Media Advisories February 8, 2010

WAIKATO WELCOMES INTERCOAST PARTICIPANTS

The University of Waikato this week welcomes the participants in the Intercoast project. A powhiri is being held at the university’s marae on February 9, followed by a welcome at Whareroa Marae in the Bay of Plenty on Wednesday February 10. The interdisciplinary project is collaboration between the University of Waikato and the University of Bremen in Germany. Intercoast (Integrated Coastal Zone and Shelf-Sea Research) will see international PhD and post-doctoral students tackle the challenges associated coastal and shelf-sea areas subject to significant global changes. Over nine years, about 39 international students are expected to work on projects benefiting both the Bay of Plenty coastline and the North Sea. They will consider a variety of aspects including legal, socio-economic and environmental factors in their research. Co-operation between the two universities is already well-established, including exchange of researchers and graduate students and the joint Master of Science programme in marine geosciences. The Hamilton campus powhiri takes place at 9am on Tuesday February 9, and the Tauranga powhiri takes place at 10am on Wednesday February 10. A function will also be held that night by the German Embassy to welcome the participants.

 

NAMING CEREMONY FOR JOINT UNIVERSITY-POLYTECHNIC BUILDING

A new building to be unveiled this week at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic marks another stage in the partnership with the University of Waikato. The $4.6 million partnership Maharaia building, which has been partially funded by the Tertiary Education Commission, will be formally opened by the Maori King, King Tuheitia. University of Waikato representatives, including Chancellor Jim Bolger, will speak at the opening. The building was named after educator and community leader Dr Maharaia Winiata who was the first Maori to gain an overseas PhD. King Tuheitia’s brother, Maharaia Paki, who is also a University of Waikato Council member, is named after Dr Winiata. The building was designed by architects Chow Hill and contains office space and conference rooms. The opening takes place at 10am on Thursday February 11.

 

BRAIN INJURY STUDY TO FOCUS ON WAIKATO

A new survey aims to find out whyMaori and Pacific people have a higher rate of traumatic brain injury at a significantly younger age and with more severe outcomes than the rest of the population. The Waikato-wide survey of head injuries aims to collect information on how and why brain injuries occur, and what the best treatment options are. Up to 95% of all TBIs are mild or moderate (concussion) affecting about 24,000 New Zealanders each year, but there’s very little information available on the social and healthcare implications of TBI for sufferers and their families. The study, funded by the Health Research Council, is being conducted by researchers at the University of Waikato and AUT, aims to record and assess every person who has suffered a brain injury in the Hamilton and Waikato district in the 12 months beginning from March this year. The Waikato region was chosen because its population is most representative of New Zealand as a whole. “We want to include every single person with a new head injury,” says researcher Dr Nicola Starkey of the University of Waikato’s Department of Psychology. “We don’t know very much about how people recover from the mild concussion type injuries, and this is the group that probably don’t get the support they need,” she says. “We want to know how an injury to the brain affects daily behaviour such as shopping, caring for a family, maintaining relationships and being able to work. The information we collect will help us plan better for the future, and make sure we’ve got the right rehabilitative and support structures in place.” The study will involve interviewing participants and their families for up to a year after the injury, asking about treatment people received and how easy or difficult it was to get help and information. It will also look at the social and treatment costs.

 

FINGERS WALKING ACROSS CAMPUS

The University of Waikato is the first New Zealand university to put everything you need to know at your fingertips – thanks to a new web network that can be accessed through a mobile phone. Launched to coincide with the start of summer school last month, the mobile web environment allows phone users to view a map of buildings on campus, check the university’s news and events calendar, access staff contact details and even locate a vacant computer work station on campus. “It just takes a couple of clicks to access information for visitors, students and staff,” says Dr Steve Leichtweis, who is IT manager in the School of Education and the driving force behind the project. “Using your phone, you can access the university’s online phonebook to find a staff member, click through to phone or email that person, and then view a campus map to see where their office is. What we’ve done is link in to an open source mobile framework made available by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States. There are a handful of universities currently using the MIT system in the US, UK and Australia, but we’re the first in New Zealand to adopt this framework.” The system works on any phone with a simple web browser and internet capability. The next step is to add in further functionality – Dr Leichtweis hopes to incorporate the full university lecture timetable, more library information and information about the Tauranga campus in time for the start of A Semester in March. For a preview of the system, visit http://m.waikato.ac.nz/

 

UNI PROUDLY SUPPORTS HAMILTON GARDENS ARTS FESTIVAL

Waikato University is supporting the 2010 Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival taking place February 19–March 4. Waikato University staff, students and graduates will be performing in a variety of shows throughout the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival which include Baroque Banquet, the Juiciest Moments of Opera and Dancing Through Paradise. The university supports community projects that make a positive difference to the Waikato region. “The Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival is an iconic Hamilton event and being a part of it is a great opportunity for the University of Waikato to immerse itself in the local arts and cultural community,” says Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford. For event and ticket information visit http://www.hamiltongardensartsfestival.co.nz/home/

 

SWORD OF HONOUR FOR WAIKATO GRADUATE

University of Waikato graduate Emma Burtenshaw has emerged with flying colours from both her degree studies and her junior naval officer training. Burtenshaw, who has a Bachelor of Management Studies with honours degree from Waikato Management School, received the prestigious Ministry of Defence Sword of Honour from the Minister of Defence Wayne Mapp at the conclusion of her naval training in December. The highest honour, the award is made only to an exemplary candidate in recognition of excellence and distinguished performance as a midshipman. She also won the Blanchard Leadership Award, the RNZN Academic Award, the Guard Commander Tankard and the Junior Officer Common Training Cup. Burtenshaw has a few more months of training before she’s assigned to a ship as a Supply Officer.

