September 2018 Newsletter extracts
From the BROWNS BAY U3A President
Last month’s speaker from the Auckland City Mission, Mr Chris Farrelly, gave an inspirational speech on the role the Mission has played in providing support in Auckland since 1922. Through war, depression, strikes, downturns and now the impacts of drugs, “food insecurity” and lack of housing the Mission have worked to give those affected support. Not daunted by the enormity of the present challenges ahead of them they will soon start the latest project to provide a $90 million Mission Home Ground New Hope Building between Hobson St and Federal St incorporating 40 apartments for rough sleepers, a 30 bed detox unit, 40 affordable housing apartments for people on the public housing register, medical care, dental care, drop-in centre, provision for daily meal services, counselling, support and security. The continued vision and courage of the Mission providing nearly a century of support for Aucklanders in need is courageous and a story that needs to be shared. The Mission has already risen over $66 million and will mount a public appeal.
Heather Baigent, Chair U3A Network will attend our September meeting and speak briefly in lieu of a mini presentation. This will follow with open questions and discussion. Browns Bay U3A has already conducted a series of review meetings looking at the future for relevance, attractiveness for prospective members etc. Recently the Auckland Network has undertaken a similar questionnaire covering: new membership, meeting administrative, financial, health and safety compliance, providing for a diverse age range of members, keeping up with technology, succession on committee etc. Bring your questions.
Committee Nominations: At the front desk there are nomination forms for committee. We are URGENTLY looking for replacements for the roles of Newsletter Editor and Hall Manager.
AGM: 3rd October is the AGM. Please flag this date in your diary.
Browns Bay Community Centre: Any current convenors will have received, for the first time, an extensive and rather daunting 7 page Terms and Conditions of Hire document. These terms and conditions have always been implicit based on basic courtesy when using a community facility but have been open to casual disregard or abuse. U3A Groups have been guilty of not cancelling rooms when a group disbands or when they have made other arrangements for a meeting venue, forgetting to make payment, not returning the rooms to the condition they found them in etc.
Please, ensure we follow the rules. Approximately 20 of our groups use this excellent facility monthly for the moderate cost of $12.00 max.
Special Interest Groups (SIG’s) Review: In the October Newsletter we will have a survey to start the review of our SIG’s and see how we can keep them relevant and interesting for you and for prospective members. We encourage each SIG to have a discussion on how effective meetings are for them and how attractive they might look to prospective new members. Is it time to review the aims of the group or even consider disbanding or merging with another group? The survey will also be seeking ideas for new groups, identifing any barriers to belonging to a SIG and ask for ideas to ensure U3A Browns Bay remains relevant, accessible, inclusive and interesting for each member.
Following on in November we will encourage all members to think about their SIG membership and to take the opportunity to join new groups. It is a few years since we have undertaken this process. Reminder: all members are expected to belong to at least one SIG
SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP NEWS
Active Travellers - (4th Tuesday 10am)
Ancient Civilizations –(2nd Tuesdays 10am)
At our last meeting we saw part of a superb BBC DVD on Africa's Great Civilisations. This took a look at Africa from the birth of humankind to the dawn of the 20th Century. Two hundred thousand years of Art, Writing and Civilization itself. Through modern technology and digitization of records and fossil evidence much more is being learned of the treasures and lives of many peoples through the ages and cultures. We look forward to the next episode.
Archaeology –(3rd Monday 1.30pm)
Göbekli Tepe, in Southern Turkey, was discovered in 1994, a low mound concealing many layers of temple like-structures. These feature massive stone T shaped monoliths up to 6 metres tall and 10 tonnes in weight arranged in circles. Older by approximately 6000 years than the pyramids or Stonehenge, these were built by stone age people who had not learned to make pots, invent the wheel or domesticate animals. No-one, as yet, knows how such a primitive people managed to come together, devise a plan and work together on such a complex structure. Because of the weather work on the site proceeds only in Spring and Autumn so progress in finding this out will not be fast.
