May 2018 Newsletter extracts
From the BROWNS BAY U3A President
Hello to all U3A members,
U3A is an international organisation and I have the joy of communicating to U3A members in other countries and hearing how their group works. Though there are many variations we are all united by a set of Aims and Guiding Principles. The first aim:
“To encourage and enable people no longer in full-time employment to help each other to share knowledge, skills, interests and experience.”
What a privilege to have the U3A opportunity, it beats the rocking chair and slippers! Each one of you is a superstar with a wealth of life experience to share. I urge you to participate in a variety of Special Interest Groups, as we told our children and reiterate to our grandchildren “you have to join to belong.” Likewise, I urge members of groups to welcome the new members. Then their unique knowledge, skills, interests and experience will be shared.
Our Speakers: I would like to offer a big thank you to Sherryl Wilson our Speaker Manager. Sherryl puts in hours arranging our speakers to provide a range of interesting topics. If you have heard or know of a speaker who would be suitable send Sherryl an email. This meeting Mr Michael Wynd will share his extensive knowledge of New Zealand’s Naval History; an appropriate speaker following our recent ANZAC Day remembrances.
Last month we had Allie Downing from Hibiscus Hospice with some very important information. Hospice has expanded their in-house and community services to provide physical, emotional and spiritual support for all family members. Allie was accompanied by Jo Eve from Hospice North Shore based in Shea Terrace. A copy of Jo’s letter follows on page 2.
- On 31st August the Auckland U3A Network holds its annual event at St Chads Auditorium, Meadowbank. This event includes a series of mini talks. Put this date in your diary and we will let you know how to enrol next month.
Glen Plaistowe Browns Bay U3A President
SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP NEWS
February Report: International rugby referee Nigel Owen’s autobiography was the stimulus for Scott and Maureen Whineray's journey to eleven mentioned cities and the memorable/unusual experiences experienced. Starting in Wales (Nigel’s birthplace) we moved to Ireland where we spotted a Hurling practice in Limerick. Our hurling stick was lost when we were then thrown off a train at Kuty, Slovakia. Found another train: Budapest eventually! Onwards: we remembered Evita at the Duarte mausoleum, Buenos Aires, survived an Andes plane crash near Santiago, climbed up Huayna Picchu (yeah, right!), near Cusco. We then watched the Sardine run, in Durban, and felt the fear at Rorke’s Drift: Zulu wars. We finished with a singing teacher in Venice and her pupil, Mina Foley, in Auckland, and a sad incident in Epsom. Around the world in 50 min!
March report: For 28 days the Anne and Geoff Haycock experienced Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania on the back of a special purpose safari truck visiting the Maasai Mara and the Ngorongoro crater and Nakuru game parks. Visits to elephant, chimp and giraffe sanctuaries were on the agenda as well. Apart from these highlights they were fascinated by the ingenuity of the African people in their quest to make a living and by the happy smiles that people showed willingly. The village markets bustled with life and so did the cities but in a more claustrophobic way. The last few days were spent on Zanzibar where they explored Stonetown and lazed on the sand at a beach resort. It was a truly unforgettable experience.
At the April meeting we had a change to the program. We watched the second episode of the DVD "Skeletons in the Cupboard." This promoted a great deal of discussion. We then listened to a new report on Stonehenge entitled "The Mystery Solved." May meeting, our subject is "The Vikings." New members welcome.
The spirit of U3A was alive and well at our meeting as we supported Nanette and Mary to fine-tune their presentation for the main meeting in May. Thanks to all for ideas, skills time planning etc. And even better we are off the hook for about 2 years! We then relaxed and enjoyed a short presentation by Fay about the buried Viking ship Oseberg which was unearthed on a farm around 1904 and subsequently restored. It was the last resting place of two Viking women, and if you men complain about the stuff your wives put in their suitcases for a trip, these ladies really beat everyone!
Our talk was a continuation of the life of the Dutch painter and forger Han van Meegeren. He successfully forged Vemeer's work until after the war. One forgery was even bought by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. His forgeries were discovered because Goring had obtained one from a dealer for his private collection in war time, believing it to be a Vemeer. Then when it was to be repatriated after the war, Han was associated with its sale. He was in trouble -- either he admitted he'd forged Vemeer, or he was to be accused of being associated of being a traitor or associating with the Nazis. He admitted the forgeries and became a national hero for duping the Nazis.
