Each month, we select one of our groups or activities and tell you a bit more about what we have been doing
July 2020: The things we do to get on the first page of the local paper! Poor Ann – she’s our Treasurer and at the time of the photo, convenor or co-convenor of our DVD, Gilbert & Sullivan, Square Dancers, Ratbags and Walking Groups, and a keen one-time tramper who made it to Everest Base Camp. But sadly she came a cropper on a poorly maintained street in suburban Rotorua. She tripped over the uplifted edge of a damaged paving slab and fell flat on her face. Result – two lovely black eyes (oh! what a surprise). Never mind, the Mayor of Rotorua came to see her with a big bunch of flowers and the offending hazard was quickly mitigated, if not entirely removed. We are pleased to report that Ann is now back to her usual pristine state (see April 2020 profile). And we all are more wary when promenading Rotorua’s thoroughfares. (Thanks Rotorua Daily Post for photo)
June 2020: Memories are fading fast but we couldn’t resist this charming photo of our long-serving committee member and newsletter editor Ruth, enjoying a bubble birthday party in her back garden at the height of lockdown. Don't count the candles - they are of course symbolic. The Ratbags Group had to let the Blue Lake rats run free at level 4 but forays into the wild woods during level 3 let them know we are still in business. And now at level 1 we are into them big time. Here’s a pile of 20 traps waiting to be installed on our 2nd new line to go in this month. Look at those vicious black jaws – they aren’t called T-REX traps for nothing. Our total kills since we started last October is 239 rats, 138 mice, 2 possums,
2 stoats and 2 weasels
May 2020: We’ve moved down through Alert Level 3 into Level 2 by now so with any luck we'll be back to profiles of more groups in action by June. But couldn’t resist this photo of committee member Jill pretending to be a bean bag. Look at those polka dot slippers – aren’t they pretty? Nice bowl of fruity looking things and a flower pot of poinsettias, and if you have a rather fetching bedspread to flop over your head, well what the hell anyway? Wonder if it really is Jill under there? We’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.
And over on the right is President Peter in his shade house, which after a few years of neglect was in need of some very serious attention. The newly sprouted blackberry patch in the far corner was growing nicely though – but wait on, a stern & growly looking Peter is going to give them brambles a good bashing with a long length of 4x2. The ferns are still thriving. At least the ones are that have managed to keep their heads above rampant couch grass and black nightshade. What would we do if it wasn’t for covid-19 keeping us out of mischief!
April 2020: Two more of our committee in Lockdown. To the left is Treasurer Ann – a study in vermilion and black. Ann decided lockdown was a good time to cover the arms of her chairs with protective fabric – what colour shall we call it? Ruby? Carmine? Burgundy? HEX colour RGB #842833? No. all right, that's boring - we'll go with it’s popular name of shiraz – looks lovely on the chairs and not bad in a wine glass either.
To the right is Secretary Paddi who looks as though she is not exactly enjoying her lockdown job which we’ll call “when I'm cleaning windows".
“Now it's a job that just suits me
A window cleaner you would be
If you can see what I can see
When I'm cleanin' windows.”
Thank you George – now where’s your ukulele Paddi? But I know there’s a lovely garden out there so why not get that glass shining clean so you can see it better.
March 2020: Yes – March – the month we closed the shutters. Snuggled down under a pile of intellectual leaves or huddled in our snow caves to survive the Covid-19 onslaught. But like those big brown bears we will poke our noses out of the ice and snow and WE WILL RETURN. In the next 3 moths we’ll show you what some of our inventive committee got up to during lockdown. The first two are from Jim, a professional photographer in days of yore. The first is one of the busiest intersections in Rotorua. Nobody – nothing. The 2nd is Jim & Chintana – home made mask makers par excellence.
