Context Institute Workshops

A series of events entitled Empowering Change Agents for the Planetary Era offered by Context Institute in Aotearoa/New Zealand.



1. What Time Is It?— Auck 19.11.99, Nelson 30.11.99, Chch 24.2.00

A presentation by Dr Robert Gilman which orients the audience to the critical large scale social, ecological, economic, and spiritual processes going on at this time on the planet and empowers the audience to engage with these processes in effective and joyous ways. This presentation is broadly appropriate for anyone who wants to make sense of the times in which we are living. No prior booking is necessary for the presentation.

Auckland: Friday 19th November, 7.30pm Cost: $10
Venue: the University of Auckland, School of Architecture: Conference Centre in Symonds St (near the Wellesly Street motorway underpass and adjoining the architecture school).

Nelson: Tues 30th November, 7.30pm. Cost: $10
Venue: Fairfield House, Van Diemon St.

Christchurch: Thursday 24th February, 7.30pm Cost: $10
Venue: Hurst Seager Room, The Arts Centre, Cnr Hereford St and Rolleston Ave (directly opposite the YMCA) Christchurch

2. Practical Applications of Sustainable Economics—Auck 23.11.99

A presentation by Dr Robert Gilman which provides an overview of key insights from sustainable economics. It concludes with a dialogue on how both individuals and businesses/organisations can use these insights to improve their quality of life AND help the planet. No prior booking is necessary for the presentation.

Auckland: Tuesday 23rd November, 7.30pm
Venue: the University of Auckland, School of Architecture: Conference Centre in Symonds St (near the Wellesly Street motorway underpass and adjoining the architecture school).


1. An Introduction to Ecovillage Development—Auck 20.11.99

This workshop is for anyone who is interested in ecovillages, from those who want to apply the concept to a new or existing community to those who want to better understand the broad implications of the ecovillage movement. It will be facilitated by Robert Gilman and Robina McCurdy.

This workshop will cover the following:

  • definitions and descriptions of "ecovillage" from Robina and Robert's research experience
  • a slideshow of some ecovillages around the world, their similarities and differences
  • the various stages of ecovillage formation, some typical troughs and delights of each stage, and ways of moving forward, propelled by the learnings
  • an in-depth look at ecovillage 'human ecology' issues, such as communication, power, gender, labour, freedom and governance
  • facilitation techniques for working with emerging ecovillages, with some application to the common needs of the workshop group.

Venue: Unitech, Landscape and Plant Science (Building 23), Carrington Road
(Local directions: Use Gate 2. Go down hill to end, turn left, building on left).
Cost: $60 - $90: (income related sliding scale starting with unemployed or minimum income earners - determine your level)
Registration Details: Phone or email booking will ensure that a place is held for you until three weeks before the workshop, when attendance must be secured by posting a $30 (non refundable) deposit. Cheques should be made out to: 'Earthcare Education Aotearoa'. We can not accept credit cards. Registration & Enquiries to:

"Ecovillage Workshop"
C/o Peter Scott, Waitakere Eco-Neighbourhood Cohousing Project
10 Adriatic Ave, Henderson, Auckland 1008
Ph: 09 836-1319 Email: ps@...

Sometime in January or February, Robert and Robina will be working for one day specifically with a new ecovillage group who are at the stage of purchasing land. This workshop is only for those potential ecovillage residents. However, if you are interested in being part of such an ecovillage in the Christchurch area, phone Rob Kerr on 03-385 3348, or email him at: randjkerr At


2. Practical Know-how for Change Agents—
Auck 26.11.99 –28.11.99, Chch 25.2.00 – 27.2.00

This workshop is for anyone who wants to facilitate or support positive change in their community, workplace or group. It will be facilitated by Robert Gilman, Robina McCurdy, Rose Diamond.

The workshop covers:

  • An orientation to the way innovations spread and how to apply this knowledge to be more effective in your work.
  • An exploration of the personal challenges change facilitators face and how they can be addressed, including:
  • Decision-making in an uncertain context, including the use of one's "inner sensing";
  • Mapping the resisting forces: within yourself, in the group, in society; and developing strategies for working creatively with these energies.
  • Holding the vision in a way that remains flexible and open to learning.

These learnings will be applied to specific situations drawn from the workshop participants.

Dates: Fri eve 26 Nov, 7.30pm - 10pm; Sat 27th & Sun 28th Nov, 9am - 5pm
(Note: if necessary we will make time provision in Saturday's workshop for people to vote in the General Election)
Venue: Blockhouse Bay Boat Club, end of Endeavour St, Blockhouse Bay, Auckland.
Enquires & Registration to:

'Change Agents' workshop,
C/o Tim Lynch, 5 Yarborough St, St Marys Bay, Auckland
pH 09 360 1021 email: Tim aT

Dates: Fri eve 25 Feb, 7.30pm - 10pm; Sat 26th & Sun 27th Feb, 9am - 5pm
Venue: Risingholme Community Centre, Cholmondeley Ave, Opawa
Christchurch Enquiries & Registration to:

'Change Agents' workshop,
C/o Scott Meiras, Advisor in Sustainability
PO Box 19-990 Woolston, Christchurch, 8008
pH 03 384 9839 fax 03 384 9859 email: Creators aT

Cost: Sliding scale: $150 - $250 (same for Christchurch & Auckland)
(lower fee for privately paying low income earners & unemployed; higher fee for professionals in this field & organisation sponsored participants)

Registration: Phone or email booking will ensure that a place is held for you until one month before the workshop, when attendance must be secured by posting a $40 (non refundable) deposit to the appropriate organisers address below: Cheques should be made out to: 'Planetary Era'. We can not accept credit cards.


