Media Advisory April 19



An international advocate for human rights and a freshwater scientist are the latest recipients of honorary doctorates from the University of Waikato. The recipients are Professor Margaret Bedggood QSO and long-serving NIWA scientist Max Gibbs. A respected academic and former Dean of Waikato University’s Faculty of Law, Professor Bedggood served as head of the NZ Human Rights Commission between 1989 and 1994 and oversaw the passage of the Human Rights Act, widely regarded as a landmark piece of legislation which has been of enormous importance to New Zealand’s constitutional democracy. Mr Gibbs, a freshwater and coastal scientist has spent nearly 50 years studying New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and coastlines. He devised new and better techniques for iron measurement and water sampling and consults internationally on stable isotope techniques and analysis. Mr Gibbs receives his doctorate on May 3 and Professor Bedggood on May 6.



There is no doubt that the Waikato River has changed considerably since the first waka arrived. How have the multiple pressures associated with human colonisation affected freshwater life in this iconic waterway? Is it still a "river of life" and what can be done to make it better? In conjunction with the university’s Kīngitanga day, a special Café Scientifique will explore issues concerning the Waikato River. Kīngitanga Day is an annual event that recognises the University’s unique and distinctive connection with Tainui and the Kīngitanga. The event will see a range of activities planned across all academic Schools, Faculties and Divisions of the University. Activities include seminars, panel discussions, live kapa haka performances, and the Waikato Student Union Kīngitanga Royal Carnival. Celebrations for Kīngitanga Day are held at the University of Waikato campus and take place from 9am-3pm on Wednesday April 21, with all activities free and open to the public. For programme information visit



A business analysis of an Auckland-based drinks company that uses “good plastic” for its bottled water has won second place in a prestigious international competition. The prizewinning analysis of Good Water, by Dr Steve Bowden and Dr Eva Collins of the University of Waikato Management School, and Dr Kate Kearins and Dr Helen Tregidga of Auckland University of Technology, focussed on how this small ecopreneurial business went about putting sustainability into action. Good Water uses PLA plastic bottles that are completely biodegradable, and has plans to create a total biomass loop using local materials for the bottles and then recycle them into forestry seedling pottles to grow trees for future biomass to close the loop and continue the process. It’s the fourth time the case-writing team has reached the finals of the Switzerland-based Oikos-Ashoka Case Writing Competitions, beating more than 30 other cases submitted from Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. The competitions aim to promote the development of new, high-quality case studies of real-world businesses working in the field of corporate sustainability and social entrepreneurship.



Efforts to identify and track down the final member of the Class of 1960for the University of Waikato School of Education’s 50th anniversary celebrations later this year have paid off. Trevor Brown, who now lives in Auckland, has confirmed he was part of the first-ever intake of 173 trainee teachers to the University of Waikato’s School of Education – then known as the Hamilton Teachers’ College Department of Education. The University put out a media appeal for information about the mystery man, but Brown was finally tracked down thanks to some intrepid detective work by Terry Stowers, who cross-matched data from the old College records and the electoral roll. Brown, who’s originally from Te Kuiti, enrolled at Hamilton Teachers’ College for the 1960 intake but had to defer his second year until 1962 as a result of an accident on the family farm involving a portable milling saw. But Stowers’ task is still not over. There are still another 22 people to be named in the 1961 class intake photo, and a number of others for whom he has names but no contact details. Stowers, who is part of the 1960 intake, has set himself the task of naming everyone in the class photos from 1960, 1961 and 1962. He’s urging anyone who enrolled at Waikato for teacher training while the Teachers’ College was still based in Melville to contact him as soon as possible. If you or someone you know was part of the student intake at the then Hamilton Teachers’ College in 1960 or 1961, please contact Terry Stowers in New Plymouth at



A University of Waikato seminar series is set to put the spotlight on history. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers the History Programme Seminar Series, which aims to showcase the latest historical research from scholars based in New Zealand and around the world. The seminars will be presented by a variety of leading researchers and will cover a range of topics from Japanese art and New Zealand music to Mennonite religious communities and land-use, and migration. The next seminar, Anabaptist Religious Belief and Social Organisation for Agriculture, takes place at 2pm on Thursday April 22 at the main University of Waikato Hamilton campus, room J.3.26. All seminars are open to the public. For more information visit



