Each month, we select one of our groups or activities and tell you a bit more about what we have been doing
December 2017: Our very popular Visits Group has been active since day 1 of Rotorua U3A, and is now our 2nd largest group with some 40 members. There seems no end of interesting places to go to and events to take part in. In the past year they have been to Rotorua Hospice, Bunnings DIY workshop, flax weaving, Glass fusion jewellery making in Paradise Valley, the Redwoods Treewalk in Whakarewarewa forest, and the Awakeri Rail Adventure near Whakatane. Our photo on the left show four happy travellers in a self-drive rail cart on the Awakeri rail trip. On the right we have U3A members trying their hands at fusion glass jewellery making at the Paradise Fusion Studio. Our thanks to Judy Somerville who has kept this imaginative group in action since 2007.
November 2017. The Square Dancers are our newest group. They were the Sulphur City Square Dance Club for over 40 years. Membership was declining and they had problems in attracting new members for their evening dances. In October the club wound up and their members joined U3A and changed to weekly morning dances. Their treasurer was also our U3A treasurer which made for a sweet deal and easy transition. U3A members were invited to come to the Tuesday morning sessions and learn a new way of keeping fit while enjoying good company. A number have done so and we are all hoping the group will thrive when dancing starts again in early 2018. Our photo shows two very important members of the group – the callers. Irene with her typical flared skirt and Barry with his bolo tie.
October 2017. Photography Group 1 in action. From left to right are Frances, Dell, Ursula, Andy and their esteemed leader Rose at a workshop on Close-Up Photography. Frances and Rose have been shining light onto a bunch of shy kowhai flowers while the other three click away. The group meets in town on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month to show and critique their photos and to run workshops and talks about aspects of photography. The 1st and 3rd Tuesdays are for outings in and around town and in the Bay Of Plenty or Waikato areas such as Ohope, Whakatane, Endean Sawmill near Bennidale, Hamilton Gardens, Classical Cars in Hamilton, Tirau Museum and Botanical Gardens and Tree Trusts in the area.
September 2017: Here are four of our poetry lovers in happy mood – Sonia, Jill. Nan and Margaret (the group convenor) – Ann was behind the camera. Don’t you just love that red beret? No, Nan wasn’t in the Royal Military Police nor even a Marxist revolutionary as far as I know – that beret has a seriously poetic slouch to it wouldn’t you say? The group’s meetings are thematic. Recently they have had two sessions on The Canterbury Tales, each member taking the role of one of Chaucer’s pilgrims. Then came three sessions concentrating on children's nursery rhymes and street chants and games. As Ann says, “we investigated the origins and meanings of these, and enjoyed chanting and acting out the skipping, chasing, ball. and circle games of playground and street”. Anybody happen to see a group of elderly ladies in giddy mood down Grey Street recently? Spanish poets and poetry are next on the menu.
August 2017: Our Spanish Conversation groupies in their favourite meeting place, the Aroma Café at the lake end of Fenton Street. From left to right are Jenny, Helen (the group convenor), Joan and Christine. They’ve never been a large group but they have kept going since Rotorua U3A started back in 2007. El Grupo, que se reune dos veces por mes, da la bienvenida a nuevos miembros que hablan español.
Cooking for One
July 2017: Milani Thompson: proudly holding her Rotorua Hospitality Awards 2017 Emerging Businesses trophy for her Artisan Café (sponsored by Indian Star). Milani has been the volunteer tutor and mentor for the U3A Cooking for One group for the past four years. With twelve members and a waiting list the group is thriving (well, they would be wouldn’t they?). The group meets for cooking and eating at Milani’s café. I’m told that at their most recent session they cooked up a storm with chicken and kumara chips – no mention of the yummy chocolate tart or apple, toffee and date cake at Milani’s elbow, but maybe those are for another day.