Wednesday Art Group
February 2020: The Wednesday Art Group is our newest group. It is a coalition of U3A members and non-members who belonged to a group that met at the Mokoia Community Association room every Wednesday to practice their art. The group needed new members to flourish so became established as U3A Group, recruiting from our general U3A membership. We are a flexible organisation.
January 2020: Our end-of-January thanks to our group convenors before they get back to work again after the summer break. Look at all those happy smiles and laughs. President Peter must have said something humorous to get them into the mood before they tucked in to the BBQ lunch waiting in the next door dining room. We started the year with 28 groups, lost Travel, Numero and Using Technology. We gained the Ratbags, Calligraphy and the Wednesday Art Group and are back up to 28. With over 400 members we need more groups; one or more music groups would be good, and a climate change group would be very topical.
December 2019: Don Hunt is a Rotorua artist with a deep interest in historical and ecclesiastical motifs and has turned his hand to painting icons, making leadlight windows and teaching calligraphy. He has started a U3A Calligraphy Group of up to 6 members which will meet at his home on the first Wednesday of the month. Anyone interested in this exquisite art form is welcome to contact us and find out more. The photo shows our master penman at work in his studio.
November 2019: Every year our Square Dancers Group awards new members with a graduation certificate as proof they know the basics about which way to go and what to do when the Caller calls. Proud new graduates are Ngaire, Judith and Peter with Callers Barry & Irene. At the far right is U3A President Peter who presents the certificates but who can hardly put left foot in front of right in time to music, let alone do a do-si-do and would only recognise a promenade when he’s by the sea side.
Bottom photo shows the dancers in action at the Parksyde Community Centre as they are every Tuesday morning, with skirts a-swinging (that’s just the ladies of course). There’s the group convenor Ann with red skirt and yellow sash – which shows she’s dancing a man’s part. As in all our U3A, women outnumber men roughly two-to-one.
October 2019: Our newest group – The Ratbags (so named because we go bagging rats). It all came about when our Walking Group found a dead rat in the Te Koutu Pa reserve at Lake Okataina. One of our members said she monitored a trapline in Whakarewarewa Forest. We decided U3A could set up a group to do our bit killing predators too. To cut a long story short, in whirlwind time we joined forces with Whakarewarewa Pest Free Trust and were allocated a new line of 82 rat traps along the walking track around Blue Lake (Tikitapu). We have 27 members and the 4km or so of line is divided into 6 sections of 13-14 traps each. After 11 days of monitoring our kill is 49 rats and 17 mice. The photos show the two group convenors Ann & Peter with their first rats.
Current Events 1
September 2019: Ann, the convenor of our Current Events 1 Group (or Current Affairs as they call themselves) is an accomplished artist. She is a member of the Geyserland Art Group who held an exhibition of members’ work at the Rotorua Arts Village this month. On the opening day a number of members of her Current Events Group went along to show support and here they are. From left there’s Nan, Ann the artist and convenor, another Ann and Jill. Just behind Jill’s elbow is a fascinating painted polystyrene sculpture of a head created by Ann. The eyes to the front look at you, and face on the back stares into a mirror and those eyes look at you too. How clever is that then?
August 2019: Our vigorous History Group lined up along the fence at Parksyde where they meet twice a month, with convenor Brian G at the back casting a paternal eye over them. They have a splendidly eclectic variety of topics contributed by group members and anything goes provided it is beyond short-term working memories. In the past year they have discussed the Transit of Venus; the Chelsea Physic Garden; the origins of the Amish; the history of the birth control pill; the Spanish flu (Black November); the Main Trunk Railway (King country section including the Raurimu Spiral); the Waikato River; Jean Batten; warplanes; the Rotorua Municipal Band; the Republic of China; John Churchill 1st Duke of Marlborough; the Littlewood Treaty; the Great Depression; two waves of protest in NZ, Vietnam and Springbok Tour; Harry Lapwood (politician); the first female surveyor in NZ; the Alamo; Humphry Davy and his lamp; Thomas Chapman missionary.