Food appreciation group’s first meeting

The inaugural meeting of the U3A Food Interest Group was held on Tuesday 11th August and it promises to be a great group. We started with a discussion on the purpose of the group, the expectations of the members, and where we saw it heading in the future. The members have a great diversity of interests so we anticipate some very fascinating meetings to come.

And of course there is no point in having a food interest group if you don’t discuss food! So at this meeting we talked about and sampled chia seeds. We learnt about its origins, its growing requirements, nutritional profile, and how to use it in your kitchen. The yummy part was sampling dishes made from it – Coconut and keffir lime chia pudding with a raspberry and rosewater compote, a chocolate chia mousse, chia seed biscuits, and a fresh apple, orange and mint chia seed drink. We also looked at and discussed the uses of a chia gel.

We are all very much looking forward to the next meeting where our topic of the month will be “coconut.” As an added bonus, one of our members has been involved in the business creation of coconut products in Vanuatu and has promised to tell us about that. The topic had been set before we discovered her expertise in this area so it was the greatest bit of serendipity – it is going to be wonderful.

Our group number had originally been set at 6 members but after some discussion we decided we would like to extend that number to 9 so if you are interested in joining us (meeting the 2nd Tuesday of each month) please email Pauline at or phone her at (03) 347 8280.

Click here for the Food appreciation group web page.

Nutrition information on chia seeds.

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First meeting of the Wine Appreciation Interest Group

Last night seven people enjoyed a very pleasant evening tasting six wines under $15 from New World. It was the first meeting of the Wine Appreciation group ably and enthusiastically presented by Tina Carlton. We inspected the colour and then swirled and sniffed trying to identify as many aromas as we could before tasting. With a little prompting from Tina we identified gooseberry, old leather, honey, cinnamon, strawberry and many more, although not all in the same wine.

It was excellent value for $10 for the wine and room hire. But we do need more people to fully cover costs. It is essential that you advise Tina if you can’t attend so someone from the waiting list can be invited.

If you want to join the Wine Appreciation Interest Group fill in the form on the group’s web page where you can also see the programme for the next few months.

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Our first interest group meeting

It was a special day for U3A Ellesmere today.

Twelve members of the Movies Interest Group saw Woman in Gold at the Academy Gold Cinema at the Colombo. This was the first meeting for any interest group. All the members meet for a coffee before the movie.

Noeline Ward, the convenor, said everyone enjoyed the outing. They agreed that they will meet on the Friday following the first U3A Ellesmere meeting each month (on the forth Wednesday of the month). That way, they can finalise details at the monthly meeting. Several members car-pooled and others made their own way.

The Movies Interest Group web page is here. The group is still accepting new members.

The next interest group to meet will be the Wine Appreciation Group who will meet at Lincoln and District Community Care on Tuesday 28 April.

A number of other groups are currently being set up. A number of questionnaires are on the website to get further detail on how members would like other groups to be organised. Click here for details.

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April talk – Selwyn MP Amy Adams

Amy Adams has been MP for Selwyn since 2008. She is currently Minister for Justice, Minister for Courts, Minister for Communications and Minister for Broadcasting.

This morning she talked about her justice portfolio, in particular efforts to get all relevant government departments to work together to improve outcomes for people involved and for the population at large. She allowed plenty of time for questions of which there were plenty.

AmyAdams1 AmyAdams2

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March talk – Helping migrants achieve their dreams

2015-03-25-Taz-10Tazvitya (Taz) Mukorombindo gave us an engaging presentation on his work in Canterbury helping migrants achieve their dreams.

Taz arrived in New Zealand in 2002 from Zimbabwe and despite having a degree in Commerce and working for 2 years at a large South African Gas firm, his first job was at Mitre 10. Taz decided to do a Masters in Business Administration after a period of time having difficulties himself getting a job that reflected his qualifications and experience. Then he decided to set up a charity, the Canterbury Business Organisation for migrant job seekers to connect migrants in with public and private services that can help them realise their dreams by setting up many with self employment. The main role of the CBA is to connect these migrants with public and private services that can help them realise their dreams.

2015-03-25-Taz-Long-term-visionTaz has been involved with a number of projects including mentoring migrants and micro-enterprise support and has his own long-term dream of creating a centre that will be an international hub and include a covered market.

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February talk – Climate Change

Victoria Metcalf has provided an abstract for her climate change talk on 25 February 2015 and several links.

