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 more than 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]

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' page of this site.  You can also use our 'ENROL' page or 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.

Guest Artist - All welcome - This week

Everyone is welcome at the Art Group this week, to hear guest artist Beverly Janes, who has exibited with Mana Arts Society and at Pataka. She will share how she starts and show some of her work in various media. Even if you have not registered for this course you will be welcome this Thursday 27th February 10 a.m.

Art Group shiftng its focus into the wider community

The art group continues to attract new members. Leader Maureen Johnston has been in charge for many a long year (”a short interim stint that stretched out into years.” The demands of supervising and teaching across so many and varied art forms are becoming overly hard to meet.

It has been decided, therefore, to widen the learning scope of the enterprise out into the wider community. The intent is to welcome into U3A’s Community Centre base people from all around the Tawa area; those who want to share their passion for art with the group. “It’s more in the nature of a community centered self-help group where people can share their interests and skills” says Maureen.

Nominal ‘outsiders’ can come in and share art exhibits of any kind that they can share for between 30 minutes and 2 hours if their material can truly support that.

Maureen tells of a last year’s guest from Japan who shared fascinating and valuable views on composition and painting technique; on a single picture for a solid hour without the group members being anything less than riveted/inspired.    

[Group memebr Lola Gudsell is house training a budding guide dog for a year. His name is Addison and he will be sitting, maybe, through art sessions perhaps posing for doggy life drawing ones - to learn infinite patience]

The first Classic UKTV session goes down extra well

There has been intense interest in the course dubbed Classic UK Television. Numbers have had to be limited. The class has, on hand, literally hundreds of hours of television from the golden age between 1960 and 1980 when BBC and ITV had a wonderful run with drama, humour and world class documentaries.

No screening pattern has been established as yet but two major items screened at the first session. The first, The Knowledge, was a superb comedy-drama written by Jack Rosenthal -- a British writer from Manchester who penned many of the early episodes of Coronation Street.

The action is set in London in the later 1970s and is based on the usual manner in which London cab drivers got their badge i.e. by having to gain detailed knowledge of the streets in a 6-square-mile area known as metropolitan London. Among many others it stars Johnathan Lynn and Nigel Hawthorne (as the brilliantly cynical knowledge examiner). Lynn wrote Yes Minister in the 1980s and no doubt this hilarious collaboration with the future Sir Humphrey led to a comedy marriage made in heaven.

The balance of the session was taken up with part of the stellar series called Private Schultz (BBC2) starring Michael Elphick and Ian Richardson. (Note: this is not Sergeant Schultz who was a minor character in Hogan’s Heroes a bland US sitcom that played through the late 1960s). This TV masterpiece in six episodes was authored by the wondrous Jack Pulman (who also wrote I Claudius).

Pulman died before the highly successful series got to screen. It tells of a bizarre wartime plot hatched by the Nazis to flood the British economy with dud five pound notes printed in Germany.  Laughs abound.

We made it through the first 50 minutes before putting it away for next time when a BBC doco will also be onscreen.

The Visits Group visits cable cars old and new

A small group set off armed with Goldcards to train to Wellington, bus along Lambton Quay, then a ride up the cable car. (This is something we take for granted but tourists are often very taken with this unusual ride of which there are not that many in the world).

A veritable ride down Memory Lane for many of us. However, back in our University days the tunnels were not decorated with fancy coloured lights nor was there a very fine museum telling the history of the original cable car.

We learnt that the Cable Car is in fact not a cable car but a funicular (one of our group explained that the only cable car in the world is the one in San Francisco.) As well as the original car, the museum housed the trailer that was added when increased patronage demanded a larger vehicle.

In addition to those and the wall displays there was a showing of a short video presenting a history of New Zealand trams. When we had explored enough we transferred to the adjacent cafe (Cable Top Eatery) for a very pleasant lunch.

Popular writing course promises new outlets for creativity

Of the many popular U3A courses we retain those good old standbys Write-It 1 and Write-It 2 that are found flourishing in the Tawa Library; growing each year with strong consumer demand. The scope of the subject is endless with long stories, short stories, non-fiction and flights of pure fancy, poems, flash fiction,  personal memoirs and so on ad infinitum.

Our former Treasurer Jasmine Thompson has moved from Tawa but is still one of the skilled leaders while many of the groups’ members are ones who have just kept going on from previous years. You can never get enough of this multi-faceted subject once you start.

Class members are now encouraged to send entries into the many literary competitions there are around the place throughout the year. We were shown one originating with one of the mental health entities of New Zealand that seeks writing on the subject of My Black Dog. (That expression will be instantly recognised as a synonym for depression floated by Sir Winston Churchill himself.) Poetry too seems to be popular in the competition stakes.

Keep on scribbling folks. Even the great Dickens himself had to start somewhere, after all.   If anyone hits the jackpot with their writing then we will bring out a special edition of the U3A Tawa newsletter memorialising the event. Promise!

