U3A North West, Auckland

From Jenny Hunt and Arthur Hammond.

Where: West Auckland, New Zealand, has been acknowledged as a dynamic and distinctive area of Auckland. It is a unique region, ranging from a dramatic and rugged coastline to bush-clad ranges to fertile hill slopes nurturing orchards and vineyards.

Membership: This has increased steadily over the years and in May 2013 stands at 200 and still growing.

Activities: We have 24 study groups as follows: Ancient Beliefs & Civilisations, Archaeology, Art Appreciation, Art History, Bloomsbury Group, Creative Writing, Current Affairs, Everyone's a Writer, Famous & Infamous, French Conversation, Geology, Great Ideas, Greek, History of Auckland, Literary Group, Mathematical Diversions, Music Appreciation, Music Makers, Opera Appreciation, Play Reading, Poetry Reading, Quiz, Science News, World Religions

Personal comment: This is summed up well in a statement made by our current president, Jeanette Heine, in a recent newsletter.
"Now that I have retired and moved to Titirangi I want to say how important U3A has been in enriching my retirement with friendships and a local network. I think U3A fills a very important need in our third age, keeping us alive mentally and saving us from social isolation.

I can't emphasise enough how important the format of U3A is, with its small study groups which allow friendships to deepen. This is the advantage it presents over other types of clubs."