Art Pot Pourri
Six members of our group met for lunch at the Estuary Arts Centre in Orewa before viewing the current exhibitions there. Art Alley contained a variety of work produced by a local group known as the Friday painters. Also on display were glass bowls, wall panels, sculptural forms and jewellery by John and Frances Hanson. Upstairs we enjoyed looking at the “Little Feathers” by Rebecca McLeod whose work is most unusual. Painting on feathers she produces tiny, delicate, pictures of native birds.
Monette gave us a presentation on memoirs, then we discussed The Automobile Club of Egypt (Alaa Al Aswany); The Lost Village (Neil Spring); Wonder (R J Paacio); Origin (Dan Brown); If I Die Before I Wake (Emily Koch); The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus); Annihilation (Jeff VanderMeer); Restless Souls (Dan Sheehan); Cartes Postales From Greece (Victoria Hislop); The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt); Driving to Treblinka (Diana Wichtel) and Travelling to Infinity: my life with Stephen (Jane Hawking).
We thoroughly enjoyed viewing the DVD of Walt Disney's, Fantasia. The intriguing graphics that accompanied the classical music gave a very different perspective to the music. We heard Cantata and Fugue by Bach, Nutcracker suite by Tchaikovsky, Sorcerer's apprentice by Dukas, Stravinsky's ballet, Rite of Spring, Pastoral symphony by Beethoven, Dance of the Hours by Ponchilli, and On a Bare Mountain by Mussorgsky, and finally Ave Maria. Our next meeting will be on June 1st (none in May). New members welcome.
The April meeting of the Creative Audio Visual Group saw the delivery of an image to each member as the first step in the most difficult challenge posed so far - the challenge is to make a complete audio visual using only one photograph! The image can be used in any way that the maker likes - cropped, altered in a photo editor - the prospects are endless. The remainder of the meeting was devoted to looking at the various ways in which individual parts of and image can be selected and moved, altered or animated, in preparation for the single image challenge. The next meeting, at Geoff Haycock's, is the first challenge of 2018 - an audio visual based on photos taken at the March photo shoot at the Wynyard Basin.
Exploring Art for Fun
Exploring Art for Fun gathered at the house of member Lois Painton to receive her presentation on the art and history of Japanese wood block colour printing. Enhanced by her recent visit to Japan, Lois explained the history of Japanese ukiy-e wood block printing which started in the 17th century in the era of the Shoguns and Samurai and ended with the creation of modern Japan. The most notable ukiy-e printers, Hokusai and Hiroshigu were a considerable influence on the French impressionists in Europe, particularly Degas and Van Gogh, when wood block prints were used to wrap items exported from Japan to Europe. The work of Hokusai is still widely known as a result of his famous print "The Great Wave".
Français pour rire
At the March meeting Helen Morris presented an illustrated talk about Savoy in the north-east of France. For centuries it was an Italian principality and became part of France in 1860 with the unification of Italy. Annecy is a picturesque lakeside town in the region which offers access to year-round sports from sailing to skiing. Yvoire, listed in "Most Beautiful Villages of France", is noted for its floral displays. The important administrative centre of Chambéry (59,000) offers an interesting castle, old town, boulevards and the Fontaine des Éléphants – the latter a tribute to local boy, Benoît de Boigne. He was a civic benefactor who made a fortune from investments in indigo while serving as a General in a Maharajah’s domain in India.
History of Europe
Inventors & Inventions
Garry's presentation covered the new development advances in Lithium batteries where Samsung has just announced lower cost batteries which will power Electric cars 600km with a 6 min charge time. Videos showed electric powered aircraft in flight with commercial liner proposals being developed. A short Youtube video of the father of DNA Sir Alex Jefferies talking about his prestigious Copely Award and a clip from the movie "The code of a killer" where his discovery is portrayed in catching the killer of two women.
Monette gave a PowerPoint presentation on "Once We Were Sisters", a 2017 memoir by Sheila Kohler, describing her privileged childhood in 1950's South Africa with older sister, Maxine, and her attempt to come to terms with her sister's violent death at the age of 39 in circumstances that strongly suggest murder.This beautifully written, compelling book is "both a tender tribute to her sister and a powerful act of redress." Other recommended memoirs include "My Father's Island", Adam Dudding's fascinating tale about the family, marriage, feuds and secret loves of eccentric New Zealand literary editor, Robin Dudding, and "Driving to Treblinka: a long search for a lost father", Diana Wichtel's poignant journey to discover the truth about the life and death of her Polish father.