The Drones Club has a ball over at the local park

The one off two-hour session dubbed The Drones Club proved to be an outstanding success. Six members rolled up to a course that was half lecture (in a member’s home) and half practical (over in Redwood Park).

Leader William Bryson came along with a vast assortment of autonomous and non-autonomous drones – many of which he had made himself. A brilliant video presentation put together by William was used to cover: the many legal rules that regulate drone use, the physics that make drone design unique and some marvellous footage taken by drones flying 400 ft. over Titahi Bay and racing at 160 k.p.h. between trees in Geelong, Australia.

Despite tawdry efforts made by some media to portray drone-flying as an anti-social hobby, we were stunned to learn how tightly regulated the business is.  Many commercial entities (land agents, architects, fire-fighters and farmers etc ) now use drones in an extremely positive way.

Apparently, Kenepuru Hospital is, legally, an aerodrome (because of its helipad) so drones cannot be used with on 4km unless there is a large landform or building in the way. Most drone use of by the express consent of landowners and the like.

Over at the park everyone in the group took a turn at flying a 900 gram drone in a rather stiff breeze. Wind worried drones far less than planes so the degree of control we had over the GPS guided drone was simply amazing. The whole thing was a giant heap of fun all round.

One member noted that, when she was young, her brother never let her fly his radio-controlled model plane. Flying a large drone over an expansive green spot in Tawa was a dream come true!    

Good fun and brain teasers at the first Quiz

U3A Tawa has now completed its first ever course/quiz following the earlier lead of the U3A Choir last year. There was good turnout of five competition tables involving 23 members.

The questions were devised and put by quizmaster Dave Smith in the Union Church hall. Ten categories of question were used including Broadway show songs, Rugby, history of DNA research, the many wonders of Australia, semi-famous quotes, book openings and many more; while a photo recognition question sheet included Kiwi cricketers of yore (including one from Tawa and all cunningly disguised by their official photos).  

The afternoon was something of an experiment to test hall acoustics and the level of difficulty of the questions. We seemed to get an overall pass mark and the winner got there by just one point. The prizes consisted of party food and soft beverages brought by generous participants.

The next quiz will be on 15 April when we hope to include questions based on sound recordings and videos in some form or another. Members are encouraged to bring along a friend (or two) to enhance numbers and atmosphere as we go along.  

****Investments course has had to be shifted***

The one-off Investments course has had to be rescheduled owing to the non availability of the earlier announced venue.

Instead of Wednesday 25 March at the TUC it will now be at 10a.m. on Monday 23 March in the Community Centre boardroom. 

The Botany group gets out and about in lovely sunshine

The Botany trip on 10 February was to Khandallah Park. The day was one out of the box in an indifferent summer with lovely sunshine and no wind.

 The park and surrounding reserve were created in 1909 and so the encircling bush contains many large mature native trees. We followed the walking track alongside the Waitohi stream using several books on native trees and ferns to resolve our debates over the identification of the plants we saw. A picnic table in the sun was a welcome place to have morning tea.

Next month (Monday 9th March) we will be visiting Otaihanga near Waikanae to look at coastal plants and enjoy some bird watching along the estuary.

If any anyone is interested in joining us please contact the co-ordinator. You would be most welcome

The Committee checks the basics and will plan for the future

The Management Committee has had its first meeting for 2020. It included three new members, Helen Thomson, Helen Roper and Marie Prescott. The new Chair is Alison Bayly. Pauline Gallagher was unable to attend on 3 February. A new Committee photo has been put in the Contact Us part of the site along with contact details for both this Committee and the Course subcommittee.

Tasks were assigned for the following members of the Committee. Dave Smith (deputy chair), newsletter and website editing, Helen Roper Publicity and assistant website compiler. Helen Thompson is the new Secretary while Pauline Gallagher will take on the Membership Secretary role and Marie Prescott will be Treasurer.

The Committee looked at a large number of accumulated issues relating to the processes of enrolling new and existing members, collecting subs, allocating course venues, replacing ageing equipment and the like.

It was also thought opportune to review U3A Tawa’s overall operations using a very basic strategic planning formula. A special meeting will be arranged to discuss that aspect probably in April. A good deal of preparatory spadework needs to be done to background that meeting for the Committee members.

Members are invited to contact the committee with any ideas for developing/rethinking the things that we do and how we do them. The long term aim is to involve as many members as possible in our decision-making over the coming months and years.   

Those stimulating new books just keep on pouring in

The attendance roll suggested 17 members of the New Books in the Library class but the central ten readers of yesteryear all showed up. There was some talk of splitting the group in two (if everyone came) but we can just about manage numbers around a single library table. Let’s see how we go (as we did have some apologies today).

