Are you now free from full-time employment and do you at last have time to follow your own interests? U3A Bay of Islands may be just what you need.
Our U3A branch is primarily a social organization for people who enjoy learning and sharing cultural experiences together. Most of our activity takes place in small interest groups, which meet each month in members’ homes. It’s a great way to meet and make friends with people who have similar interests.
Our interest groups thrive by tapping into the experience, expertise and knowledge acquired by our members over time. Members enjoy contributing to the group and learning from each other. There are no qualifications required or examinations to sit. Most groups have one volunteer facilitator whilst other groups share this duty. However we stress that this is never compulsory. Nor is there any obligation to offer your home as a venue.
A wide range of topics is covered and any member may suggest a topic for an interest group at any time. At present, our groups can be loosely categorised under the headings of Creative Arts, Performing Arts, History, Out and About, Science, Discussion and Practical so there is a wide variety from which to choose. Here is a selection from our current programme:
Natural History Computers and Camera
Art History Photography
Singing For Fun Shakespeare
Art House Films Creative Writing
Opera French Conversation
Current Affairs Exploration
History of Food Book Groups
Local History It’s Showtime
Music Appreciation Human Behaviour
Science Poetry for Pleasure
Political Ideologies Philosophy
Our annual subscription is $20 or just $10 if you join after Christmas. This entitles you to attend as many interest groups as you wish. New groups start throughout the year but you are welcome to join them at any time if there is space available.
We also hold five general meetings each year, giving us opportunities to hear stimulating speakers and to meet members from other groups. The general public are welcome to attend these meetings.
A little Background
The University of the Third Age, usually called U3A, is a world-wide organisation that started in France in the 1970s. “University” is used in the sense of people coming together to share knowledge. U3A is a non-political, non-sectarian volunteer organisation and there are no educational requirements for membership.
The aim of the Focus Paihia Community Charitable Trust, on behalf of the community, is to see Paihia become an exceptional place to live, work and visit. We want to see Paihia ‘blossom’ and thrive, while retaining its friendly, village like atmosphere. Already we are a great place, however, it is recognised that we could be doing a lot better, both in how we present ourselves and how we interact with each other and our environment.
We want to make ‘Paihia shine’, through:
- clear leadership and direction by inspiring and uniting our community and celebrating our successes;
- supporting and facilitating our community’s ideas for future public developments;
- commenting and providing submissions on future developments;
- having strong relationships and open communication practices;
- encouraging local sustainable employment opportunities;
- promoting and maintaining a rich, versatile and sustainable volunteer base; and
- a sustainable charitable entity while remaining impartial and focused on the bigger picture.
Friends of the Williams House, Paihia Library Incorporated
The Friends of the Williams House, Paihia Library Incorporated are a voluntary group who support the development of the Paihia Library, including the upstairs gallery, and the historic Williams House. The Friends enjoy an excellent working arrangement with the Far North District Council and the Williams family who support the many projects the Friends undertake.
The Friends are an active group who have completed many projects and have more under way:
- Restoration of the Old Stone Shed: The Friends organised the restoration of this historic shed. Used as the first school house in Paihia, this shed is steeped in history.
- Restoration of the garage: A local resident donated a sum of money to the Friends for the restoration of the garage. The Friends now use the garage as a venue to sell second hand books. This is their main source of funds. The books are sold at bi-monthly book stalls, (first and third Saturdays of each month). The money raised from the book stalls is used to provide facilities for community use in Williams House, books and equipment for the Library and also the projects undertaken by the Friends. The Friends welcome the donation of used books, which they will collect if necessary. Contact the Garage Book Sale co-ordinator Margaret Rasmussen at email@example.com.
- A book, PROTECTING PARADISE IN PAIHIA – The Story of Williams House and Gardens by Fiona Craig, was commissioned to record the living memories of those associated with the House and gardens. This has now been published and the official launch of the book was held in the Williams House grounds with current members of the Williams family as guests. Copies of the book are available from the Friends book sales at the garage. Or please contact Margaret Rasmussen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A history trail, to allow visitors to understand the various features of the gardens and their historical significance to Williams House, has been completed. The Friends commissioned Visual Solutions to provide interpretive signs that we hope will enhance the experience of Williams House for our visitors. There will be some enhancements to the signs to include QR codes so that visitors can access our website for more detailed information. To view our website please go to the following URL: http://www.williamshousepaihia.com/index
- Following the completion of our history trail, the next large project we undertook was the restoration of the pump house in the grounds of Williams House. As well as the shed itself needing to be completely rebuilt, the pump required a complete overhaul. The pump was restored to working condition and we now to use the water provided for watering the gardens, enabling us to become more self-sufficient. As a further enhancement, we added a secure viewing door to enable public viewing of the pump inside.
- The Stone Shed Museum is now completed. As Paihia’s oldest still standing building, we felt that it would be an ideal place for a museum. We have endeavoured to show how the shed has been used throughout its long history with interpretive panels and a large, sealed display cabinet. The museum complements our history trail through the gardens.
- Brochure: A brochure had been published some years ago explaining the history of the House, gardens and site. The supply of these brochures has run out and a new brochure is in the planning stages. It will also contain information and a map about our history trail and information about the Stone Shed Museum. It is proposed that this will available, as before, from the Paihia Library, Paihia i-Site office or at the Williams House garage, (during book sales days).
- In conjunction with the Far North District Council we are currently collaborating to form history displays in the upstairs area of Williams House. The Auckland Museum has broached the subject of displaying some of their Williams family documents and the display of these is being investigated.
Some more of our achievements:
The lights in the library in the children’s room, non-fiction and workroom were organised and paid for by the fund raising of the Friends.
Have you checked the back flap of the book you are reading? Is it one that was bought with donations to the library by the Friends? These have been purchased using proceeds from garage sales of second hand books. Do you have any second hand books we can have? We always need more and we can collect, so please let us know.
The Friends also have volunteer gardeners for most flower beds but we have paid to get a lot of the heavier work done – that’s why the gardens look tidier and better. The vegetable garden is now tended by the Bay of Islands Community Foodbank as a community project.
We have lots of fun and spread our tasks so would you like to join us? Or do you want to hear more about what we do – how we support the house, the grounds and the library? Please come and join us, ask us, assist us – at our meetings, or on the committee. Anyone who would like to become a member of the Friends is welcome. Please contact any of the Friends listed below.
For more information:
Contact Name: President – Margaret Civil Ph: 402 7711 or
Secretary – Anne Corbett Ph: 402 7882
Address: 2 Williams Road, Paihia
Postal Address: Friends of the Williams House, Paihia Library Incorporated,
c/o Anne Corbett,
Web Page: http://www.williamshousepaihia.com