What's happeining @Ponsonby U3A.

“It’s back to our former home!” says Philippa Tait, President of Ponsonby U3A.

Philippa has spent the last few weeks reviewing various possible venues for monthly meetings after the usual venue, St Columba Centre, became unavailable. Members are looking forward to a return to a former venue, the Herne Bay Petanque Club in Salisbury Street. Set in a garden- like setting overlooking Petanque courts and with doors opening wide to give a complete indoor, outdoor experience, it is a delight in both summer and winter.

2020 was a year marked by a mixture of Zoom meetings and an occasional get together in person for Ponsonby U3A. Fortunately the group was able to celebrate the end of the year with a Christmas party featuring an art auction of small works made by members of the special interest drawing group, the proceeds of which were donated to the Women’s Refuge.

Philippa foreshadows a year of exciting opportunities for members to enjoy. On offer this year is a diverse and exciting array of speakers who will present at each monthly meeting. They include a vulcanologist, a well-known journalist, a leading architect, a representative from Coastguard, a prominent sociologist, a highly respected and accoladed New Zealand actor, a Professor of International Politics, a political journalist, cinema buff and philosopher and the CE of Heart of the City.

As well as a monthly meeting held on the second Friday of each month (except January) where a general speaker is show cased, a member of the group gives a ten-minute talk on their life and times (usually) or anything else that might interest others. Members report never ceasing to be amazed by the depth and breadth of the human experience represented in the ranks of their fellow members.

While the snapshot of a member is provided by a ten-minute presentation, the real way to learn about people is to join one of the many special interest groups. If people are new to the area, a little bit lonely or in need of a new stimulus, Ponsonby U3A caters to such needs. The membership is welcoming, always friendly and marked by a caring ethos where people watch out for each other.

Co-ordinator of special interest groups, Kathy Walker reports a burgeoning of new groups adding to opportunities for people to exchange knowledge and skills and make friendships. Among them, writing, play-reading, well-being and mah-jong are added to an already extensive array of 25 other groups covering science, languages, music and arts appreciation, ukulele, armchair travel, history, poetry, antiques and drawing. Such groups comprising about 8 to 12 people are normally held in members’ homes.

Guests are invited to attend monthly meetings but are asked to first telephone president, Philippa Tait on T:0274 523 108. (CHRISTINE HART)  www.u3a.nz/local.htm

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