Variety of topics at U3A lectures


Lifelong learning group Ashburton U3A (University of the Third Age) has some interesting and high quality speakers lined up over the coming months.

Speakers will focus cover everything from Arowhenua Marae history and the archaeology of Australian aborigines through to space aurora.

There is also a three-part geology series and former Afghan refugee Abbas Nazari will share his story.

Ashburton U3A is one of 60 groups in New Zealand and aims to inspire those over 55 to keep learning and to follow new passions.

The Ashburton group started in 2013 and has 157 members.

A programme committee organises speakers for monthly gatherings at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre that run between February and November.

Programme committee member Alison Westwood said U3A sought out knowledgeable people who had an interesting subject or story to share.

They often included academics, who spoke about topics in a language that was understandable to everyone.

“These people are often seasoned speakers, and experts in their field and very good communicators.”

Mrs Westwood said feedback after lectures was generally very positive and started conversations.

There were no real boundaries on subjects and although some may not sound exciting, they were often fascinating.

“You don’t know what you don’t know until you hear it,” she said.

Lectures are held on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

Ashburton U3A member Carol Gunn said five lectures had been cancelled in 2021 because of covid, including the geology series which would now run weekly from August 23.

The series starts with a talk by GNS scientist Hamish Campbell, who had featured on television programme Coast New Zealand, she said.

The next lecture U3A lecture is on May 24 and will be given by Karl Russell, who will speak on Arowhenua Marae history and current issues.

Dr Anne Ford will speak on the archaeology of Australian aborigines and Papua New Guinea on June 28 and Abbas Nazari will speak on July 26.

On September 27 Dr Annika Seppola will focus on space aurora, the earth’s climate and how they are interrelated. Speakers for October and November are still to be confirmed.

U3A members pay $60 for a full year memberships and casual members pay $10 per lecture.

To find out more about the U3A email to

-By Mick Jensen