Aside from putting on a great morning tea our supervising librarian (Shelley) also supplies us with informative library material. This week we were given the NZ Publishers’ top-40 list of 2020 books under the headings of Fiction, General non-fiction, illustrated non-fiction and Poetry. Some of the new books on offer to our group were on that select list.

Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments (sequel to The Handmaid's Tale) was snapped up as was Hilary Mantel’s semi-autobiographical Learning to Talk. Also on offer were the late Clive James’ Sentenced to Life poems, A Mistake by Carl Shuker (former editor of the British Medical Journal!) along with Machines like Me by Ian McEwan.

The list of new books available to us was dazzling. It’s now time to shrug off the lazy Christmas-at-the-beach pulp fiction and get down to the challenging stuff. Any guys wanting to join the group would be most welcome at any time.

Appreciative audience for Woody Allen's "Hannah"

The film group got away to a fine start in the course that will alternate films by Woody Allen and the (20 years younger) Coen Brothers. This week’s movie was Hannah and her Sisters. This offering is probably Woody Allen’s most successful blending of comedy and drama out of the 60 or so films he has made. It won three Oscars (screenplay and both supporting roles) plus a similar number of Baftas. It is warm, believable, sophisticated and hugely clever.

Before the main feature started we looked quickly at Allen’s comic verbal and physical abilities from his much earlier films Bananas and Sleeper. They rival Chaplin/Keaton and perfectly illustrate his madcap humour burnished by years of peerless comic stand-up performances in the Big Apple.

How someone can clown around in a key dramatic role while directing and writing along with such confident assured camera-work escapes many of us. The seventies were very good to Allen.

Next time we will look at his stunning black and white love letter to New York: Manhattan.  

Current Affairs up and running with a few laughs thrown in
Getting fettled while the others are arriving

Getting fettled while the others are arriving

The 2020 Current Affairs course kicked off in style with 44 registered and over 30 in actual attendance. The group rolled up half an hour early and got into the free coffee and began saying happy New Year to all and sundry. They had stored up copious discussion topics and the banter-cum-advocacy was flying right from the 10 a.m. start.

High on the list of concerns was the sad infrastructure failures that have caused Wellington harbour to fill with sewage for a while; a grotesque sewage pipe is now running along Willis Street. The best two contributions we heard was that “in the old days” the Ministry of Works was in effect NZ’s maestro of infrastructure and it rarely if ever failed to deliver. While there was a feeling that the pipe issue was a planning disaster it was pointed out that local authorities do have some good projects to their credit; Grenada North being an example of local body co-operation on services and traffic that is an object lesson to all. Good to hear.

The topic of Meghxit soon became a caning for the UK media but an opposing line of argument was that if you want the money you have to weather the publicity – you can’t just opt out to suit yourself and you really do need some publicity. Before long a UK republic was being bandied about. It was agreed that when the Queen leaves us the other, less adept, royals will surely find life a lot harder resisting that outcome. Many said “who cares?”

Safety in schools for teachers and pupils after the recent case of a woman paedophile teacher down south led to some anguish but we had few suggestions for ensuing a better path. Professionals just have to be professional. Whatever next?

Much time was spent on analysing the wisdom of Mr Bridges ruling out Mr Peters as a coalition partner. It was noted that John Key did precisely that. However, it was pointed out this was in the days when National had more partnership options. The maxim “never say never” in politics was countered with “a week is long time in politics” (i.e. much can change overnight). It won’t be long before all will be revealed as the poll is to be in September a mere seven months away.

Much exhilarating fun was had and everyone in the room managed to get several words in edgeways (just).

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

Coming up in the next seven days...

Tuesday, 25 February 2020
1:30pm - Write It - Group 1 [WI 1] - Tawa Library
2:00pm - Films [FW] - Member's home
Wednesday, 26 February 2020
1:30pm - Indoor Games [IG] - Tawa Union Church
1:30pm - Christianity and Islam [CI] - Emmaus Centre
Thursday, 27 February 2020
10:00am - Computing Chatter [CC] - Tawa Community Centre
10:00am - 12:00pm - Art Group [AG] - Tawa Community Centre
9:30am - Table Tennis [TT] - Tawa Community Centre Hall
1:30pm - 3:30pm - Leathercraft [LC] - Tawa Union Church
10:00am - Ramblers [RB] - Davies Street/Luckie Street car-park
Friday, 28 February 2020
10:00am - 12:00pm - Outdoor Games [OG] - Aotea Lagoon
1:30pm - Ukulele [UK] - Tawa Library
10:00am - IPads and Phones [AM] - Tawa Community Centre (Old Police Office)
9:30am - Scrap-Booking [SB] - Tawa Commuity Centre
Sunday, 1 March 2020
2:00pm - Drop-In Philosophy [DP] - The Roundabout
Monday, 2 March 2020
1:15pm - 2:30pm - U3A Singers [SS] - Stephen's Lounge, Tawa Union Church
10:30am - 1:30pm - Music and Lunch [ML] - Member's homes
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)

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