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An annual subscription of $15.00 covers the overheads of the organisation including newsletters. Members may join any number of groups.  The larger groups, which meet in rented rooms, make a small charge to cover the room hire, and this may include morning/afternoon tea. ln some groups there may be a small charge for materials such as photocopying.

What is U3A?

U3A is the title adopted internationally to describe groups of older people who join together to enjoy further learning of any subject of their choice. "The University of the Third Age uses the word 'University' in its original sense, meaning a gathering for the pleasure of learning. The 'Third Age' follows the first (childhood) and second (work and family), and is the age when there is freedom to follow favourite interests and start new ones."

U3A began in France in 1972, and rapidly spread to several other countries. An lnternational Association of U3As
(Universities of the Third Age) was founded by 1975 and now has some 100 member organisations.

U3A was introduced to Britain in 1981 by a group based in Cambridge University, but then evolved away from the pre-packaged courses provided by the universities and adopted the idea of self-help or mutual-aid learning groups. This model spread to Australia in 1985 and to New Zealand in 1989. U3A commenced in Hawke’s Bay in 1993 with the formation of the Taradale U3A group, drawing members from the Napier, Hastings and Havelock North areas.

U3A aims to tap the reservoir of knowledge, skills and experience to be found among the older people in the community. No formal qualifications are required to join, and none are awarded. The planning, administration and teaching in U3A is carried out by members on a voluntary basis. Members are encouraged to carry out research in their own time and at their own pace.  Groups normally meet during the day, often in private homes, but some of the larger groups meet in rented public rooms.