Moving to a new country, finding a job and having to communicate in another language can be a scary prospect. Waikato University international student Vera Spratte was awarded a summer research scholarship to find out about skilled migrants' communication experiences in the New Zealand workplace. In collaboration with Dr Prue Holmes from the Management Communication Department and working with the Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust, Spratte interviewed 16 migrant interns from a variety of countries and four employers. Most interns disliked using the phone because they couldn’t see facial expressions and others found emails difficult to interpret. Interns also worried about greetings – whether to shake hands, hug or kiss. And the informal nature of many offices in New Zealand, such as calling managers by their first names, was hard to get used to. Spratte, who’s German and just graduated with a Bachelor of Management Studies (Hons), says some of the interns had better written English than their local co-workers but struggled with the spoken word, especially the small talk and socialising that occurs in New Zealand workplaces.



The University of Waikato in Tauranga is offering a series of art seminars, set to take place next week. Art After Dark: Aspects of New Zealand Art History is a four-part seminar series presented by art historian Penelope Jackson. Seminars will examine the tradition of landscape art in New Zealand; the training and education of New Zealand artists; New Zealand art on the global market; and the recent art history of Tauranga. Seminars run 7-9pm on Wednesdays beginning April 28 and take place at the Tauranga Art Gallery, corner of Wharf and Willow Streets. For more information visit



Ongoing improvements in information and communication technologies, changes in business models, flexible working hours, restructuring and redundancies have seen home-based businesses flourish. It’s estimated that there are nearly 177,000 micro businesses operating in New Zealand. Professor Delwyn Clark at Waikato University Management School and Heather Douglas from Home Business New Zealand Ltd surveyed 522 of them. More than half had one full-time employee, most businesses were less than ten years old, while 73 had been operating for 15 years or longer. The owners spent an average of 32 hours a week on their business. Incomes varied from less than $25,000 to in excess of $500,000. Prof Clark says what surprised her most was the sector’s aspirations for growth - 92.5%, want to grow, and weren’t complacent as prior SME research has suggested. She says that’s important for the productivity task force to know as it struggles to come up with ideas on how to improve the national economy. She says further research and analysis is needed to find out how the sector wants to grow, what its priorities are, what external influences might hinder or promote growth and what’s needed to support expansion. A survey summary is available.



The University of Waikato in Tauranga offers a course on Apserger’s Syndrome next week. Understanding Asperger’s Syndrome is a one day course which aims to raise awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome. The course is ideal for parents of children with Asperger’s, people who work with children, and for those who want to understand more about the disorder. This course runs from 8.45am-5pm on Saturday May 1 and takes place at the University of Waikato Tauranga campus, 144 Durham Street. For more information visit



Everyone’s heard of the ‘Best Job In The World’ viral marketing campaign by Tourism Queensland, which last year put out a worldwide call for applicants to spend six months as ‘caretaker’ on pristine Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef. The competition attracted 34,000 applicants from more than 200 countries, and it’s estimated it generated US$200m of global publicity. “It shows the power of these new forms of communication to get people interested in visiting a place,” says University of Waikato tourism researcher Hamish Jenkin. Jenkin has been awarded a $15,000 tourism research scholarship for his Masters project looking at the impact of social networking mediums on the decision-making process of tourists. The scholarship is one of five government-funded awards designed to build research capacity in tourism, increase research applicable to the industry, increase the profile of tourism research, and create stronger links between researchers, industry and the public sector. His research will focus on backpacker transport in New Zealand, in particular Stray backpacker buses and Spaceship New Zealand’s campervan rentals. He’s currently conducting a survey of customers who book online with these companies, and he’s also monitoring customer feedback on the company websites, Facebook and Twitter.



Some feminist philosophers believe that women’s ongoing struggle with body image can be blamed on ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle who proclaimed that women did not have a soul. Waikato University doctoral student Jane Cook is studying the denial of soul and is one of 15 people world-wide selected to present her work at an international seminar in Ireland later this year. The seminar is run annually by Belgian-born feminist philosopher, linguist, psychoanalyst and cultural theorist Luce Irigaray, and to be selected for the seminar Cook had to present the issue and arguments of her PhD research and how she is using the work of Irigaray within it. Cook, who suffered from anorexia for nearly 20 years, says her research focuses on the idea that the ancient Greeks and later St Augustine’s views laid the foundation of a biased and therefore incorrect metaphysics which has caused in all girls a disruption of their normal processes of development. She says as a means of survival, women compulsively and addictively strive to improve, reshape and perfect themselves in order to gain acceptance, approval and conditional love.

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