Media Advisories February 15

EBOP FUNDS MAJOR UNIVERSITY ROLE

Environment Bay of Plenty has announced funding of $1.5 million over 10 years for a Chair in Coastal Science at Waikato University. The deal was signed last week. The Chair, yet to be appointed, will be based in Tauranga and will focus on coastal marine and estuarine research particularly within the Bay of Plenty region. EBOP already funds a Chair in Lakes Management at Waikato University and EBOP Chair John Cronin says the university’s internationally recognised expertise and leadership in the processes and management around coastal marine issues means the regional council is happy to pay for another Chair. The university’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Doug Sutton, says the university has had a long involvement with the region, and has researched the Bay of Plenty coast and its estuaries since the 1970s. “This important funding of a Chair of Coastal Science will continue to deliver results for the harbour and region and ensure a continuing and active partnership between the university, the regional council and local bodies, iwi and groups.”

 

MEDALS FOR OUTSTANDING SCHOLARS

World champion surf lifesaver Nikki Cox and dancer with a social conscience Claire Gray have been awarded Sir Edmund Hillary medals from Waikato University. Awarded annually, the medals go to Hillary Scholars who’ve excelled academically, in their chosen field, and have shown leadership potential. Cox has just graduated with a Bachelor of Management Studies (Hons) and will shortly begin work at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Wellington, as well as continuing to compete at top level in her sport. Last year she won gold, silver and bronze medals at the World Games in Taiwan. Gray, who did her schooling in Pukekohe, is leaving university with a BA in theatre studies and Māori and with graduate diplomas in human resource management and strategic management. While a student she and two others set up the Streetworks initiative in Hamilton that organises for volunteers to do practical work in the community such as delivering firewood to needy families and cooking meals that can be frozen for community centres. Since 2007 the group has run five weekend events and grown from an initial 40 volunteers from local churches to 200 turning up at their last event. University High Performance Manager Greg O’Carroll says the pair were committed and talented scholars who took the right attitude into everything they took on.

 

NEW ZEALAND HIT BY ‘PREMATURE AGEING’ - WAIKATO DEMOGRAPHER

New Zealand is suffering from ‘premature ageing’ and must take action to boost its workforce, warns Professor Natalie Jackson, the new director of the Centre for Population Studies at the University of Waikato. An expert in regional demography, Prof Jackson says New Zealand has a substantial deficit of people aged 20 to 40 – mainly due to international migration loss - which drives up the median age of the population. “Crunch time is approaching with the number of retirees set to boom and fewer and fewer young people coming into the labour market,” she says. “The issues are huge because New Zealand is parked right next to Australia, which has an older population than New Zealand, and is like a vacuum sucking in Kiwi migrants. “Also Europe’s population has stopped growing, and that region is highly interested in our skilled young people. And we can’t necessarily count on filling the gap with skilled migrants given the fierce international competition to attract these people. Related to that is the whole issue of getting more women into the workforce. We’ve made a good start in New Zealand, but there so much more we’ve got to do.” As part of the University of Waikato's strategic investment in research capacity building, the next two years will see the Centre for Population Studies work toward the goal of becoming a National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA); it's Prof Jackson's job to carry this initiative forward. Originally from Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty, Prof Jackson did her first degree and Masters at Waikato before joining the exodus to Australia where she earned her PhD in demography at the Australian National University.

 

PROFESSOR NAMED WORLD CLASS NEW ZEALANDER

Waikato University’s Professor Ian Witten, the man responsible for making New Zealand an international leader in the provision of digital library software, has won the 2010 World Class New Zealand Research, Science, Technology and Academia Award, sponsored by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. Prof Witten, who heads the NZ Digital Library Research Group in the Department of Computer Science, joins an elite group of just 120 New Zealanders deemed to be key influencers and leaders in their field of expertise. The university’s open source Greenstone digital library software is currently used in more than 60 countries and by UNESCO for tasks ranging from collating information on disaster relief operations to development work. The 2010 World Class New Zealand Manufacturing Award went to Bill Gallagher, Chair and Chief Executive of Gallagher Group and recipient of a University of Waikato Honorary Doctorate. The World Class New Zealand awards are an initiative of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Kea New Zealand. They have been awarded annually since 2003 to individuals who make a significant contribution to New Zealand’s success in the world. Eight awards have been made this year; the supreme award winner will be announced in March.

 

PLAYING A SMART GAME

At top level we expect sport to be run like a business, but knock off the top tier and most sports organisations are run as “not-for-loss” organisations - run for their players and members’ enjoyment - and any surplus is usually channelled into maintenance or enhancement of club rooms or grounds. Sometimes survival is a struggle - many organisations don’t always have the right staff or finances to run profitable operations. Two Waikato University academics, Associate Professors Ron Garland and Roger Brooksbank from Waikato Management School’s Marketing Department, and Wayne Werder, CEO at Sport Bay of Plenty, surveyed golf clubs in New Zealand and Australia to find out whether they used strategic marketing as part of their long term strategy and whether it contributed to profitability and operational effectiveness. In short, the answer is yes, but the researchers say most golf clubs have got a long way to go to develop comprehensive marketing strategies. Of the 307 responses, only one in five or 19 per cent placed much importance on situation analysis in their planning, but 43 per cent of the higher performing clubs reported such an emphasis. They followed the key stages in the strategic marketing process – strategic situation analysis, developed marketing objectives and marketing strategies, organisational activities and implemented strategic control. The researchers conclude by saying that provided golf clubs have a reasonably sound financial position, developing better strategic marketing practices will go a long way to maintaining or improving better financial performance.

