Welcome to Tawa U3A

Tawa U3a is a group of people who are free during the day to gather for activities of interest.

We organise courses to teach subjects of interest like Art , Ancestry or Ukulele.

There are Discussion groups where you can express your point of view, and games both indoor and outdoor.

Talks are arranged on topics of interest like Health, History or Travel. We cooperate with other U3A groups and share sessions.

All up, we offer close to 50 learning and social opportunities at minimal cost.

You are certain to find somethings that are of interest to you.  Read on...




You can email us - [email protected]

If you are just interested in seeing our current courses PLEASE SCROLL to the bottom and check on the courses going this week

How to join U3A

Joining U3A Tawa can be done with a minimum of fuss. An easy way is to ring or email one of our Committee members whose names and contacts appear in the Contact Us part of this site (see above). You can also use our contact Info email at the bottom of this page. The bank account numbers for paying the annual sub are also in the Contact Us page or you can pay to a Committee member. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Welcome to U3A Tawa.

Members We Remember

 Ivy Pearce                    David Belz                 Lesley Meade

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Dropping in on the Prison system

The Drop-in Philosophy group goes from strength to strength with as many as eight in the group from fortnight to fortnight. The session on 11 August (at the Roundabout pub) considered whether, from a philosophical standpoint, prisons meet their conceptual goals.

It was agreed that prisons are at best a necessary evil. Public safety needs to be a top consideration but so do the human rights of inmates and their families. People go to prison (and lose their valuable liberty) as a form of punishment not to make them eligible for further punishment. If we want them to come out better human beings, then many of the things that prisons might do to de-humanize them (often only to accord with strict budgets) need to be reconsidered. 

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Stimulating talk and audience interaction at Tawa Union Church

Jim Cunningham’s series of talks about the role of Christianity in modern times has excited huge interest. An attendance of 50+ is now the norm.

The audience is clearly ecumenical with a few agnostics thrown in. The questions component was lengthy and included ones like why not just ‘dump’ the Old Testament, is it still considered the word of God, is context everything in Bible study?

Starting at the end the reposes to those were both well considered and possibly sprucing to some. The OT is truly valuable, being the often conflicting voices of men and women who lived in totally different societies to our own. All too often mere words are snatched out of one context and thrust into another. Even the Commandments must invite a degree of interpretation in changing circumstances. The way Solomon dealt with child custody disputes (‘offering’ to slice a baby in half) would not pass muster in the Family Court today but it showed a form of wisdom in its own societal context.

Jim spoke of orthodoxy and orthopraxy, being the examinable gulf between what is written and what is done in the specific milieu of the times. The Bible is not a “how to” manual for the ages prescribing rules in a narrow frame. He dislikes hearing that “the Bible says” when so often it does not; and was never intended to be utterly prescriptive on all topics such as “keeping the Sabbath”. Jesus was particular refreshing on that one. Christianity is pitched at doing positive things not rigidly declining to do anything. The Bible is meant to empower, not paralyse, us.  

There was some lively debate on the very concept of the Bible not being the Word of God. One audience member suggested that this was a recipe for diverting Christian believers into Islam where scriptural certitude is highly valued.

As a final note the question was put as to where our religion would be in 50 years time. Jim’s response was that while we can never be sure of the detail people will not all be believing in the same orthodoxy but the essential Chrisman themes of a human community (loving and supporting each other) will still be alive and well in a future set of circumstances.    

Small turnout for a massive film

Cold weather, operations and some nasty bugs severely reduced the attendance at European Film this time around.

We had kept the film promo low key as it is full of surprises from the first minute; so the normal detailed overview was not sent out. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly won two Golden Globes in 2008 but was too cerebral and demanding (on many levels) to win an Oscar. This despite it being directed by American Julian Schnabel, though it is set in northern France.

It tells the wrenching but inspiring tale of Elle magazine editor J D Bauby (and father of three kids) who fell into a coma one day and never recovered. He died two years later. In that time while suffering “locked-in syndrome” where he could hear and see others but not speak he managed to author a book by using an eye blinking code with a dedicated assistant. His body is the clumsy diving bell, the butterfly is his ever-questing mind. He sees people around him who are modern day saints while seeing other who embody human everyday indifference and cruelty.

