2019 Guest Speakers

Dr Mels Barton

February 2019

Main Speaker: Dr Mels Barton   "Kauri Dieback Disease?"   http://www.kaurirescue.org.nz/

Dr Barton has a degree in Geology and Physical Geography and PhD in estuarine sediment transport processes. She worked for Environment Agency Wales for 9 years, culminating as the Water Quality Consents Manager for Wales.

She emigrated from Wales in 1999 and now lives in Titirangi.
An environmental scientist, campaigner, organiser, networker and environmental advocate, Mels works with many community organisations and not-for-profits including The Tree Council, Friends of Regional Parks, Revive Our Gulf and Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand. She is Chair of the Titirangi Residents & Ratepayers Association and the Combined Waitākere Ranges R&R Group and is a former Trustee of Ecomatters Environment Trust and the Weedfree Trust. She has been the National and Auckland Coordinator of NZAEE Seaweek since 2011 and is a leading member of the Waitākere Rāhui campaign and the Kauri Rescue project team.

Mels runs her own consultancy business Subliminal Ltd which enables her to work on many environmental projects including Seaweek, and the citizen science initiatives Kauri Rescue and Marine Metre Squared. She recently spent 5 years working for Te Atatu Labour MP and Housing Minister Phil Twyford as his Issues Assistant.

Our speaker in February was Dr. Mels Barton who gave us a sobering account of how Kauri Die Back is affecting the Kauri in a number of areas in Auckland. A cure has not yet been found so communication, monitoring and respecting the rāhui placed on the tracks in the affected areas are the main tools for containment at present. This is a story I have been sharing with friends, my children and grand-children. When a Kauri fails so does the echo system of thirteen other native plants that exist symbiotically, together they contribute to our unique podocarp forest. Glen Plaidstow President

Prof Paul Spoonley

March 2019 Main Speaker: Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley   "Aging"    Talk pdf  >   His Talk on the BBC >
is the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University.

He has been involved in some major research projects on immigration and diversity in New Zealand, including Capturing the Diversity Dividend of Aotearoa New Zealand (2014-2020).

He is the author or editor of 27 books ranging from political extremism to the nature of work, and he was Ranginui Walker’s biographer (Mata Toa, Penguin).

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California Berkeley. 

Our Speaker in March
We enjoyed the second presentation on Aging by Dr Paul Spoonley. Thanks to Dr Spoonley’s generosity this presentation and his earlier one can be viewed by all our members. His March presentation highlighted future economic problems in New Zealand as the over 65 cohort rapidly increases over the next decades while both the numbers in paid employment and the birth rate decrease. Dr Spoonley’s earlier talk had emphasised the importance of immigration to help slow this imbalance. The March talk also noted how keeping mentally, physically and socially active can help older people stay healthy longer. U3A is significant for the mental, physical and social benefits it can bring to our cohort. Keeping U3A strong is not just a nice thing to do; participation in U3A is critical for our long-term well- being and good health. 
Glen Plaidstow President

Daniel Newcombe

April 2019 Main Speaker: Daniel Newcombe  "Auckland Transport Strategic Projects" 

Daniel is the Manager of the Strategic Projects team in Auckland Transport’s Strategy Division. He has a degree in Town Planning and Masters in Engineering and worked for transport agencies in Auckland and London for the last 20 years. His current work includes strategic planning for the city centre, plus working on light rail, the next harbour crossing and other major projects that affect the central area. Daniel has been at AT for 8 years and has worked on projects from the Waterview tunnels to cycle lanes and bus priority. He currently leads AT's business case development for Northwest light rail, ferry development, the future North Shore rapid transit network and various corridor projects. Finally Daniel works closely with Auckland Council on city centre planning, such as the pedestrianisation of Queen St.

