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Lyttelton, portal to Canterbury’s historic past, a vibrant sustainable community creating a living future

Margaret Jefferies MNZM

Community leadership mentor gets royal recognition


Margaret Re sized

Margaret Jefferies has a way of making things happen with seeming ease.

Whether in her role as Project Lyttelton Chair, leadership mentor, community catalyst, speaker and facilitator, mother of five or occasional artist Margaret always moves with vision and her own unique energy.

Her recent inclusion in the June 2018 Queens Birthday Honours List recognised the wider impacts of that vision when she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for Services to Community, in the process attracting glowing endorsements from the likes of Time Bank founder Professor Edgar Cahn and Warehouse philanthropist Sir Stephen Tindall.

She is grateful to all the people who have supported her visions and offered their congratulations of this public recognition.

Margaret’s major achievements, like introducing Time Banks to New Zealand, are obvious and attract a lot of attention. A sought-after speaker and mentor, her leadership, particularly as Chair of Project Lyttelton, is recognised internationally.

In her 15 years as Project Lyttelton Chair Margaret has also been part of other groups and boards that are aligned with her visions of loving connected communities and local economies.

The big achievements were a long time in the growing and have their own identities and networks.

Despite notable successes Margaret still delights in dreaming up new things and creating big shifts from small starts.

She gets the deepest enjoyment from breaking new ground, not being constrained by ‘what people might think’ or what the paradigm dictates.

“The likes of time banking is great but I think I’m more proud of the fact that I can still find something new, or dream up something or imagine something and go for it. I can get people on board and make it happen somehow, shift energy.”

Her favourite challenges are innovations that “aren’t even on the radar”, new ways of working together or harnessing community and resources.

Putting ideas ‘out there’ and pulling in the right needs and people has led to a cascade of projects building on each other, interconnecting with and inspiring other groups.

Projects may just seem to fall into place but Margaret realised on reflection that she always starts with a fairly well thought out plan of where it’s going,

She believes the way forward is to recognise the heart and brain wisdom need to be more in balance with how we plan and imagine things.

“I think some of my greatest breakthroughs are reconnecting with the heart in a public sort of way. It’s like what I’m dreaming up is already there.”

Margaret says that love is the most important thing to consider when beginning any project.

“When you work together through love there’s gentleness. We can work in collaboration and work with everyone.”

The more values based we are and the wider range of people who get involved the better the solutions will be.

Sometimes it can feel hard to share our ideas, and we might hesitate, Margaret said. Her advice is just go gently.

Anyone can just begin if they feel driven to see something happen in their community, she said.

“Start talking about it, look out for people who connect with the ideas, see what people might be bring to it or who they are connected to. When it’s the right thing at the right time things just happen.”

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