This might sound a tad tedious and depressing --- but wait! The film skillfully draws in the past and meticulously lays out the present. Using point-of-view camera angles it transports the grotesque doll-like anti-hero from being the ‘big man’ who once handled women as though they were mannequins and put him into a special hospital. There suddenly HE becomes the woman-handled mannequin but this handling defines true love.

From initially demanding death and with dedicated women nurses he eventually discovers the richness and frailty of life. He dies happy for reasons few of us will ever appreciate but this towering film does give us a thoughtful

Grants available for Age-friendly Community projects

We have received the following from MSD’s Office for Seniors Division

The Community Connects fund supports communities to become Age-friendly. It offers grants up to $15,000 from an annual budget of $100,000. There are up to two grants rounds each financial year.

The fund supports projects to either:

  • Start development of an Age-friendly Communities Plan; or
  • Implement an Age-friendly Community project.

Who can apply?

Any New Zealand council, community organisation or registered not-for- profit organisation can apply. (Non-council applications must have support from their City or District council).

The grant is not open to businesses or individuals.


Closing date

Applications close on 13 October 2019

The application form and application guidelines (including evaluation criteria) are available at:  http://www.superseniors.msd.govt.nz/age-friendly-communities/community-connects/community-connects-grants.html

​Alternatively, contact  at [email protected] 

Booklets will be back for a while yet

Our course booklets are making a comeback, in bigger numbers. for 2020. During the current year we distributed about half the number of booklets than in previous years. The two reasons for that were that the printing cost is rising and much of the information set out in the booklets is freely available on this website and in greater detail.

It was recognised that a significant number of members do not use the website at all so, in all, a total of 200 booklets were available at the 2019 AGM and in the Library/Community Centre.

For next year, a booklet will be sent to everyone currently enrolled and with extra copies at the AGM etc.In November an email will be sent to every email address asking if you do not need a physical book.  For those who reply that they do not need a book then we will not send them one.  Everyone else will be sent one. 
We will not produce a mid-year booklet but will make available a printed “NEW COURSES” addendum to the basic booklet as 85% of courses in the second half are carry-overs.

The website’s A-Z of Courses will show far more course information than the booklet; and members are strongly encouraged to phone or email leaders, coordinators or committee members if they ever have any difficulty finding any U3A information or enrolling in a course.   

Maximum help at Take Note

Just to remind everyone that payments into U3A Tawa can be made manually at the Take Note postal agency shop in Tawa. Our Kiwibank account number is set out in the Contact Us part of this site. However if a member wants to make a deposit and does not know the U3A account number Take Note have agreed to have on hand a number of filled-in deposit slips to assist. All you need do is insert the amount, sign, date then add your name in the appropriate column so that we know who made the deposit. (We also maintain a BNZ account but there is no physical branch in Tawa.)

The Art Group looks East for inspiration

The Art group this week enjoyed a special session in the way of a talk about Indian and Sri Lankan art by Dr. Indra Rajandan.  This was held in the Community Centre Boardroom.

The central issue was that of emphasizing the range and depth of Indian culture that impacts on and illuminates so many cultural forms.

The class was enthralled by the wonderful overhead pictures that were shown to illustrate Indian music/dance, monuments, pottery gigantic festivals and theatre/film both old and modern.  

New Zealand is a much newer country with relatively few massive buildings and structures. India has an ancient wall fortification that is second in length only to the Great Wall of China. Added to this are numerous forts and world famous temples on a grand scale. The wall of one fort alone allowed eight horses to walk along the top of it. The temples contain significantly-sized artifacts and statues by the thousand.

Yet at the other end of the telescope there are myriad art forms that are a small as fashioning flax to replicate small fish. Leather and jute are also popular in handicrafts.

Overall, the presentation acted a means of opening up the mind in a course that calls for new ideas and challenges to the artistic forms we are most familiar with.

Current Affairs chews through the issues in style

The recent Current Affairs session went on rails and was attended by senior member Edwin Robertson to the real delight of all.

