What is U3A?

We live in a community where there are many groups to which we can belong.

• We can take opportunities for continuing education such as University or Evening Class courses.

• We can join a service group such as Rotary or Lions.

• We can join an interest group such as a gardening or bridge club.

• We can join a group which offers interesting speakers and social contact, such as Probus.

U3A is none of these. It does, however, contain elements of some of the above groups, namely:

A monthly meeting of all members:

• when we have an excellent outside speaker..

• when we have the opportunity to socialise

• when one/several of our members do present mini-talks. This is of great interest and stimulation to us all. But it is only half the story.

Small interest groups within the organisation.

It is what happens in these groups that marks us out as different from other organisations

• groups are formed and close down as the need arises.

• each group member take responsibility for presenting information from their own background, experience or research to the rest of the group. We occasionally have outside speakers but, on the whole, we enjoy the opportunity to extend ourselves in this way.

• Members are supported within each group to present their contribution.

• The real socialising takes place in these small groups.

• By doing this we strive to fulfil the spirit of U3A as stated by Peter Laslett who founded U3A in the UK in 1981

Those who teach shall also learn and those who learn shall also teach”.


The History of U3A

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 recognised 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.


1. Dare to dream about what and where you’ like to be.

2. Write your goals down, carry them with you and referto them often.

3. Use affirmations. “I’m fit, healthy & feel fabulous.”

4. Be determined. Recall your dreams or vision when the going gets tough.

5. Put a time limit on feeling depressed, down or disappointed then look for the positive and appreciate whatever you have.

6. Take time out for yourself; walk in the garden or somewhere you love. Have coffee with a friend. Stay at a bed and breakfast by yourself or with a friend. Retreats are important.

7. Delegate. You don’t have to be super man/woman.

8. Be open to learning. Read widely, listen to tapes, attend seminars.

9. Be open to seeing the good in others. Do random acts of kindness.

godaddy stats