3. From Soul to Society— Nelson 2.2.00 – 6.2.00

This four day workshop will deepen your ability to embody:

  • harmony within yourself
  • harmony with others, from intimate relationships to business and politics
  • harmony with the natural world, including living sustainably and to integrate all these dimensions of life in a way that is real, practical and joyous.

The workshop is for anyone who wants practical tools and support for weaving the spiritual and activist aspects of their lives into a meaningful whole and then helping the society to likewise move toward greater wholeness.

Central to the workshop is the idea and experience of "living as an embodied soul". Instead of approaching spirituality from the perspective of looking from the material world toward spirit, participants will learn how to take their soul's perspective and apply it to the challenges and opportunities of personal, interpersonal, and societal life. It will be facilitated by Robert Gilman, Robina McCurdy, Rose Diamond.

Location: Nelson Province
at Totaranui Homestead, on the coast, in the majestic Abel Tasman National Park.
Dates: Wednesday eve 2rd - Sunday afternoon 6 Feb
Times: Start: 6.30pm meal on Wednesday, which allows for travel time and for a delightful recreation day for bus-catchers from Nelson, who would arrive Totaranui at 11am.
Finish: Sunday 2.30pm. This allows for people to catch the 3pm 'Kahurangi bus' to Nelson or for afternoon travel time to reach their destination.

Cost: $360 (includes accomodation, food & tuition).

Registration: We recommend booking early, as the number of places are limited. To secure a place, send a deposit of $60 (non refundable), with a little information about yourself, your work and your aspirations. Cheques should be made out to: 'Planetary Era'. We can not accept credit cards. Further Information & Registration:

'Soul to Society', C/o Rose Diamond, 135 Dodson Valley Rd, Atawhai, Nelson
Phone 03-5451783; Email: rdiamond At

Sponsorship: If you are financially able, and would like to contribute additional money to sponsor a position at the workshop for youth or unemployed persons whose participation in this workshop has a high potential of having a 'multiplying effect' in society, please send a separate cheque made out to 'Sponsorship - Planetary Era'. All (and only) money accruing in this account will go towards supporting 'high potential' youth and unemployed to attend. If you think that you qualify to be awarded sponsorship, please also get in touch with Rose Diamond.


  • Robert is available to consult on the practical applications of sustainable economics with businesses or other groups that are interested in improving their economic performance by making use of the insights from sustainable economics.
  • If you want to enquire further about these events, or if you are interested to make appointments with Robert or Robina, leave your contact details with:

Auckland: Peter Scott, Ph: 09 836-1319
Nelson: Rose Diamond, Phone 03-5451783
Christchurch: Scott Meiras, Ph 03 384 9839



Robert Gilman is the founder of the Context Institute and produced In Context, a magazine focused on initiatives dedicated to a humane sustainable culture. He was involved in the founding of the Global Eco-village Network, and published the report Eco-villages and Sustainable Communities. A sustainable systems developer and consultant he recently guided the Findhorn Community in Scotland through a three month socio-structural transformative process, creating a democratically endorsed community constitution and council for self-governance; participated in a select national task force to help bring sustainable design into the centre of the curriculum at American schools of architecture; and developed the Household EcoTeam Program for the Global Action Plan. Robert’s family were early residents in Winslow CoHousing, one of the first cohousing projects in the US based on this Danish model for community living.

Robina McCurdy has been working in South Africa over the last 5 years as a Permaculture trainer for communities and schools. Her Eco-village work includes involvement with the Tlholego Development Project in South Africa, working to transform an impoverished farm labourers' village into a demonstration eco-village settlement, and assisting the Xhosa community in the process of accessing their own land through the new South Africa government land redistribution system. Recently she facilitated with the Burdatien Eco-village in Ireland guiding the group through core values agreement, to an in depth Permaculture land use design draft for their local authority permission application. She also initiated and directs SEED (Schools Environmental Education & Development), a cross-curricula educational programme, is a founder-member of Tui Community, and author of "Towards Sacred Society", in Creating Harmony: Conflict Resolution in Community by Permanent Publications and Gaia Trust.

Rose Diamond has worked to facilitate change as an adult educator, personal and professional development trainer and Gestalt therapist for nearly twenty years. Rose currently works as tutor/co-ordinator on the Diploma of Applied Counselling and Psychotherapeutic Studies at Nelson Polytechnic. She also runs courses and workshops in Gestalt therapy and Deep Ecology: "The Heart of Change". She is completing a book, a spiritual adventure story. One of her next steps is to join with others to create a Holistic Education Network in New Zealand.


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