Each month, we select one of our groups or activities and tell you a bit more about what we have been doing
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.
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.
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 1st Wednesday 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.
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.