"All things require trust in a relationship with the unseen".
Forming a Trust
When we started we knew we would need to form a legal entity to represent us in this group process before we came to sign the lease with the Whanau. We had very little idea what the appropriate one would be. We went through the options available to us: forming a company, an incorporated society, a co-operative and a trust. There were many reasons why we chose to become a trust.
We did not like the idea of becoming a "corporation". Co-operatives were a variation on the company theme we found out, requiring us to first become a company and then make it into a co-operative one. The same applied to becoming a company with charitable status, as this was also an issue for us. Next we tried Incorporated Societies. They required 15 or more members and we were but three! So a trust we became, with view to gaining charitable status, that may allow us to apply for some funding to assist in some of the demonstration projects we have up our sleeve for later down the track. We investigated lawyers and solicitors and decided to go it alone and found the process an easy and straightforward one, despite the scare mongering of the legal profession who, in our opinion, object to anyone finding out that they are not as essential to the scheme of things as we are lead to believe. We found that unless the person you choose actually knows what you are trying to achieve, understands intentional community, and the principles behind it, lots of money gets spent in explanations before you get to the legal advice that is fitting. A good, sympathetic legal is worth their weight in gold, but they are a conservative group, we found. We have a good one now we think, and you do need one at some stage of the proceedings that's for sure, but not necessarily at the trust stage.
Anyway, we went ahead, downloaded the samples from the New Zealand Societies web page, filled it in ourselves after copious meetings to decide the content, sent it away with a JP for witness, and there you are: The Gaia Moana Community Trust became a reality. At a later stage we will go through the process of becoming a charity and gaining tax exemption and may have to revise the wording to suit the needs of that process, but its not a big deal. It can all be done online. I have loaded our Trust Deed here to show you what we ended up with. Maybe it was made easier by the fact that at the moment we are a small number and agree an most things. Even so, the discussion was the most difficult thing about it. I recommend that you consider doing it yourself before a legal beagle talks you into parting with your money. We may consider also forming a company at some stage, should we find ourselves in the position to support ourselves with community industry, craft and produce. But that is something for down the track. Getting the land is our first priority at this time.
Declaration of the Four Sacred Things
The Vision Statement
Letter To the Tangata Whenua
Webmaster: Jay Ray Updated 27/07/2008