something people can connect to in their own ideas and activities.

I guess I see the value of a co-ordinator in enable people to get started where there is nothing local, share learning etc. rather than everyone repeating mistakes. And, perhaps more importantly for me, being a voice-piece to help mainstream a, by nature, distributed movement. Perhaps others would say it is counter to its core. I don't know. But my communications/marketing hat is on and I would like to see the 'TT' brand (yes I cringe at that word in this context too, but it has its value) being very visual out in the wider NZ community. I think communication is a core element of TT communities:
- to be the change we want we need to communicate our visions really well.
- To share our learning across regional groups we need good comms in place
- to drawn in more people from our communities to become active we need to communicate well to the wider community why we are doing what we are doing and what the benefits are.

I guess the challenge re research is what the uni's etc are focusing on. What we need is info not only on what is going on out there but what needs groups have, what a co-ordinated could provide, and under what organisational structures. What roles would it play for whom and under whom?

Smile, Laine

Lynseye's picture

Expressions of interest

Hello Natalie

Interesting discussion so far on the governance idea. We are in the process of establishing a TT group "Sustainable Bays" in the east coast bays of the North Shore Auckland, we are meeting on Monday so I will take you proposal to the group.

I am keen to be involved, however like others, life work, kids and other TT commitments make time an issue.

There are few groups now well established so it would be worth investigating their thoughts on the issue. I agree some national coordination and support for NZ communities wanting to establish groups is a must. I believe that as we move to the future the solution will lie within our communities and the easier it is for groups to get going when the time comes the more likely we are to thrive with the challenges the future will inevitably bring.

I look forward to seeing where this goes, we are indeed living in interesting times!


Hi Natalie To be honest I

Hi Natalie

To be honest I don’t visit this site much anymore so I have only just noticed this thread.

I have to say it is a bit deja vu-ish. The need for a structure/leadership team/co-ordination seems to be a recurring theme for some in the TT movement. But I personally think this is what TT needed from the start, so I am more than happy to be involved.

In the past I have developed a few ideas around strategy and structure to move TT forward by providing leadership and support but still retaining the self- directed independence at the local level that is key to making TT work.

I would be happy to talk further with you about these ideas if you wish but I'm not real keen to be engaging in endless keyboard discussion. I think social networking sites like this are great for connecting like minded people but personally I think they actually hamper functional communication. The nuance of what is said is too often lost to the interpretation of the reader.

So if you would like to discuss feel free to call me. You can find my phone number on my website


Laurence Boomert's picture

Yes - Good on you Natalie

Like Richard I always thought TT NZ needed the structure so it could support the locals - I always thought it was a movement interrupted an did voice that as you know. Possibly it needs a bit of re-branding to encompass the wider local resilience efforts. good on you Natalie for carrying forward with it. Will support however i can

Deck's picture

Great to see so much feedback

Hi Natalie,

Transition Town Bay of Islands recently participated in a strategy session called by the Far North District Council to discuss a "Sustainable Growth" strategy. After pointing out that "sustainable growth" on a finite planet is a contradiction in terms, we did get on to some useful dialog and so long as it continues to be useful I think we will continue to participate.

I'd be happy to share any points of interest coming from these sessions (two more are planned for next year).

But I'm not sure that the TT Network needs a national body to survive, and I'm always leery of giving up any measure of control to people outside of our community, but within those constraints I'd be happy to volunteer some time for this as information sharing is almost always a good thing.

- Deck

Hi Natalie et al I also don't

Hi Natalie et al

I also don't refer to this site very much any more... been far too busy in my community..... but this discussion is good and important. I've now stepped sideways in TT to allow something else to emerge. I think we also need to be still and silent to listen to/for what is needed. Impossible to do in our busyness.

I don't hear you asking for traditional leadership, control or power Natalie. We are looking to create something quite new - this is the new structure we are looking for. And conversation is the perfect way to begin to nut out what it is we need and want.

There is a very good speech by Gar Alperovitz in Seattle on 3 Oct this year on new structures and where and how they are coming about in the poorest parts of USA - well worth a watch and listen. Hope this link works.

I also think times are changing and more people, and local governments, are beginning to be aware that a major shift is upon us so a good time to reignite the passion for transition.... The working together more fund is a definite option - The people working in Tindall Foundation are onto it.

I'm in Natalie to help .... with some reservation about how much time I have to commit as I am trying to give myself a little time for life as well.

I look forward to following the conversation.

Can't help myself

Can't help myself here's my 10 cents

I think TT did need a national body and if it wants to stay relevant still does. If only to at least maintain a profile and awareness in the wider community.But more so to support local groups and initiatives to gain momentum.

The fear that a national body would somehow override the autonomy of local groups has always been the stumbling block around this but I would argue and have in the past, that does not need to be the case at all.

The way I see it Structure is a fundamental pattern of nature. Three of Holmgrens permaculture design principles come to mind here;
Design from Patterns to Details
Use and value Diversity
Integrate rather than Segregate

But given the archetypal nature of David's principles, each one of them has relevance. I think once you have structure other principles can be applied such as
Catch and Store Energy (Instead I think TT let much of its energy dissipate in the past because of the lack of structure)
Apply self regulation and accept feedback (See also Peter Senge's Learning Organisation Theory) and finally
Obtain a Yield.

As Chair of PiNZ we used Holmgren's "Permaculture Flower" design and these principles to develop a flattened structure for the organisation that was designed to effectively allow the "committee" to keep the flame burning as the central point but encourage and support autonomous groups to integrate with that hub and other groups. Can't find the design but its in a PiNZ Newsletter from a couple of years back if anyone wants to dig it up.

Finally I think its also worth remembering that Hopkins is a permaculture designer/educator and did set up TT in the UK with structure in place. I still scratch my head as to why TTNZ did not just replicate that successful structure at the very beginning.

David Hanna's picture

similar movement similar questions

Hi - I'm new to TT network but was pointed here by a member of Inspiring Communities network. Essentially Inspiring Communities is a mvt of people passionate about promoting community led development (communities select what they want to organise around). We are currently having a very similar discussion about 'form / structure' with all the related polarities between local and national. Thought I would just make contact - down the track we may be able to 'share' infrastructure resources. We currently have some people scoping options for how a national structure to support local initiatives could work. Are happy to share.

Natalie's picture

Hello David, nice to hear

Hello David,
nice to hear from you. I have heard about Inspiring Communities and am thinking some exchange between the two organisations would be really useful. Maybe we could actually meet and update each other on what we do and where we're at? - I'm in Wellington, is there anyone in the area that I could chat with? - I have been given Barbara's contact before but haven't followed up and I'm not sure where she's based. Any ideas?

Keep in touch.

Natalie's picture

Local structure


good to see this conversation continuing.

I have been somewhat focused on our local group recently and we are discussing structure there, too. Thought I'd share the link to where we are at with that here: I could see a similar idea working at the national level, with bubbles being local groups and the 'core group' being a large forum of local representatives which meets annually. I would still add a coordinating team to the mix, which could be selected on an annual basis by the forum of local representatives. - Or something like that, I'm making this up as I go along here. Starter for 10.

More thoughts?