Slides of Victoria’s climate change talk 25 Feb 2015 (PDF – 8MB)

Talk Synopsis for Climate Change

With a research focus on Antarctic marine life and seven expeditions to the Antarctic in the capacity of either a research scientist or a cruise director, I will give an overview of climate variation using Antarctica as an example and outline the basics of anthropogenic global warming. I will outline current problems, largely pertaining to climate change and including ocean acidification that scientists are tackling through studies in the giant natural laboratory of Antarctica. Prepare for some interactive discussion.


Analysis of the scientific research conducted into climate change indicates with 99.999% certainty that the current level and RATE of temperature rise is predominantly due to anthropogenic factors. Antarctica is a pivotal continent with respect to our global climate and ocean circulation and can be described as the global powerhouse. However, Antarctica has not always been icy and cold- its climate has varied over time. Understanding this past climate and its relationship to CO2 levels helps us understand natural climatic variation vs. manmade forcing as well as what impacts major changes in the Antarctic icesheet will lead to in terms of sea level, weather and ocean currents worldwide.

Ocean acidification is often described as the other CO2 problem. It is related to global warming but is having more immediate and perhaps more drastic effects. The lowering of pH of the oceans is and will have profound impacts on marine ecosystems and human wellbeing as a result. It is important to note that there are many stressors acting on physical and biological systems at the same time. Understanding the impacts of these stressors is challenging due to the complexity of the systems under study.

Tackling such global large scale issues requires individuals to consider what their values are, what they are willing to change and compromise to improve the outcomes for future generations.



Videos & Info
Milankovitch cycles

Climate Change
 The 10 best videos on climate change -LOTS OF GOOD VIDEOS AND INFO ON THIS SITE IPCC reports

Ocean acidification: Animation- excellent basic NGO video OA documentary Short science video NIWA video especially the FAQs OA-ICC website

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Up and running

We held our first monthly meeting yesterday and are feeling very confident of our future.

About 60 people turned up to hear Dr Victoria Metcalf talk on climate change. Victoria is the youngest daughter of our president Lena. She has a PhD in Biochemistry and is interested in Antarctic fish along with climate change. Her job over the years has taken her on many visits to the Antarctic where she investigates how fish survive in such extreme cold and their use as bellwethers for climate change. Victoria has received a number of awards and scholarships and is passionate about communicating science to the general population.

Victoria concentrated on the part that oceans play in climate and how changes in the oceans are driving changes in the climate. The oceans store much more carbon than the atmosphere or biosphere; the carbon dioxide being converted to carbonic acid (H2CO3), carbonate ions and bicarbonate ions.

Over the past 55 million years natural events have caused large changes in the oceans. These changes have been gradual and life has been able to adapt and evolve. During the industrial era the ocean acidity has increased by 30%. The rate of change is too rapid for adaptation and will likely results in extinctions.

There is very strong consensus on human-caused climate change among the scientific community. A paper published 14 September 2014 determined that there was 99.999% certainty that humans are driving climate change.

Some sources for further reading (these links will open in a new tab):

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

People arriving

People arriving

President Lena Metcalf welcoming everyone

President Lena Metcalf welcoming everyone

Victoria Metcalf addressing the group

Victoria Metcalf addressing the group

Victoria Metcalf

Victoria Metcalf


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Another step forward

The meeting to approve the rules and appoint the committee was held on Wednesday 26 November.

The application to incorporate has been filed and we are waiting for the certificate before we can open a bank account.

We are working hard to get a good line-up of interesting speakers. If you have any good ideas do let us know.

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A very successful start

About 50 people attended the information evening for the new U3A Ellesmere group.

Lena Metcalf and John Yarrall explained the current thoughts on how the group will be organised. There will be a general meeting held at the Lincoln Events Centre on Wednesday 26 November where a set of rules will be presented for approval and the committee will be elected.

The first monthly meeting is to be held Wednesday 25 February 2015 at 10am.

Three members from U3A Port Hills Incorporated, who are supporting the formation of new group also gave their thoughts.

Lisa Larkin, Community Development Advisor from the Selwyn District Council, gave her enthusiastic support. Many thanks to the council for providing the room at no charge and for offering to provide publicity material. We are confident that the council will continue to support us as we get established.

Many people filled in application forms on the spot and many more were taken away. From the forms already returned Travel appears to be a popular interest group.

We currently have 50 people who have registered interest so we are off to a great start.

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A new U3A group

A small group of Lincoln residents met with some members of the U3A Port Hills group today to consider setting up a group based in Lincoln.

The meeting agreed to call a public meeting late October to gauge interest.

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