Local Currency: Cannons Creek community tries out a new currency to boost wellbeing

Spending money but not as we know it, a tight-knit community in Porirua is trialling its own local currency.

Cannons Creek which is north of Wellington, is replacing the New Zealand dollar with Cannon Coins to try and boost wellbeing.

"What this project is all about is trying to change the system we've put in place around charity," Mark Pascall says.

Pascall is a part of the group 'The Wellbeing Protocol' who came up with the idea. It believes there's a better way of doing things.

"We're trying to transition that from a top down done to model to more of a done with model".

Fifty people will take part in the six-week pilot. They're issued 50 Cannon Coin each. 1 CAN represents $1. 

They'll be able to trade with each other, purchase items and put their Coin towards community initiatives they want to make a reality.

"It has potential to empower communities, and create new forms of localised decision making and ultimately increase the wellbeing of communities," Pascall says.

It will all be accessed via a digital wallet on their smartphone powered by blockchain technology.

Porirua's Fruit and Vege Co-op has been the first to sign up for the trial.

"We bring really healthy, affordable fresh fruit vegetables to our community in a way they can be a part of," community innovation hub manager Makerita Makapelu says.

For them, it's exciting and a chance to keep things local.

"This community has worked really hard on creating different systems. We're ready for it."

Those who live nearby can't wait to give it a go.

"I like the amount of access it's going to provide the community to come up with ideas and implement themselves," Lisa Tagaloa says.

The Wellbeing Protocol is working with the Financial Markets Authority on the currency and hopes to take it nationwide.

For now, Cannons Creek will share their wealth and grow it together.