Monthly profiles

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

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

Gilbert & Sullivan

July 2018: Ann’s Gilbert & Sullivan Group is very popular. Ann saw her first professional G&S opera as a teenager at the Adelphi in London when she was blown away by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company’s production of The Gondoliers. She has been a life-long fan and has DVDs of all the operas which are shown to the group once a month. The 2nd cycle of home shows finishes in September. The left photo shows the group settling in and getting comfy – Ann is the one standing at the back. In the right photo they are watching The Gondoliers and underneath is the credit for the producer. Have to be a splendid production with a name like that wouldn’t it?

Current Events 3

June 2018: We have three Current Events Groups and here are members of No.3 group which has been running now for four years. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the month in Rosine's house (that's her 3rd from the left) and currently have 10 members (the convenor Jim was behind the camera). An interesting but enigmatic fact is that the group holds the record for the highest percentage (60%) of male members of Rotorua U3A’s groups – our U3A as a whole comprises only 28% men.

Technology Users

May 2018: Even techies have to stop for tea. Well actually they hadn’t really stopped, they were whizzing electrons and microwaves (2.4Ghz or 5Ghz? – I didn’t ask) around the house as they drank. They are some of the members of our newest group of keen Technology Users: from left to right Roger (his house), Inge (the initiator and current convenor), Heather, Jan and Mary (her house too). Smart people who embrace the smart technology of the digital age and gather to learn from each other. It is not a teaching group for those who want to learn the basics, but is intended for those who wish to hone their existing IT and general household appliance and gadgetry skills.


April 2018: FutureLearn is a free online resource owned by the UK Open University. Their partners include many of the best UK and international universities. They believe that learning should be an enjoyable, social experience with opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go. That’s U3A kind of talk isn’t it? Our U3A is encouraging members to join courses and spread what they have learned among our groups and friends. The concept is catching on and among the courses members have taken part in are ones dealing with Successful Ageing, Robert Burns the poet, Opera, Spanish Language, Genealogy, Maths Puzzles, Novel Reading, Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime, with many more topics waiting in the wings. The photo shows our President Peter walking his talk (standing his talk?) at a meeting of our Poetry Group, expounding his newly acquired knowledge of the life and times of Robert Burns. On screen is Michael Marra singing Ae Fond Kiss. U3A in action!

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