Art History - (2nd Thursday 1.30 pm)
Penny's presentation was about the “Canadian Group of Seven” who were a group of mainly landscape painters formed in Toronto in the early 1900's. Defying the held beliefs that no worthwhile art came from anywhere other than Europe, they were initially heavily and negatively critiqued at home. However undaunted, they persisted and exhibited in US and Europe and were ultimately accepted in Canada. The unique styles showcase the vastness and grandeur of Canada. They were the first non-indigenous people to portray the Arctic. Afternoon tea featured Canadian Maple Leaf biscuits - yum.
Art Pot Pourri – (2nd Tuesday 2pm)
Sachi talked about the Japanese woodblock print artist "Hokusai Katsushika". Hokusai was born in 1760 and died in 1849. During his lifetime he produced many famous woodblock prints. The most famous one is called "The Great Wave". His art was influenced by Dutch art work and he became interested in linear perspectives and using the European colour "Prussian Blue". Agnes gave some insight into a rural South African architectural style, known as Cape Dutch Housing, found in the wine district. She outlined how the style developed, and how these wine estates have become popular tourist hotspots.
Book Group - (3rd Friday 1.30pm)
John presented Piet Hein and his books. We then discussed Pulse (Felix Francis); Savage Season (Joe R Lansdale); The Professional and Split Image (Robert B Parker); The Outsider (Stephen King); Tell Tale (Jeffrey Archer); The French Girl (Lexie Elliot); How to Stop Time (Matt Haig); The Diary of a Bookseller (Shaun Bythell); Nothing Bad Happens Here (Nikki Crutchley); Fire and Fury (Michael Wolff); The Punishment She Deserves (Elizabeth George); When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Judith Kerr); Plan for Chaos (John Wyndham); Lab Girl (Hope Jahren); I Can't Begin to Tell You (Elizabeth Buchan); Moonlight Mile (Dennis Lehane); The Mayfly (James Hazel); The Wolves of Winter (Tyrell Johnson); The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted (Robert Hillman); Warlight (Michael Ondaatje); The Sympathizer (Viet Thanh Nguyen); Me Before You (JoJo Moyes) and several books by Marcus Sakey.
Classical Music – (1st Friday 10am)
Today we had a gypsy themed musical bonanza. Gypsy music is thought to have originated in Northern India, but gypsies have lived throughout Europe since the 15th century. We listened to examples of the vibrant flavours and rhythms of this music including the ferociously difficult violin music of Tzigane by Ravel, and gypsy style music incorporated by a great variety of composers such as Brahms, Verdi, Saint-Saens, Dvorak, Bizet, Lizst, and more recent composers such as Monti and Dinicu. A very invigorating morning!
Creative Audio-Visual – (1st Thursday 1.30pm)
The Creative Audio Visual Group's meeting for August, held at the Boston's, was a technical one and concentrated mainly on the advantages of the latest update (Version 9) to Proshow Producer, the program most favoured by members of the group to produce their audio/visuals. Much discussion evolved around the new effects such as new filter settings which greatly speed up the use of key frames in a number of common situations, together with the new motion effects which allow a wide range of new animations. Video use, within audio/visuals has improved too. A least one member has updated his program as a result.
Creative Writing – (4th Thursday 1.30pm)
This month Kathy's contribution was the source of much discussion about children and young adults and the use of computers: how much, when and in what way it affects their life, particularly socially. Ellen's story, was how a mother’s guidance influences a child's view towards art and music, both appreciation and criticism! Irene's story dealt with the emotions when dealing with a loved ones deceased estate. A good discussion was had on who does and who doesn't always read the first page of a novel before deciding to continue reading! Our next meeting is on the 23rd of August.