 

TRIGGER HAPPY

Waikato University science student and Hillary Scholar Myles Browne-Cole is the first outsider to win the Australian National ISSF Trap shooting title. He recently returned from the Australian national championships in Brisbane having beaten 139 others, mostly Australians, for the gold medal in the men’s trap event. The 21-year-old held off shooters from Australia, New Zealand Scotland, England, Isle of Mann, Canada and Fiji, including the double Olympic gold medallist Michael Diamond. Browne-Cole has already qualified for the Commonwealth Games being held in New Delhi in October and is the top qualifier for the team to represent New Zealand at the world ISSF championships in Germany in July. For the past four years Browne-Cole has been studying for a Bachelor of Science (Technology) degree at Waikato majoring in earth science. He picked up a Hillary Scholarship at the start of his second year at Waikato. He’s presently completing the practical part of his degree which has meant a move to Palmerston North to work at AgResearch’s Grasslands division and a lot of commuting to compete in shooting events further up the island.

 

MĀORI PUPPETRY REVIVIAL

Māori puppetry, or karetao, is experiencing a revival and a wananga to discuss it is being held at the University of Waikato next week. Professor Aroha Yates-Smith from the School of Māori and Pacific Development is bringing together several Māori cultural experts to talk about aspects of its resurgence and to provide ideas for laying down tikanga or guidelines for the revival process. Karetao are ceremonial marionettes with the body, legs and head usually carved from a single piece of wood. The arms and legs are operated by tightening and releasing attached cords. The project and wananga are being funded by Manu Ao, the national inter-university Māori Academy for Academic and Professional Development.

 

TEACHERS TEACHING TEACHERS

Three Waikato Management School lecturers who’ve won national teaching excellence awards are taking part in a teaching development workshop at Rotorua’s Waiariki Polytechnic on February 18. Professor Delwyn Clark, Associate Professor Michele Akoorie and Dr Steven Lim have all won NZ Tertiary Teaching Excellence awards and are members of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Ako Aotearoa Academy that has organised the workshop as part of a series of sector-wise initiatives to promote tertiary teaching excellence in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty region. Professor Clark and Dr Lim are keynote speakers, along with Sam Honey from Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. Subjects covered will include how to make theory interesting, how to work effectively with large classes, applying learning in a practical way and encouraging belief in success despite barriers to learning.

 

RECOGNITION FOR RESEARCH INTO PACIFIC TOURISM ENTERPRISE

A University of Waikato tourism lecturer has won an outstanding doctoral research award at a forum of top publishers and academics, sponsored by the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. Dr Jenny Cave’s doctorate looked at the development of Pacific tourism enterprise in South Auckland, and is the outcome of a five-year collaboration with the Waitakere Pacific Board and Pacific communities. One of four doctoral finalists in the hospitality and tourism sector of the Emerald Awards, Dr Cave was highly commended by a panel of judges. They noted that her research advanced thinking in the field. The Emerald Awards are sponsored by The European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) and Emerald Group Publishing, a UK-based publisher of academic journals in the field of management and business. “It’s very humbling to have my work recognised internationally,” says Dr Cave. “More importantly, this award acknowledges the accomplishments and drive of the Pacific communities to achieve economic and social equity.” Dr Cave received her award at a ceremony held in Washington DC.

 

HOT AND DUSTY TOPIC FOR SCIENCE CAFEs

The first Cafe Scientifiques for Hamilton and Tauranga 2010 take place this week and next and look at one of the most destructive volcanic phenomena. Waikato University volcanologist Dr Adrian Pittari will lead the discussion on pyroclastic flows which are hot, dense ash clouds that sweep across the landscape at tremendous speeds. Most that have been witnessed by humans have been small or moderate in size, but he says catastrophic pyroclastic flows have ravaged the landscape in prehistoric times. New Zealand has not been immune. He will discuss how pyroclastic flows form, move and devastate the landscape, with insights from expeditions to the Canary Islands, Italy and our own backyard, the central North Island. The Hamilton Cafe kicks off at 7.30pm at The Bank, corner of Victoria and Hood Streets, Hamilton, on Tuesday February 16, and the Tauranga Cafe takes place on Monday February 22 at 7.30pm at Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. Cafe Scientifique is a place where for the price of a coffee or glass of wine, people can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. They are supported by Waikato University’s School of Science and Engineering to raise public awareness of science.

 

AWARD FOR LECTURER’S THESIS

Sport and Leisure Studies lecturer Dr Holly Thorpe has been awarded a prestigious ANZALS Thesis of the Year award at the organisation’s recent biennial conference in Brisbane. The Australia & New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies (ANZALS) is a forum for Australian and New Zealand academics, researchers and professionals with an interest in leisure. Dr Thorpe’s PhD was a theoretical investigation of female physical youth culture.

 

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