My name is Jo Lord, a committee member of U3A Port Hills
Name & Location:
U3A Port Hills, Christchurch, New Zealand.
History:
Formed in 2006 to serve South-West Christchurch and surrounding rural areas with new housing developments, especially housing for over-60s. In Christchurch there are 3 suburban U3A groups all with monthly meetings and many Interest groups.
Membership: 150 members with around 85 attending monthly meetings. The annual sub is NZ$25, with a few Interest groups having a small fee towards U3A On-line study courses.
Monthly Meetings & Speakers: We are fortunate in being able to rent a church well equipped with data projector, microphone, loudspeakers and even a technician. Speakers are usually invited from the University, Polytechnic, businesses and the wider community. Monthly meetings start with 20 minutes of socialising over tea/coffee and an opportunity to read notices, investigate the sales table of surplus garden produce, reject paperbacks, etc. A consistently high attendance at monthly meetings regardless of the speaker and the chatter during the socialising is a great indication of the value that members place on this U3A.
Range of Activities: Interest groups have between 4 and 20 members. Many meet in a committee room at the local City Council Library, some in members’ homes. The groups are Books, Travel, MahJong, Current Affairs, Philosophy Introduction to World Religions, Philosophy Myths & Legends, History China from Mao to Now, Café Club, Home Crafts, Geology/Botany, Classical Music, Films. There is an annual bus trip, also it is now traditional to have a Soup & Rolls lunch in June after the monthly meeting, and a Christmas finger food potluck lunch in December after the final meeting before the holiday break.
What I like best: I am fortunate in being the founding President of U3A Port Hills, as this has given me a special opportunity to know and be known by many members. The work in setting up a new U3A is not something I “chose”, however the end result gives all of us on the Committee a huge sense of achievement. For myself, I get much stimulation from the U3A On-line study group "China from Mao to Now", also the Current Affairs and Geology/Botany Groups. I just hope that I can remain physically active enough for Geology/Botany as there is so much to explore and learn around Canterbury; maybe I will have to start going to the gymn again! A final personal bonus - the confidence I have gained in speaking in public, something I used to shy away from! WEBSITE www.u3aporthills.org.nz