Current Affairs – (2nd Thursday 10am)
The meeting opened with a general knowledge current affairs quiz. This was followed by Topic Leader Pat, who chaired a long discussion on the damage being done to our environment by plastics. The discussion also included some of the recent initiatives to address this major problem. Other topics discussed included:- the bill before parliament to change the law on organ donations, the absolute failure of Auckland Transport to listen to the people of the North Shore when designing the new bus routes, teachers’ demands for extra pay because they live in Auckland, population growth and it's likely impact on our quality of life and the cancellation by the council of the contract which removed graffiti from buses and trains, and related buildings.
Cycling – (1st Wednesday)
A good turnout of 12 keen riders began the trip in Clarks Lane, circling Hobsonville Point. This included a new cycle way near the motorway, a new boardwalk starting at the ferry terminal, Bomb Point Park, Clark Rd, down Scott Rd to Scott Point and Brickbat Bay. We took a detour off Scott Rd down to Limeburners Bay where information about a clay business begun at the end of the 19th century was available. The owner's homestead in Scott Rd is now occupied by the Dept. of Defence. We cycled over 15km and of course had our usual coffee. Septembers ride will be led by Ted and will be Unitec to Mangere Bridge.
Exploring Art for Fun – (3rd Thursday 10am)
Film Appreciation – (3rd Friday 10am)
For our August meeting we watched a DVD about Marlon Brando. He was looking back over his life and successes. We discussed the film that we had seen at the recent film festival and hope to see some of the popular ones back for general distribution later.
Français pour rire – (4th Monday 10am)
Our talk from Fay was about Loius Braille. We learned that, he lost his site at age 5 as the result of an accident when using one of his father's tools, Louis Braille was intelligent, hard-working and determined to develop a way with which blind people could read and write. We all know about the braille system which he developed but not that it was based on "ecriture nocturne" developed under Napoleon so that soldiers could communicate silently in the dark. Sadly braille was not in use until two years after Louis' death. It is now welcomed and used worldwide.
History of Europe - (3rd Thursday 10am)
Jan gave us some more information about Heraldry, we looked at Richard the Lionheart's Castle Gaillard, built to protect Rouen and to give him a base in Normandy. Supposedly impregnable, it fell to Phillip II of France when some of his men climbed inside via the drains. We learnt about some great English statesmen such as William the Marshal who served as Justiciar while Richard was at the Crusades and then ruled for John's son Henry until he came of age, and Simon de Montford who, during the reign of Henry III was, the first to introduce a form of representative parliament similar to the kind the world knows today,.
Inventors & Inventions – (3rd Tuesday 1:30pm)
LED lighting is a very efficient use of electricity and can now be found in some item in most homes. Eugene took us through the discovery and uses of the 'Blue Diode'. a device that is essential in the production of the white light that is signature of the LED lighting. Such is the importance of the discovery of the 'Blue Diode' that its Japanese inventor, together with two colleagues who perfected it were jointly awarded a Noble Prize in 2004. David told us of his journey from dairy farming to a very successful career in horticulture including the development of the use of tubes for the propagation of plants.
Literature – (2nd Friday 10am)
“Jan’s presentation was on ‘The God of Small Things”, by Arundhati Roy . This was not only her acclaimed debut novel but was the Man Booker Prize winner for 1998 .We then viewed a draft presentation of Glen’s talk on Vincent Van Gogh for the upcoming U3A network gathering later this month . We all think it will be very well received. There was also time to start the discussion on any changes wanted for 2019.”
Local History – (2nd Monday 10am)
We listened to the story of the “Ruawai’s” coastal voyage from Helensville to Auckland, a distance of 400 miles. A little ship originally built for the Kaipara River passenger run and which had lain on a mud bank for years; did not have a certificate of seaworthiness, was sailed to Auckland by a Scratch Crew of landsmen. A great feat! We also watched an interesting video on the restoration of the Devonport Heritage Museum.