Our Speaker in April
At our April meeting Mr Daniel Newcombe, a Strategic Planner for Auckland Transport, helped us to understand the challenges of getting Auckland moving efficiently by 2021. Major events including Apec, the America’s Cup, the Women’s Rugby World Cup, the Women’s Cricket World Cup, the men’s Softball World Cup, and kapa haka’s Te Matatini Festival in February make 2021 big year for our city. The 2021 challenge is compounded for Auckland Transport still playing catch-up on years of underfunding which has delayed needed development and an annual population growth of 60,000+.  Glen Plaidstow President

Rod Martin

May 2019 Main Speaker: Rod Martin   

After naval service, Rod Martin completed a Certificate in Engineering, and then entered Auckland University, earning BSc and MSc degrees in Geology, gaining first class Honours and two prizes for his study on the movement of aluminium in acid thermal areas. Rod has continued his association with the university, giving occasional lectures. He is a life member of the Geochemical and Mineralogical Society, and a member of the NZ Geosciences Society and the NZ Royal Society. His research interests include the identification of processes that form sulphates at the surface in low-temperature environments, and the zeolites of the Parnell Grit Formation and other NZ mineral occurrences. Rod has been a member of the North Shore Rockhounds Club for over 20 years. In 1990 he went to his first micro-mineral symposium in Northland. Since then he has taken a major role in the micro-mounting scene in New Zealand. 

All the Presidents Browns Bay U3A

June 2019  20th Anniversay Year of Browns Bay U3A
Range of Activities Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the founding of Browns Bay U3A.
The Presidents 
Rachel Irwin 2000 – 2003; Shona Cooper 2003 – 2005; Alf Fisher 2006 – 2007; Maureen Whineray 2009 – 2011;
Fay Weatherly 2011 – 2013; Geoff Haycock 2013 - 2014 Scott Whineray 2014 – 2015; Monette Ewen 2015 – 2017;
Glen Plaistowe 2017 –
Within our membership we still have fifteen current members who either joined during 2000 – our Founders. We also have a further twenty current member who joined in 2002-2004 and have been members for over 15 years. They have been invited to our June meeting so we may honour these members and recognises their contributions. There will be stories and images, a special morning tea and activities to challenge us.

Fay Weatherly

July 2019 Main Speaker: Fay Weatherly

"The disappearance of  Malaysia Airlines MH370"
Fay Weatherly is one of our outstanding members who has embraced U3A with enthusiasm and belongs to many groups. Before retirement Fay was Head of Mathematics at a large secondary school. Her passion for learning and research have resulted in this highly recommended presentation.

At the U3A Browns Bay Puzzle group, we deal with all sorts of puzzles, mostly ‘man made’ such as mathematical puzzles, word puzzles and games. We are always keen to examine the methods that people use to solve puzzles. As I listened to a documentary on TV, I was struck by the methods used, the persistence shown and the ingenuity displayed in trying to solve the puzzle of the disappearance of MH370, the Malaysia Airlines fight that vanished 5 years ago. After a fair bit of research, which involved skirting around the abundant speculation and false news, I put together this talk. Although this is not my field of expertise, it does show a great aspect of U3A: we learn as much or more through the talks we give as the ones we listen to. 

John Reynolds

August 2019  Main Speaker John Reynolds 

A Writers Journey
John Reynolds is a New Zealand writer who has written the story and lyrics for a number of successful rock musicals including; Robyn Hood Outlaw Princess, Starblaze, Valley of the Voodons, and Windust. John has also written a youth novel titled Robyn Hood Outlaw Princess (based on his musical) a book for aspiring writers titled Writing Your First Novel and an alternative World War II novel titled Uncommon Enemy. He has an MA from San Jose State University, California and a PhD from the University of Auckland. His PhD was on the life and works of pioneer New Zealand filmmaker John O’Shea. John is a qualified teacher who has taught/lectured in New Zealand, Australia, UK, Canada, the USA and Zimbabwe and has also written several textbooks.
His experience also includes radio broadcasting, TV and screenplay writing, public speaking and debating. He now lives in Torbay and has three sons and three granddaughters. John and his wife Bess are both members of U3A Browns Bay 