In brief summary:   There was much discussions on the Winston Peters demand for an abortion referendum on the last government law initiative. It was felt that MPs are paid enough to make decisions using their experience and (assumed) brain power. They should get on and do that without leaning on their voters or the general electorate. If the margin in a referendum were to be a few hundred votes either way then there would be more heat than light generated.

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LINING UP THE DUCKS - an invitation from Mary Potter Hospice

We have received notice from the Mary Potter Hospice inviting our members to a free seminar on all the practical aspects that lie around the process of dying from making of a will onwards. This will take place in the Tawa Community Centre 5 Cambridge Street on Wednesday 28 August 2019 between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

For those of you living in the Churton Park area the date is Thursday 12 September 2019 from 12.30pm to 3.30pm and the venue is the Churton Park Community Centre 45 Lakewood Road.

Newlands people will be at the Newlands Community Centre 9 Batchelor Street on Wednesday 21 August 2019 between noon and 3pm.

The Mary Potter contact person (to register or cancel) is the same across all sessions: [email protected] – phone 04 801 0006

Further information online: www.marypotter.org.nz  

Karen and team putting the tea into TUC

Karen and team putting the tea into TUC

Minstering to the body as well as the soul.

Increasingly the good fellowship aspect of U3A comes to the fore in the form of groups that not only give your brain a good rark-up they are also hand you a nice cup of tea or coffee along with tasty little morsels (donations accepted).

Many courses are now welcoming people in with the cup (and plate) that cheers and staying behind to make more, to talk about the session and raise new issues and fresh insights. This is all to the good.

To name names would be invidious but the Tawa Union Church fielded quite a team of makers and pourers for the second talk by Jim Cunningham both before and after. An excellent morning -- in more way than one. Thanks ladies. That was grouse.  

Ukulele group does a ritzy Papakowhai gig

The Ukulele group continues to be in demand by outside organisations. Last Friday afternoon the U3A Ukulele group entertained residents at the Harbour View Rest Home in Papakowhai. They thoroughly (and we of course) enjoyed it and we will probably get another invite next year. It was great when the two ladies stood up and did the actions for 'Old Lang Syne'.

Flocking to the gym in fine weather

U3A gym session remain popular. There is a pleasing array of women members using the facilities to do valuable cardio training at their own pace and build up muscle mass through the use of simple weights.

The run of generally warm weather has probably meant that the ‘deterrent’ of cold winter mornings has been less in evidence this year. The Revolve gymnasium is a very welcoming environment where U3A members have the place to themselves between 2pm and 3pm on Thursdays and 1pm and 2pm on Mondays and Fridays - all under the carful supervision of fitness specialist Mark Anderson.

You don’t have those super fitness fanatics yelling out “One more, give me one more, come on! come on!!”. The space is sedately genteel and people enjoy being allowed to use the walking treadmill to maintain fitness while maybe having a gossipy chat with the person next to them who is doing the same thing. So very U3A.

So very good for you every Thursday

It was the new British PM Boris Johnson who reminded us that not that long ago Table Tennis was called wiff waff; when he coined the immortal phrase “Wiff waff’s coming home”.

There is no shortage of enthusiastic  wiff waffers in U3A Tawa. And why should there be? The facilities offered us by the Tawa Community Centre are hugely good. A flat wooden floor, three top notch tables and first rate lighting - with ability to block out the sun on bright days using acres fo curtain.

A dozen members are enrolled for this weekly endeavour but on donation of a $2 coin anyone can join in. The sport looks deceptively easy but the speed of the tiny ball can deceive most eyes and significant hand coordination is required just to keep up. It’s all for fun but physical fitness lies at its very heart. More of us should try and give it go!


