Grand Lifestyle

University of the Third Age

Some of us attended university years ago when we were young. Or maybe even in recent years. We may have degrees or parts of them. Some of us went straight into the workforce at 15 – the age when one could leave school and get a job or an apprenticeship, and university has never been part of our lives.

For us older people, there is the ‘University of the Third Age’, or ‘U3A’. I remember my mum joining this and that would have been over thirty years ago. My Aunty Mary joined it also. Mum and Aunty Mary are long departed, but U3A is still going in New Zealand.

U3A is not a university. It is an organisation started by Peter Laslett in 1981 in the United Kingdom, and has spread to many countries. It provides learning opportunities for retired people and for those whose families have grown. In other words, it’s for people in their ‘third age’. There are heaps of groups in New Zealand, in fact over 80 of them.

These learning opportunities are just for fun. There are no essays or assignments to do, no exams and tests.  Yahoo! They also provide opportunities to socialise with others, involve interesting discussions and the learning of something new.  Usually a cup of tea or coffee is included.

There is a diverse range of interesting subjects including History, Photography, Book Groups, Music, Current Events, Travel, Astronomy, Philosophy, Antiques and more.  There are different groups and venues which meet on different days and times.  There is likely to be a group in your town or area.  It costs little to join U3A.  Annual subscriptions are approximately $25 – $45 to cover payment for administration costs and venue rental.

Members’ personal life experiences and knowledge are valuable, valued and can contribute to the group. How nice is that?

If you’re interested in finding out more about U3A, have a look at their website  You may find it’s just what you want.

“I am still learning”.  – Michelangelo at age 87

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere’.  – Chinese proverb


1 Comment

  • If you want to find the Nearest U3A to you, there is a DIRECTORY page for all the U3A in New Zealand here Not all NZ U3A are the same. We are not officially allowed to use “University” in our title in NZ. However U3A does stand for University of the Third age and was founded in the UK from a French model in 1981. We are not in the modern sense a University. No qualifications, No exams.

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