New Zealand History in the 19th Century

This course will provide a wide view of 19th century New Zealand history with Maori, settler and government points of view considered.

The facilitator Pam Jenkins is showing James Belich’s documentary series, The New Zealand Wars and supplementing it  using other sources and her own research. Pam concentrated mostly on New Zealand history when she did her MA and her research was into the loss of Maori land at Orakei.

The Adventure of English

This group is looking at the English language, from its humble beginnings to its current pre-eminence as the one global language. In this BBC series, Melvyn Bragg is taking us on a great adventure, full of jealousy, intrigue, and war—against a hoard of invaders, all armed with their own conquering languages, which bit by bit, the speakers of English absorbed.  We have learnt of remarkable people, places, and events: the Norman invasion, “The Canterbury Tales”, Shakespeare, who added 2,000 words to the language, the songs of slaves, and the Lewis and Clark expedition, which led to hundreds of new words as the explorers discovered unknown flora and fauna. This is an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade.

World Religions

This is a group for members who would like to know more about different religions, their histories and their associated cultures. Our goal is to better understand people with different beliefs, values and traditions, not to promote or judge any religion.

Using short lectures from Professor Mark Berkson’s course, Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know, supplemented by a variety of other videos and textual material, we are learning about the main religions that originated in India, Hinduism and Buddhism; the indigenous religions of China and Japan, and Zen Buddhism; the three great monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam; and three religions with a relatively small number of adherents but a significant impact, Jainism, Sikhism and Baha’i.


This group is learning about Shakespeare and his times as well as his plays and the background to them. They are also learning how Shakespeare greatly enriched the English language, inventing many of the words and phrases we still use today.

The group is watching some of the finest dramas in the English language, featuring many of the greatest talents of 20th century British theatre and television. The plays are supplemented by lively lectures by Peter Saccio, Emeritus Professor of Shakespearean Studies at Dartmouth College, and by material put together by the group’s facilitator, a retired teacher of English and History.

The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age

The study of Western Civilization traditionally follows a well-known but incomplete arc: the grand achievements of Greece and Rome, several hundred years of the “Dark Ages,” and then the bright emergence of the European Renaissance. But most students of history have only a passing familiarity with a significant period known as the Islamic Golden Age in the Greater Middle East, from about 750 to 1258. Advancements in medicine, algebra and astronomy plus influential figures like Avicenna and Averroes arise in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, one of the most important periods of world history

This group will follow an illustrated lecture series by Eamonn Gearon, a Professorial Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, in Washington DC.

Local History (in Out and About)

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