Each month, we select one of our groups or activities and tell you a bit more about what we have been doing
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!
March 2018: We are always on the look out for a new group. In March the Ex Animo Group started up and is now a group-in-formation. Ex Animo? It’s Latin and means From the Heart. It is a discussion group designed to give members a forum to express their ideas, expound their theories and generally enjoy good conversation with friends. They meet upstairs in the storage area of the Atlantis Bookshop on a Thursday afternoon once or twice a month. Small as yet but hoping for a membership up to 20. In the photo are Carol, Jim Adams the convenor and John. As I remember the main topic was Rights and Responsibilities – but the conversation was lively and out-of-body experiences, universal gravity and the death of the dinosaurs all had an airing.
March 2017: Not a group this month, but an achievement of our long-serving Current Events 1 Group convenor, Ann Bosomworth. Ann has been an art teacher and artist all her life. In February she (and a fellow artist Robin Harland) presented a major exhibition of her work at Rotorua’s Arts Village. Her paintings and drawings were admired by many and sold well. The yellow-flowered Deconstructed Garden has an interesting history – just look at those sunflowers – VvG rides again. Painted on glass but later broken, Ann reconstructed the shards and blacked-in the gaps to striking effect. And Ann’s early years included some striking moments too. The montage shows Ann’s fellow Edinburgher (Dunediner?) James 007 Bond in an earlier role as a life drawing model (how about that codpiece eh?). The pencil sketches are Ann’s dating around 1955-56. How did she keep her composure?
January 2018: Here are our Ethnic Dining Group waiting to eat Turkish in the Kebab Kitchen. The group meets and eats monthly on the 3rd Wednesday at 6pm in Summer and 12.30pm over winter. That’s Annie the group convenor standing. They had a classy meal at The Regent for their Christmas special. Other restaurants have included The Factory Smokehouse & Grill, Vita Min Korean, Café du Paris, Steam Indian, Teal Kitchen, El Mexicano Zapata. There’s no end to interesting cafes, kitchens and restaurants in Rotorua. Our group invites you to join U3A and come sampling with them.
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, Classic 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?