Hugh Dickey

September 2019 Main Speaker Hugh Dickey

"The Growth of New Zealand Towns"
Hugh Dickey started his interest in population studies and demographic research as a young man. His book “The Growth of New Zealand Towns,” is a result of decades of interest and research. An accomplished presenter Hugh will give a historical overview of the evolution and the changes in our cities and towns as the country has developed from its colonial beginnings. He will give a general picture of the trends behind the growth or decline of towns and cities from all over the country. Information gathered from the local inhabitants contributes secrets and debunk myths in the over fifty towns and cities that are featured.
“This is a treasure trove of information on the growth of New Zealand towns, graphically presented in interesting ways. This is a very useful reference for anyone interested in the changing profiles of N.Z. towns since early European settlement.” Linda Bryder, Professor of History, University of Auckland 

Tessa Duder

October 2019  Main Speaker Tessa Duder

James Cook – the Man and the Navigator
Tessa Duder trained as a journalist and has published more than forty works of fiction and non-fiction for children and adults, plays and anthologies. Her best-known work Alex (1987) was adapted for a 1993 movie, and recent books include biographies of Margaret Mahy, Sir Peter Blake, Auckland’s ‘First Lady’ Sarah Mathew. Her latest is about the charting of New Zealand by James Cook and a new edition of her four Alex books is also being reissued (2019).
Her awards include a number of children’s fiction prizes, the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal (1996), the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship to Menton (2003), an Artists to Antarctica award (2007), the OBE (1994) and an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato (2008). She serves on the boards of the Storylines Children’s Literature Trust and the Spirit of Adventure Trust. She has four daughters and two grandchildren and lives in Auckland, where she enjoys sailing, concert-going, teaching creative writing and reading. Work-in-progress includes an historical novel for young adults. (Photo Channel Magazine) 

Vanessa Burbolt

November 2019 Main Speaker Vanessa Burbolt

"Staying connected in later life: relationships, culture and environment"

Professor Vanessa Burholt, PhD, FaCSS will share her extensive understanding on why staying connected in later life involves maintaining and sometimes developing new social relationships to preserve participation. However, there are barriers that impact on people’s ability to remain socially connected. My presentation will take stock of the latest research on social exclusion and will identify risks for exclusion from social relationships (including personal attributes, biological and neurological risks, retirement, socio-economic status, exclusion from material resources and migration). I will also look at how the evaluation of social relationships and culture can influence exclusion. I will conclude by focusing on the environment as the context for exclusion, and I will provide a practical example of a tool that can be used to assess the age friendliness of the physical environment across New Zealand.
Professor Burholt graduated from the Bangor University and was then appointed Deputy Director of the Centre for Social Policy Research and Development at Bangor University and in 2004 took over as Director. She then moved to Swansea University, as Director of the Centre for Innovative Ageing. In 2016, Vanessa was also appointed Director of the pan Wales, Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research. In 2019 she founded the Institute of Creative Ageing Industries. In the UK, previously Vanessa has held a public appointment as the research member of the Ministerial Advisory Forum on Ageing and was co-Chair of the research hub of the Campaign to End Loneliness. Personal awards include Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Irish Gerontological Society Medal and Senior Research Leader for Health and Care Research Wales. In 2015 and 2017, she won the College of Health and Human Science outstanding contribution to research award and in 2019 the Head of College award.
Professor Burholt has recently taken up the position of Professor of Gerontology in the Faculty of Medial and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, where she intends to develop a new interdisciplinary centre of ageing research based on her twenty-three years of research experience in social gerontology leading international and national research projects. She has published around 50 peer reviewed articles. 

Hilary Arrowsmith Tech Talk

December 2019  Main Speaker:  Hilary Arrowsmith

How you can access eResources at Auckland Libraries
Hilary Arrowsmith, Senior Librarian for Programmes and Events, at Remuera Library, will present an interactive session to update us on how to install and use the latest library-related apps.
Hilary will demonstrate a number of apps that work on both android and Apple devices; computers, tablets and smartphones. Projected on our screen Hilary will demonstrate where to go and find the apps, how to load them and then use them. You will then be shown the range of eResources available in the Auckland Library system and how you can explore all the option links available.
Hilary will demonstrate how, using our devices can find out: “What’s New,” “What’s Popular” and “What’s Available” and how to use “Borrow Box” to access a selection of eBooks and eAudiobooks. She will also demonstrate the range of eMagazines you can borrow that are free.
Using eResources removes parking hassels, carrying books, distance and late fees! Bring a paper and pen to make notes.