Monthly profiles

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

Cooking for One

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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.

Canopy Tours

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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?

Numero

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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.

Forums

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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?

Films

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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)

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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.

Convenors Lunch

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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.

Current Events 2

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December 2016: There’s almost the complete complement of our Current Events 2 Group. Annie, Ann, Lois, Bob, Jim, Paddi, Veronica, Blanche (Group Convenor) and Annette. Ali is behind the camera and it’s her house. As with all our current events they enjoy discussing the events of the day and what a year 2016 has been for momentous events. Donald Trump (who he you would have asked this time last year) and the consequences for New Zealand. The resignation of John Key as NZ Prime minister and the consequences for New Zealand. Syria, ISIS and the troubles and terrors that dictators and jihadis bring to ordinary people. Local councillors and others being on multiple boards and trusts and possible conflicts of interest. The effects of global warming on the tundra and its flow-on impact. There’s no end to fascinating topics for discussion is there?

U3A Committee

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November 2016. Our committee of nine members meets every other month and here are eight of us at the November gathering. From left to right is Annie Wells (hiding shyly), Jenette (Jenny) Mitai the Secretary and we are in her garden, Wieland (Jim) Hartwig the photographer, Peter Wood the President, Alison Brown only just, Paddi Hodgkiss the Vice President, Ruth Gadgil the Newsletter Editor and Ann Sullivan the Treasurer. With apologies from Mel Bowen the Almoner.

Photography 1

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October 2016. Photography 1 is our 3rd largest group. Members meet every 2nd and 4th Tuesday afternoon at Mokoia Community Association hall, where the photo was taken (and being photographers they know how to smile when a lens is pointed in their direction!). At the meetings they show pictures from outings or other interesting photos that have taken their fancy. Sometimes they have mini workshops or a guest speaker. The group sets assignments such as My Backyard, Movement, Vegetables, Graffiti, Portrait. The results are displayed and discussed on the 4th Tuesday and it is amazing how many different interpretations of the same subject people come up with.

Knitting & Crochet Enthusiasts

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September 2016: We started our Knitting & Crochet Enthusiasts in March this year and already they are making a name for themselves. Six months on and here they are celebrating the opening of the Rotorua Tulip Festival and the International Day of Older Persons by presenting a gaudy basket of knitted and crocheted tulips to Rotorua Lakes Councillors in the foyer of the council buildings. From left to right are Councillor Karen Hunt (Council Creative Portfolio deputy lead), Miriam Ruberl (K&C Group convenor and instigator of the tulip project), the basket of tulips, Ann Sullivan (U3A Treasurer), Jenny Mitai (U3A Secretary and K&C enthusiast), Peter Wood (U3A President).

AGM 2016

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August 2016: We did our AGM differently this year and reverted to group show and tell sessions as done in earlier years. With 27 groups in total and 21 willing to strut their stuff some slick management and timing was needed. But we did it with minutes to spare and by the end of the meeting there were lots of happy smiling faces and it was generally agreed this was one of the best AGMs ever. The usual mandatory business of committee elections and reports was sandwiched between two group sessions and rattled through with alacrity and no dissent. Both group sessions started with a bit of a sing-song. On the right our Grey Warblers opened the whole proceedings with Kumbaya, a spiritual song from the 1920s (group convenor Kevin just visible in red shirt and glasses). On the left the 2nd half was introduced by songsters from the Gilbert & Sullivan Group with their version of what W S Gilbert would have written had he been a U3A member (group convenor Ann in the outskirts).