Monthly profiles

Each month, we select one of our groups or activities and tell you a bit more about what we have been doing

Writing for Families 1

July 2019: We first featured our Writing for Families Group 1 back in August 2015. The group started in late 2007 and has now been running for over 12 years. It currently has 10 members and all but one are in the photo: from left to right are Joan, Carol, Yvonne (the group convenor), Garry, Kate, Anne, Annette, Carolyn and Jeanette. Missing is Jenny, a long-standing group member. As the times move faster and faster the recording of family stories from days of yore by those who were there becomes more and more important. When tweets of less than 140 characters are the norm, even for affairs of state, the short story may seem of no account. Not so! These family stories record the life and times of real people and when those people and their memories are gone, their words will still stand.

June 2019 Forum

June 2019: Dr Cornel de Ronde packed them in at our June Forum. He is a principal Scientist and Research Geologist at GNS Science in Lower Hutt. He is world-leading expert on undersea volcanic activity and mineral deposition and he told us about the exploration of Brothers Volcano, a large active volcano submerged on the Kermadec Ridge 400km offshore from the Bay of Plenty. His team on board the US ship the JOIDES Resolution were the first in the world to drill into an active undersea volcano. He also answered questions about his discovery of the remnants of the Pink & White Terraces beneath Lake Rotomahana. And here he is explaining how he and GNS colleagues discovered the exact centre of the NZ extended continental shelf up in the Tararua Ranges (Daily Post photo). What a very versatile scientist and entertaining speaker.

Kokako Trip

May 2019: In October 2018 Sue Williams who Chairs the Kaharoa Kokako Trust gave U3A a splendid Forum talk about the Kaharoa Conservation area where the birds, described as ‘at risk’, are recovering well thanks to the work of the volunteers who describe themselves as “crazy about kokako”. We asked Sue if we could have a guided trip into the bush to hear the birds in their favourite stamping ground. And this month 18 U3A members gathered around dawn on Kapukapu Road to be led by the knowledgeable Carmel Richardson whose passion for preserving kokaho enthused us all while we listened to a lone male mewing, tooking and calling as he flopped among the tall tawa patrolling his territory. Magical moments. In the photo Sue is at the front in a green jacket and Carmel next to her in charcoal jacket and gummies

Age Concern Expo

April 2019: Rotorua Age Concern had an expo on Sunday 14 April 2019 and along with 38 other organisations U3A had a stall to publicise our activities. The expo was open to the public from 9am to 4pm. Eight committee members and seven ordinary members gave their time to make the day a success. Here are Pauleen, Ruth and Ursula on one of the afternoon shifts. The monitor screen to the right displayed a 7 minute loop of groups in action and photos produced by one of our photography groups – thanks to Jim for setting that up. Five new members joined up and many more people took away copies of our April newsletter and publicity pamphlet. It was a worthwhile day.

DVD Movies

March 2019: Our new DVD Movies Group is up and running. Here they are in the early autumn sunshine soaking up some vitamin D before they go and lurk in the darkness to watch the movie. From left to right are Noelle, Jill, Bernadine (just), Mary, Ann (group convenor and her garden), Bill, Judy, Carol & Molly. And to prove they do actually watch movies, a couple of shots from Richard Attenborough’s anti war classic “Oh! What a Lovely War”. It’s the 1914 Christmas Truce and in the red-band hat that’s Fritz (Christian Doermer) sharing Schnapps and Scotch with Tommies before, as one Scots soldier puts it, “the bastard English” start shelling no-mans-land and send them back to the trenches. Many more good DVD movies are lined up for the next year or so.

February Forum

February 2019: Our first public forum in 2019 was given by Geoff Churchill the manager of Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari who came over from the Waikato tell 80+ U3A members and guests about the amazing conservation work that is being done there. A 3400 hectare mountain sanctuary enclosed by 47 km of pest-proof fence, the longest such fence in the world, where native birds and animals thrive because hedgehogs, cats, Norway rats, ship rats, stoats, ferrets, weasels, rabbits, hares, possums, deer, pigs and goats have all been eradicated. It’s question time and there’s Geoff in the black shirt, mike in hand while President Peter points to Pauleen for the next question.

Convenors' Lunch

January 2019: It's that time again when we thank our group convenors and forum tea ladies for their hard work keeping our groups and forums going. We shout them a BBQ lunch at the Rotorua CT Club.That's Peter our President letting them know how much we appreciate them. Just look at those enraptured faces. Can't you hear them thinking "Oh shut up Peter, the lunch is going cold. Let's get into it". Bless them all. We couldn't do without them.

Groups at Christmas 2

December 2018: Above: Members of the Walking Group dine elegantly by the shore of Lake Okareka. The tracks and boardwalk from Acacia Bay to the lake outlet make perhaps the most pleasant and peaceful lakeside stroll in the Rotorua lakes district. From left to right there's Anne, Alison, Ann, Ann (popular name eh?) and Mary. Note the stylish Christmassy table cloth. No rough hewn timber for these ladies.

Below: Philosophy Group members tuck into some fine fare after their final meeting of the year. The discussion topic for the meeting had been Extinctions - quite challenging so not surprising the nibbles, cake, wine, whisky and juice were eagerly sampled. From left to right are Vanessa, Rosemary, Pamela, Rata & David (our hosts), Steve and half of Ria.

Groups at Christmas 1

November 2018: This is the serious face of Christmas festivities. When our Cooking for One Group lays on a feast they don't cook up a storm, they cook up a category 6 hurricane. Just look at that trencher loaded with goodies all prepared by the group members. Nearly all ladies but there are 3 trencherman there. That's Kevin in the red shirt, the group convenor. Next to him is Peter the President of U3A and over at the back is Vic, whose initiative started the whole group way back when. And out of sight at the back is our heroine Melani, a professional chef who gives her time, knowledge and Artisan Cafe premises to help U3A. What a wonderful lady.


October 2018: Travel Group – this is the first time we’ve caught them in action but they are one of our longest running groups and have been going since day 1 of Rotorua U3A, convened by Doris Scott. A splendid achievement Doris. They meet monthly to tell traveller’s tales and here they are resting after listening to Frank’s Japanese experiences. From left to right we have Barbara, Frank, Valda, Doris the group convenor (she says she’s 90 but I’m not convinced!), Sheena, Barry & Howard. May they travel on happily for years to come.

Square Dancers

September 2018: The Sulphur City Square Dance Club closed in November 2017 and members joined U3A and became the Square Dancers Group. Some keen U3A members who enjoy moving to music joined the group and two recently received graduation certificates as a measure of their learning prowess. Both photos show on the left Barry Hand the chief Caller, Peter Wood the Rotorua U3A President and Caller Irene Clair. To their right the top photo shows graduate Alison Brown (also a U3A Committee Member) and escort Bernie Payne. Bottom photo shows graduate Helen Dryland and escort Duncan Walker. The graduates can now attend Saturday evening square dances at other BOP/Waikato region clubs.

AGM 2018

August 2018: What, another AGM – seems it’s only a year since the last one! The question is, how to get bums on seats so we have a quorum. Answer - we have general knowledge quizzes. Fair enough, we also elect a committee, present reports on the state of our nation, amend the constitution, discuss how to invigorate and increase our group involvement. But everybody loves a quiz as you can see from the teams at the tables intently racking their brains. And below is Quizmaster Mel (also our Vice-president and Almoner) trying his best to pronounce “odontalgia” – bit of a pain in the mouth was that question

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