Local History –
Photographically revisited, was the near forgotten story of the Narrow Neck Military Camp. Home to the 2nd and 3rd Maori battalions of 1915, the N.N.M.C. had another roll in 1918 with the arrival of the influenza pandemic where 21 died. Enemy aliens also passed through the camp in transit to Wellington for German repatriation among, which was the infamous Count Felix Von Luckner, renowned for his legendary escape from Motuihe Island in a motor launch with 10 other compatriots only to be recampured 8 days later
Samuel de Champlain (1570-1635). In 1608 Champlain a French explorer founded Quebec, the first permanent settlement in New France (Canada). He befriended the Alganquin and Huron Indians and began to trade with them for furs. In 1626 the English who were at war with France cut off supplies to Quebec, captured Champlain and took him to England and eventually allows him to return to France in 1629. The Treaty of St Germain en Laye returned Quebec to France and in 1633 Champlain sailed back and rebuilt the Fort where he lived until his death.
Medical Science and History
Our group enjoyed a potpouri of topics at our April meeting. These topics included beta blockers, an interview with dame Carol Robinson on the value of mass spectrometry in drug therapy, nerve agents and their effect on the human body, and "re creating the womb-- new hope for prem babies"
Dave. C. made a presentation on the Arab Spring. A lively discussion took place during the presentation around the involvement of the Great Powers in the Middle East after the demise of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WW1 up until the present time. Although the Arab Spring brought about the fall of four regional dictators the initial hopes of the protestors were not fulfilled. The fall of the dictators opened up old wounds especially in those countries which were created after WW1. The role of women and education was discussed by the group. The meeting ended with a DVD on the role of aviation in the Antarctic.
Music Appreciation and History
This month we had a talk about a very famous Argentine-Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. He is an outspoken critic of Israel's conservative governments and the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. He has always argued publicly for a Two-state solution "otherwise the wars and history of that region will be constantly repeated." In 2008 after performing in Ramallah, Barenboim accepted honorary Palestinian citizenship becoming the first Jewish Israeli citizen to be offered the status. In autumn 2000 he was made conductor for life at the Berlin Staatskapelle and also became Music Director of La Scala in 2011. We finished our session watching his performance conducting the 2009 New Year Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic.
Music – Mainly Classical
The focus of our meeting was the life and music of Fryderyk Chopin, by means of watching the DVD "In Search of Chopin". Historians and pianists such as Daniel Barenboim, Ronald Brautigam, Leif Ove Andsnes, and Lars Vogt were interviewed and played a variety of Chopin's beautiful piano music. Many excerpts and incidents from his letters were used in the commentary and we had a much greater insight into his music, personality, and short life (of 39 years) by the end of the afternoon. As an end to our meeting, Jill played a mazurka in F minor that Chopin wrote on his deathbed and so never actually heard or played it himself.
Puzzles, Patterns and Paradoxes
Trisha presented an in depth talk on Women of the Renaissance. Many artists, every subject, only medicine or physics not encouraged. Developed from this, women became, Healers, herbalists, later the Church became involved, and many were burned as Witches. Among rulers was Elizabeth 1st of England, a powerful ruler, known as the Virgin Queen, and used men to rule her Kingdom, from the intrigue of Parliament, to Explorers of the oceans. Greta chose the building of St Georges Chapel, Windsor, place of the next Royal wedding. Edward 111 gave the chapel its importance early 1300. It’s the home of the College of St George, and the Knights of the Order of the Garter, their Thanksgiving Service held inJune of each year. Nave including the Great West Window, where many Saints, Popes, Archbishops, of centuries are depicted. St Georges became a 'peculiar' and a royal free chapel not under the Archbishop of Canterbury, where divorced members of the royal family or their spouses can marry, giving leeway to Henry V111 as the Catholic church did not recognise divorce, is buried their, with many other Royals, also left the chapel a huge legacy.
Chris gave very interesting talk about her trip to Kenya and Tanzania, starting in Elsa Kopje of Elsa the lion fame years ago. She spent three days there on safari, glamming. From there she went to Bataleder and Masai Mara, in the Serengeti and down into the Ngorongoro Crater. All the way there was a huge variety of animals and birds, usually up quite close.
A wonderful trip!
Friday in May Long Bay Meet at 9.30am at the first car park on the right after crossing the bridge into Long Bay Regional Park. We did not get a leader for this date and I will be away, so you can make a group decision about where to walk.
Friday in May Tuff Crater: Meet at the Exmouth Road entrance to the reserve at 9.30am. The entrance to the reserve is accessed by a small slip road. Park in either Exmouth Road or the Northcote shopping centre and walk down to the reserve. Coffee en route.