 

MADNESS IN THE FAMILY

A woman, known to be under psychiatric care, is facing charges relating to a recent murder in Hamilton. When incidents like this happen there are inevitably calls for people with serious mental health issues to be locked up for good but Waikato University historian, Associate Professor Catharine Coleborne, says that’s not always the right or most practical solution. Dr Coleborne has just written a book called Madness in the Family – Insanity and Institutions in the Australasian Colonial World 1860-1914. She says her research has shown that from the time ‘insane asylums’ were built in New Zealand and Australia, patients have been released into the community for short or extended periods. “Even then it wasn’t practical to confine every patient forever, and naturally there were elements of risk associated with letting people go home.” Dr Coleborne received a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden grant to research her book which involved reading hundreds of patient records at National Archives in Auckland, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. “I found patients came and went from their asylums with surprising frequency. It was not a case of locking troublesome family members away and throwing away the key. Quite the opposite, it was very much a revolving door. Some people had seven or eight hospital stays over a decade at a time when medications were almost non-existent. There were restraints, rest therapies, alcohol and other sedatives, and water treatments including shower and plunge baths.” Dr Coleborne’s book is aimed at academics but she says it has broader implications for our own contemporary understandings of the problem of mental breakdown, institutionalisation and the ways that families coped with these, and how they also deployed innovative strategies and came up with solutions for care. Institutions, far from being cruel places, helped to ease some family difficulties.

 

HEY, THAT’S A GOOD IDEA

Detachable shoe heels, solar powered ovens and paint-on house insulation were some of the useful and money-saving ideas put forward by Waikato University Management School students doing a summer school marketing paper. Working in groups of three or four, they crammed a semester’s work into three weeks to come up with a money-saving product and a marketing plan that covered price, packaging, placement and promotion and then had to display their wares for judges. “They had to work hard and fast,” says lecturer Dr Mark Kilgour. “They came up with some great ideas and learnt a lot about the realities of coming up with new products and getting them ready for market.” Student Precious Mbiza comes from Zimbabwe and it was her experience of cooking meals outside that prompted the Solar Boven - a solar powered oven. With team mates John Yulo, Deena Hoyle and Bonnie Taia they took the idea and shaped it for a New Zealand market. Not a barbecue, but a lightweight compact cooker that can be transported to the beach or bush. They added a battery pack for those occasions when the sun doesn’t shine. Another group came up with a product called Thermoskin – a house insulation that can be painted on. “Think how ski gear has developed,” says Marcelo Mieres who’s studying environmental planning. “It used to be big and chunky but has been refined to a thin layer that gives maximum warmth. Using that idea, we thought that rather than installing thick fibreglass or wool insulation you could come up with a gel that covered walls and gaps and enabled the house to retain heat.” Mieres’ team mates were labour studies honours student Linda Meerkerk and law student Michael Wallace. The Thermoskin team won, judged by marketing department lecturers and senior marketing students.

 

NEW SCHOOLS JOIN INNOVATIVE TE KOTAHITANGA PROJECT

Seventeen new schools are joining Te Kotahitanga, a Waikato University project which is funded by the Ministry of Education to address the under-achievement of Maori students in secondary schools. The Government last year announced $11 million of funding over four years to roll out the programme to another 17 schools, taking the number of schools involved to 50 in 2010 in an area from Kaitaia to Gisborne, Napier and Wairoa. A total of 42,000 students across those areas will be involved, including nearly 20,000 Maori students. The programme has run since 2001 and Waikato’s Professor Russell Bishop, the director of the programme and the Professor of Maori Education at the university, says good results are already emerging from the existing schools. Te Kotahitanga (which means unity of purpose) promotes the understanding that Maori students learn better when they have better caring and learning relationships with their teachers. It changes how teachers teach (by getting students more involved) and challenges the belief that students' circumstances limit their achievements at school. It sees the university running professional development for facilitation teams “or change agents” in the schools, supporting them to coach their staff to alter their approach to teaching.

 

NEW YEAR HONOUR FOR WAIKATO ACADEMIC

Distinguished Maori academic Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku was named Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2010 New Year’s honours list. Her MNZM award is for services to Maori culture. “I’m humbled and honoured by the award,” said Professor Te Awekotuku. “I was thinking very much of my mother and grandmother and all the women who nurtured me, and really special mentors like the late Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu, Dr Miria Simpson and Professor Jim Ritchie. In a way the MNZM is theirs too, because without their guidance, wisdom and faith in what I do I would never have got anywhere near where I am now.” Professor Te Awekotuku works in the culture, arts and heritage sectors, and has served on various governance bodies, including Te Papa Tongarewa/Museum of NZ, the NZ Film Archive and Creative NZ. She led two government delegations to the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva and also to cultural events in the Pacific region. Professor Te Awekotuku has published extensively on heritage and social issues, and is co-author of Mau Moko: The World of Maori Tattoo which won the 2008 Montana Lifestyle & Contemporary Culture Award. She is currently co-leading a unique project at the University of Waikato to examine tangihanga and the Maori experience of death, with funding worth $950,000 over three years from the Royal Society of New Zealand, and $250,000 from Nga Pae o te Maramatanga.

 

ACADEMIC ON EDUCATION BOARD OF INTERNATIONAL BODY

Associate Professor Stuart Locke of the University of Waikato's Department of Finance has been named to the 2010 Education Panel of the Financial Planning Standards Board. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, the FPSB is an international non-profit organisation committed to establishing, upholding and promoting worldwide professional standards in financial planning. Its Certified Financial Planner certification has been adopted in 23 countries. Dr Locke says new legislation in New Zealand has tightened controls over many aspects of the financial advisory industry. “As the new regime settles, the importance of working closely with international standards will become more advantageous for advisors and their clients.”

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