Introduction to The Intentional Community Development
For years now we have been discussing Conscious Community so it was not really as surprising as it seemed for me to think of it when I came across a 3 acre stretch of Maori lease land down the road. I was trying to figure out where I was going to park the bus/caravan/campervan that was to become my new home, looking at all the options. The flash of vision I had was confirmed when I mentioned it to a friend and she said she would be interested, and away it all went. It has undergone some coming and going where perspective members were concerned, and a few times I doubted if it was possible to get enough. Then another friend got excited on hearing about the concept and signed on sight unseen!!!! Since then we have evolved into the founding members of "something". A community is happening land or not. We have visions, and vision statements with profiles of members. We have trusts, bank accounts and now websites! We are getting our priorities right and building on the dream. It's a work in progress and if we don't get this land, we will put out for some somewhere else, because the three of us have had a taste of the possibilities and we like it. So this is where we are at so far. Check out our formulating vision statement. If you have any constructive contributions, email us. It can only help. It seems to me that Conscious (or Intentional) Community is the way of the future. It was also the way of the past. But we are not going backwards. We need to move forward into a new wave of co-operation between people everywhere. We need to create community wherever corporatization has destroyed it: where colonization has destroyed it. After all, they are one and the same thing. Daniel Quinn's books 'Ishmael' and 'My Ishmael' have lead to a movement called "New Tribalism". I like that idea. I want a new tribe where I can save the best of the old one that I was born into and create new ways for today. Not alone. With Companeros at my side. There are going to be difficulties but they are what will make us grow, as we solve them and find the AND together. Join us on our journey of discovery throughout this process..
Update Early 2005:
At this stage the proposal for the land mentioned above has been unsuccessful. We will continue searching for a section that will make this project a possibility in the near future.
Update Nov 6 2005
We have been offered some other land by the whanau and we are excited about that possibility. At this stage we are setting ourselves up as a trust in order to sign the lease and we are checking out the land for toxic substances. As soon as that is complete we will be ready to sign the lease for a 10x10x10. We chose that as psychologically it felt more do-able than 30 years straight through. It's a big project. The land is ten acres of scrub, bog, and trees both native and exotic. It stretches over dunes in three ridges as well as flat areas that have a high water table. While this may not sound very attractive, the 'feel' of it is just right and we have the sense that it welcomes us. We intend to use the existing vegetation as wind breaks whilst encouraging the new plantings to grow in amongst it. Gradually the design will impose itself in amongst the existing flora. I will be the first one to move on, all being well, early next year, in my sustainably set up housetruck, with its solar panels and portable wind generator. I then become the depot for the others as they sell up their homes and move on with me as their 'back up vehicle'. We are excitedly looking at the creative possibilities. We want to restore the wetlands and use them within our greywater system, planting trees around the perimeter for privacy as well as erosion control and beautification. There are also woodlots planned using fast growing trees that are good burning. We know it will take time and we are hoping to attract good like-minded people that will join us. In the meantime we move forward slowly as we get the legal paperwork done. As this unfolds, we will post our process here for other potential communities to benefit from our experiments.
Update Feb 2006
After much negotiation throughout last year we have now reached the stage of reviewing the lease itself. We need to make sure we have ourselves protected and our needs covered within it. It is a big undertaking and we need to know that we are in right relations with our landlords for the next 30 years. We have formed ourselves into a trust-The Gaia Moana Community Trust, and we have a letter of approval in principal from the Dunedin City Council for what we want to do. It has been a long haul- over 2 years to get to this stage-but we feel it to be a reality now. Now the real fun begins!!!
Still negotiating the lease clauses. We came up with 12 extra one that we wished to clarify including assurances that, should the community not survive in the long run, individual people will be able to renegotiate leases with the landowners to assure the value of their building investment. We were also concerned about access to the property by agents of the landowners and wish to negotiate a 72 hour notification process to allow all households to have a representative present. It's an interesting process defining our needs in this way. Along with creating ourselves into an entity by forming a trust, we have opened a community bank account and uploading this website. Its all about forming ourselves into a group on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels, even though at this point we still do not officially have any land to house our community. Nevertheless, it will happen.
May 3rd 2008-Conclusion.
Well it didn't happen!Much transpired but in the end the solicitor for the whanau wished for a prohibitive 19 page commercial lease that did not fit our circumstances and made it almost impossible to have a sense of security and autonomy within the situation. The whanau were great about it and we had a hui with them to try to work out a way that we could keep going. Nevertheless, it was to be down to the solicitor and he had previously been adament. We came away feeling good about the manawhenua but fed up with legal processes. As a result, we pulled out of the process and began looking for land to buy. The cost of land and the amount we would have had to pay at the time left us with the option of having land but no money to do anything with it so the whole project stalled.We have shelved it. Two of us are sharing one suburban block owned by the other and the third member of our trio is looking to move onto a piece of land owned by another friend. So in a way we are still doing community in a very different way to what we had hoped for and anticipated. Nevertheless when people come together in voluntary co-operation there community lies. We do hope that our journey with all this will have been helpful to others contemplating a similar move.
Declaration of the Four Sacred Things
The Vision Statement
Letter To the Tangata Whenua
Webmaster: Jay Ray Updated 27/07/2008