Browns Bay Sth View

What is U3A ?     University of the Third Age   Further info Here


U3A is a response to the idea that human life is divided into three periods:

  • First: Childhood and schooling
  • Second: Child rearing and work
  • Third: Retirement

It is during retirement that people can put into practice the idea of a university as a community of like-minded people who seek a greater understanding of life.


The purpose of U3A is an opportunity to:

  • Encourage further learning by listening, understanding, contributing, researching and participating in discussion and relevant excursions.
  • Tap the great reservoir of knowledge, skills and experience that older people have.


U3A began at the University of Toulouse in France 1972 and has now spread world-wide with Hundreds of thousands of members. U3A was launched in New Zealand in 1989 and in Browns Bay in 2000. The University of Toulouse academics recognized the huge pool of brain power, knowledge and experiences in the retired group (third age) and ran lectures in various topics. Cambridge University in England then took up the idea but, instead of members receiving lectures, the members actively participated in selecting the topics, planning the programmes and presenting the information. We have adopted that style which we believe promotes increased personal learning, confidence & enjoyment by reading, research, discussions and field trips.


U3A is the abbreviation for University of the Third Age, the name originally given to the movement by the University of Toulouse. In New Zealand we refer to it in the abbreviated form, U3A, to differentiate it from the New Zealand degree granting Universities which we are not.


Main Monthly Meeting

The two hour meeting is held on the first Tuesday morning of each month in Browns Bay. An invited speaker, expert in the field, informs, educates and entertains us. The focus for 2009 is Exceptional New Zealanders doing Exceptional Things in New Zealand. A wide range of current topics is covered & we are sometimes privy to information not yet released by the researchers to the public.

   The second part of the meeting is provided by our U3A Special Interest Groups whose presentations have been identified as being of interest for the whole membership. A tea break provides the opportunity for members to mix and chat. Attendance at the main monthly meetings is optional. Members are required to attend one or more Special Interest Groups as this is where the active learning focus of the U3A philosophy occurs and long last friendships are made.


Special Interest Groups

These are small and autonomous. Their programme is chosen and presented by group members with optional external expert opinion and direction as required.  Led by a Convener, appointed by its members, each group meets regularly, each month, on a day and at a time suitable for its members. The venues are members’ homes or community centres. A typical group has ~ 15 members.




This is the Browns Bay U3A logo. It contains the Pohutakawa Tree. “The knowledge tree”




There are 12 Norfolk pines on the Browns Bay waterfront.

Each one has is own special name. Starting with January and the last one, is called December, is closest to the South pole.

As ANZAC Day falls on the 25th April, the fourth month, the fourth tree is closest to the ANZAC memorial.

You learn something new every day.

Browns Bay-8