We are offering a "Shared Seminar Series" – with U3A Mana, a series of monthly lectures to be held on the 1st Tuesday in each month. Programme remaining:

  • Sept 3 1.30pm Mana Electric Vehicles (the pros and cons with Ed Forsman)

Venue: St Andrew's Parish Centre 11 Steyne Ave Plimmerton   Contact: Jancis Potter 2323915  email: [email protected]

  • Oct 1 10.00am   The Proposed Porirua Recreation Park.  Venue: Tawa Union Church   Contact: Jancis Potter 2323915  email: [email protected]
  • Nov 5 10.00pm   "Less Mess" – Downsizing and Decluttering  Venue: Tawa Union Church  Contact: Jancis Potter 2323915  email: [email protected]

Terrific joint session with Mana on our subantarctic islands

The joint session with Mana U3A on 6 August was a huge success both in terms of attendees and a quality of presentation. The presenter was Derek Lightbourne  (who referenced co-researcher Shona Russell author of Trial of Strength who is descended from sub-Antarctic islanders).He has been to the subantarctic islands of New Zealand on three occasions ad few can compete with that. “It’s not like going on the Interislander and you must take plenty of sea sickness pills”.

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Website additions and service amendments in the last few days

Our website is valuable to U3A Tawa not only as a frequently-updating electronic newsletter but also as an admin tool for keeping track of members and their courses.

The admin package saves score of hours of otherwise tedious administration using spreadsheets. However, it has recently been prey to a number of technically small but irritating niggles that are now, we believe, cured. We apologise for any inconvenience that has been caused.

We suddenly learned that changing the names of courses had some unexpected effects that baffled members signing up to new courses.

Recently we realised that we had no means to remove finished courses or to add phone numbers to enrolments that were made without phone numbers. Now we have those essential tools.

We stumbled at sending website emails re the mid-year meeting to those with email addresses. These issues (that were related to a third-party server) have been modified and are expected now to be much more reliable. We will also seek confirmation of receipt of such important mails.

We can now provide personal calendars when requested. These were sent out again in early July. We have had responses from many members along the lines of: “good work”, ”I am most impressed” and “well done”.

While minor IT problems will occur at times we do constantly seek improvements. The website can on the whole be fairly described as a success.

(You may also notice that several articles on this Home page have links to additional pages with more details. We hope you find this helpful.)

Improving the visual aspects of this site

We have received lots of useful comments on the site from members over the last few months. One recurring observation as been that the our stories often contain more words than can be comfortbaly accommodated on a mobile phone or tablet.

We have now become able to allow items to be condensed and extended into full format only if a reader wants to view the whole item. Just click on the picture and you are taken to the balance of the piece.

Coming up in the next seven days...

Thursday, 22 August 2019
10:00am - Computing Chatter [CC] - Tawa Community Centre
9:30am - Table Tennis [TT] - Tawa Community Centre Hall
1:30pm - Leathercraft [LC] - Tawa Union Church (Luke's Chapel)
1:30pm - 3:30pm - MUSIC PERFORMANCE GROUP [MP] - Member's home
10:00am - 12:00pm - Art Group [AG] - Tawa Community Centre
10:00am - Ramblers [RB] - Davies Street/Luckie Street car-park
Friday, 23 August 2019
9:30am - Scrap-Booking [SB] - Tawa Commuity Centre
1:30pm - Ukulele [UK] - Tawa Library
10:00am - 12:00pm - Outdoor Games [OG] -
Sunday, 25 August 2019
2:30pm - Drop-In Philosophy [DP] - The Roundabout
Monday, 26 August 2019
9:30am - Building with Meccano [BM] - Member's home
1:15pm - 2:30pm - U3A Singers [SS] - Stephen's Lounge, Tawa Union Church
Tuesday, 27 August 2019
2:00pm - ASPECTS OF THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1918 [AW] -
10:30am - 11:30am - A CHRISTIAN FAITH FOR THE 21ST CENTURY [CF] -
1:30pm - PLACES OF INTEREST – an English Miscellany [PI] -
1:30pm - Write It - Group 1 [WI 1] - Tawa Library
10:00am - Books2 [BK2] - Member's home
Wednesday, 28 August 2019
1:00pm - Indoor Games [IG] - Tawa Union Church
To contact us, please fill in the form below. . . . . Advise us of when you paid your subs (if you have paid recently)

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To contact us, please fill in the form below. . . . . Advise us of when you paid your subs (if you have paid recently)

First name:
Last name:
Your email:
Contact phone:
Question or comment:

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