June 2017: Canopy Tour: a professionally guided tour along a 1.2 kilometre network of 6 ziplines, swingbridges and treetop platforms up to 22 metres high in the canopy of the ancient Mamaku native forest. Our Walking Group decided it would be fun to save our feet and go swinging among the treetops. The trip was so enjoyable that a second tour was organised for any U3A member brave enough to give it a go. The left photo shows Margaret leading the 1st group over a swing bridge with no side rails while the rest look on from a platform where they had landed along a zipline. The right photo shows Alan marching along a 50m swing bridge with the 2nd group. Canopy Tour organisers say that “Over 100 people aged over 75 have completed the tour”. Why should that be so surprising?
May 2017. Numero is many things; an international fashion magazine, a typographic abbreviation of the word number, an accounting finance and supply chain recruitment company, a Canadian electropop group, and above all – a fascinating card game. Numero is designed to assist the young in developing numeracy concepts and problem-solving skills and to help older people from forgetting all the skills they have long learnt and used. Our Numero Group members are card players who have fun every Friday at Parksyde keeping their arithmetic faculties up to scratch. They are looking for recruits to build their numbers. Left photo shows Candy, Meg (the group convenor) and Brian at work. Right photo is Brian with his “What me? Hide cards up my sleeve? Wouldn’t dream of it” look.
April 2017: Our community forums are open to the public. Between our AGMs in August we have 4 forums: in October, February, April and June. In October 2016, Prof. Alex Gillespie LLB LLM PhD of the Faculty of Law University of Waikato lectured about “Terrorism and New Zealand ~ implications for NZ following the US Presidential Election”. In February Rotorua author and historian Phil Andrews MA QSM told us about Tarawera, Terraces and Travellers' Tales. In April Debbie Stewart MNZM, Director of Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre enthralled us with “On the Wing: Falcon Releases in Rotorua”. The photo shows Debbie, 3 of the 80+ audience and Hatupatu the falcon attacking Wingspan staff at his nest site. In June, Prof Richard Walter MA PhD Head of the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Otago will speak on “The Settlement of Aotearoa - the first 100 years”. How’s about all that for a star-studded line up?
March 2017: Members of our Films Group & Philosophy Group wait in the snug 13-seat theatre of The Basement Cinema for the start of a “private” screening of The Innocents (about pregnant nuns in post-war Poland). That month, the topic for Philosophy Group was Innocence, so the film was deemed to be food for thought. As it happened the audience of 13 was dominated by Films Group members, but they are more used to lurking in the dark than the philosophers, aren’t they? Films Group go movie watching once a month and in the past year have taken in The Railway Children, A Man Called Ove, Phoenix, Brooklyn, Golden Years, Our Kind of Traitor, Eye in the Sky, Poi E, Crossing Rachmanninoff and Ann of Green Gables.
Writing for Families (2)
February 2017. The first working meeting of our newest group – Writing for Families (2) at the “Parksyde Community Centre for 55 plus”. More like 70 plus physical years in our case, but definitely 55 minus years in mind - that’s U3A for you. At the head of the table in the red top is Pauleen the group convenor. All groups need a convenor to keep things going but are often hard to find – when Pauleen volunteered we knew we were in business. For the first meeting she set members the task of building a family story around an item that triggered the memories. That’s Phillipa in the pink top telling her story while the other 10 members listen intently. As Pauleen says, getting started is not always easy, but joining a group of like-minded writers and sharing ideas, will soon have you tapping on your key board.
January 2017. Back in January 2013 we decided to shout our group convenors a free lunch (yes I know, there is no such thing and yes, they do have to work hard for their free lunch). This was the 5th one to be held at the Rotorua CT Club rooms and the event was much appreciated by those present including committee members who have a regular meeting as preprandial entertainment. We now have 28 groups and with 26 groups represented this was probably the best muster of convenors yet. Here they are in the process of gathering the BBQ style food, ferrying it to the tables and tucking in. Groups are the life and soul of U3A – without them U3A is nothing.