Being a Member
We are building a diverse community that uses clear communication and consensus decision-making to promote cooperation.
In the current planning phase, members of the New Plymouth Cohousing group get together once a fortnight for a general meeting. These meetings will be less frequent once we are living in the community.
In addition, we have “focus groups” in legal processes and documents, financial management and marketing/membership. These focus groups can involve additional meetings, outings and individual work.
During other phases of the project (construction, living in the community) there will be other areas that we will have focus groups for too, such as maintenance of shared buildings and gardens, coordination of the common house, administration, etc.
Discussion, Decision Making and Action Planning
We use a powerful but simple system using Coloured Cards for facilitating discussion and making decisions. This coloured cards method has been used at Earthsong Cohousing Community and allowed a group of ordinary people to create a major innovative housing development.
We use consensus, which is a very inclusive form of decision-making. The coloured cards system ensures everyone’s voice is heard, and we always strive to find an agreement that is acceptable to everyone.
If consensus is not reached after two meetings, and the proposal is considered both important and urgent, the decision can be made by a 75% majority vote of people eligible to take part in the decision-making.
Following our Communication Agreement enables us to discuss matters in an efficient, honest and respectful way.
While we value the personal freedom of our members, we also acknowledge that the success of our cohousing community depends on the willingness of every member to participate, ideally in a way that matches each individual’s interests and skill set.
Once we are living in our cohousing neighbourhood, we will need to take care of the shared gardens and facilities, carry out administration, coordinate shared meals in the common house, etc. The time required from each member to do these shared tasks will be determined at a later stage, but based on the experiences of other cohousing communities, we expect it will be around two hours per week.
Being part of the New Plymouth Cohousing Community involves an opportunity as well as the commitment to co-create and maintain a healthy, vibrant, beautiful environment for us and future generations to thrive in.
Becoming a member
We are a group of people from all walks of life with a vision of how a different way of living could be more sustaining of us individually, collectively and globally.
If you are interested in finding out more about living in a cohousing neighbourhood, have a look at the following:
Earthsong website, an example of cohousing in Auckland New Zealand.
Cohousing New Zealand website which includes articles from various cohousing groups around New Zealand.
Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities by Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett (2011).
New Plymouth City Cohousing facebook page for updates on events and workshops.
Contact us to express your interest, and we can let you know when our next Information Session is, led by existing members. These Information Sessions provide an introduction to the cohousing project, to help you decide if you want to become a member. Membership in the New Plymouth Cohousing Community is by individual choice. There is no selection panel choosing members.
If you decide to become a member with the intention of purchasing or renting a home in the Cohousing Neighbourhood, the next step is to attend an orientation workshop, led by existing members. At the workshop, you will start the process of becoming an Associate Member. You will also be assigned a buddy who is an existing member – your buddy is available to meet with you and answer any further questions you may have.
Pre-requisites for Associate Membership
1. Attend a cohousing information session and/or orientation workshop, or other cohousing workshop.
2. Read the book Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities by McCamant and Durrett (2011).
3. Attend one meeting as an observer.
4. Agree to our Mission, Vision & Values, Communication Agreement and Holistic Decision Making Process.
5. Agree to have a police check (people with child sex offences will be declined membership).
6. Discuss the Membership Agreement at the orientation workshop or with your buddy, and sign it.
7. Pay the non-refundable Associate Membership joining fee of $100 per person.
Associate Membership entitles you to take part in decision-making at full group meetings. You will also receive access to our Google Drive which contains our resource files and records of minutes.
Full membership qualifies you to attend design workshops and have input into the design of the cohousing neighbourhood and homes. It also qualifies you to have a vote on the rare occasion when consensus is not achieved on a matter needing a decision.
Becoming a Full Member involves:
1. Paying a $2000 fee (this goes towards your house purchase).
2. Signing the Risk-Sharing Agreement and other legal documents including the Cohousing Financial Agreement.
3. Completing the Financial Questionnaire.
Once you become a Full Member, you may also become a Full Financial Member.
Full Financial Membership
Full Financial Membership is a prerequisite to purchasing a home in the cohousing neighbourhood. Households have the benefit of choosing which home they would like to live in based on the order in which members become Full Financial Members.
Becoming a Full Financial Member involves:
1. Contributing (or having available and pledging) 30% of the estimated purchase price of your intended home;
2. Signing a Sale & Purchase Agreement for a home in the Cohousing Neighbourhood;
3. Providing evidence that you are able to follow through on your Sale & Purchase Agreement;
4. Ensuring a Will and/or Enduring Power of Attorney and/or a Living Will is in place (if you are not in a partnership where automatic rights are given to the partner).
If you are not in a financial position to become a Full Financial Member, then you go on the waiting list. Some Full Financial Members will have more than 30% of their home purchase price to pledge to the project, and this will allow the people at the top of the waiting list to be “piggy-backed” into Full Financial Membership.
The order in which people become Full Financial Members, is the order in which people choose which home they buy in the cohousing neighbourhood. The exception to this is that existing associate and full members are already in the home-choosing queue, in the order in which they became/become full members.
Expression of interest
Please contact us to express your interest in becoming a member of the New Plymouth Cohousing Community.