Mah Jong – (Every Friday of the month ( 9.30am)
Making History – (1st Thursday 10am)
CHARLES WILKS (1796 – 1877) was an American explorer and naval officer. From 1838- 1342 he lead a US naval expedition to Antarctica. They sailed more than 2400 kilometers around the coast. Wilkes became the first person to recognise Antarctica as a continent and not just a huge ice pack. On completion of this journey however, he was court-martialed on numerous charges but only found guilty of illegally whipping members of his crew. He spent the remainder of his career until 1861 writing reports on his expedition’s findings.
Medical Science and History – (1st Thursday 10am)
Our main presentation in August was on Organ and Tissue Transplantation. Many areas were covered including: donors living and dead, brain death, cardiac death, the sourcing of donors including the black market, transplant tourism. Two videos from China were shown - one showing hoe the illegal use of prisoner's organs is still occurring and another also from China telling the story of a transplant from donor to donation in a very compassionate way. Dates for the first successful organ transplants were presented - from 1954 to 2018. The history, current practices in NZ and the role of Organ Donation NZ were briefly discussed ad how some future improvements that are being researched were outlined.
Modern History – (3rd Wednesday 10am)
Music Appreciation and History – (3rdTuesday 10am)
The child prodigy Erich Wolfgang Korngold was Jewish. A prolific and varied composer e.g. of operas and ballets, he was a musical sensation when young. He was classed as degenerate during Germany’s Nazi era. Born 1897 in Brnoin the Czech Republic, he lived in Vienna between 1899 and 1934 then he was invited to Hollywood to write film music for the Warner Brother’s studio, an invitation that may have saved his life. He was the first composer of international status to write Hollywood scores. His lush symphonic style became known as the Hollywood style and still influences film music writers today. He wrote music for 20 films and won 2 Oscars. Denise’s German made DVD showed the rich diversity of Korngold’s life and work. His concert music, unpopular for some years, is now becoming more widely played.
Music – Mainly Classical - (1st Monday 1.30pm)
Our August meeting was at Valerie’s home where we enjoyed a DVD of the 2017 “Festive Gala” from the Semperoper, Dresden. The Staatskapelle Dresden Orchestra with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture, Kreisler’s violin conductor Christian Thielemann and Nikolaj Znaider violin, played many favourite pieces of music. These included, Bruch’s Concerto for violin & orchestra No1 in G minor, piece “Liebesleid” and they concluded with the rousing Suppe ‘s overture to “Leichte Kavallerie”.
Puzzles, Patterns and Paradoxes – (4th Thursday 10am)
The first published crossword puzzle was in the New York World paper on 21st December 1913 compiled by Arthur Wynne. He called it a word cross puzzle. The name changed soon after to cross word, and later into one word crossword. He had started a revolution and after WW1, took Europe and Australia by storm. There was a tense moment in 1944 when several puzzles in the Telegraph gave names of D Day invasion areas as answers leading to a school teacher being questioned by MI5. An innocent explanation resulted: a school boy, talking to American soldiers in a camp next to the school used code names when making a puzzle and passed them on to the teacher who sent it in to the Telegraph. Want to know how to do the Kakuro number puzzles? Go to www.u3a.nz/KAKURO to see John Ewen's instructions.
Renaissance – (4th Friday 10am)
Travel – (4th Wednesday 10am)
Shirley finished her talk about the long cruise in the East giving us an insight into the many small islands South of Japan including Okinawa and then on to Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo during the blossom season. Kay told of her trip in the winter to San Fransisco, New York, and the Grand Canyon.
Friday in September. The Oaks, Albany. From the Kristin School end of Rosedale Road turn left onto the Albany Highway and then very soon after turn right into Oak Manor. There is a lane for this right turn. Meet at 9.45. The walk is mostly on paved walkways. The Lakes Reserve is an oasis of
tranquility with a pond and a pavilion over the water. The walk will take just over an hour.
Meet at 9.45 in the first carpark on the right by the toilet block. The walk will start across the road from there, go down to the river and past the cottage and camp ground to the boat ramp. Then around the park to the beach and back up through the grounds of Cauldrey House. Approximately 1 hour 15 mins. Bring your morning tea.