Media Advisory May 24


Waikato University’s Research Professor of Coastal Environmental Science, Professor Terry Healy, is being honoured by the cream of the coastal management industry with a life membership of the NZ Coastal Society at a dinner on May 30. Widely regarded as New Zealand’s pre-eminent coastal scientist, Professor Healy is only the third person – and the first scientist - to be awarded life membership of the Society, which is a technical group of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand and represents a wide range of coastal science, engineering, management and planning disciplines. NZ Coastal Society Chair David Phizacklea said, “The life membership award acknowledges Professor Healy’s substantial contribution to our understanding of New Zealand’s coast over the last 40 years. Professor Healy was one of the first members of the New Zealand Coastal Society and assisted the professional careers of a number of its current 350 members who have attended Waikato University.” Professor Healy has spent a lifetime researching coastal erosion, sedimentation and hazard management, including tsunami, and applying his environmental expertise to port and marina developments around New Zealand, from planning and development, to management and monitoring of issues such as dredging and spoil disposal.


Ten Waikato University students are undertaking graduate or postgraduate research on Waikato community issues thanks to grants from Trust Waikato. A function to celebrate their achievements is being hosted by the University on May 31. The Trust Waikato Student Community Grants were established in 2001 when Trust Waikato realised that a large amount of research on community groups was being undertaken by students as part of their course-work. By providing funding for these students, Trust Waikato assists them in providing helpful resources for the community groups involved. The awards are open for applications three times a year by students undertaking graduate or postgraduate research involving the community or voluntary sector in the Waikato region. Preference is given to projects that will enhance understanding of, or work within, the sector, and research that has the potential to improve the lives of the people of the Waikato community.


There aren’t many University of Waikato students who’ve been up close and personal with a tiger, but Toby FitzPatrick has done that and more during a year-long placement at Hamilton Zoo as part of his Bachelor of Science (Technology) degree. As part of the placement, FitzPatrick spent several weeks observing and recording the pacing behaviour of the zoo’s male Sumatran tiger Jaka for an animal behaviour project. The project, aimed at finding the cause of Jaka’s constant pacing, found that Jaka was a slave to routine, pacing when he anticipated interactions with his keeper such as feeding times or being moved to another enclosure. The solution is to try and mix things up a bit so Jaka’s day is not such a set routine, says FitzPatrick. He’s now hoping he can build on his experience and land a real zoo keeper’s job. “The hardest part is getting some experience, but thanks to the placement I’ve now got my foot in the door.” The BSc (Tech) degree includes two compulsory work placements, and FitzPatrick was one of two biology students selected for the zoo placement.


Waikato University Earth Scientist Associate Professor Louis Schipper has developed the concept of denitrification; removing nitrate from shallow groundwater, and will discuss this at the next Café Scientifique. Denitrification has the possibility to reduce the effects of high nitrate levels, which contribute to accelerated algal growth and habitat loss in lakes and rivers and Dr Schipper’s work has led to the development of denitrification beds for treating a range of effluent streams. When sized appropriately, denitrification beds and walls can achieve 100% removal of nitrate without active maintenance, something no other simple technology has achieved. This café session takes place on Tuesday June 1, 7.30pm, at The Bank, Victoria Street, Hamilton. Café 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. Sessions aim to raise public awareness of science and are supported by Waikato University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering.


Maximising the use of mobile phones as a teaching resource will be the central focus for a conference the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Education hosts on July 7. The mLearning Day will look at ways to harness mobile phones for learning, focussing specifically on how subject content can be downloaded as an alternative tool in instances where computer access is limited or unavailable. It is currently being trialled at Auckland’s Howick College. Dr Noeline Wright has organised the mLearning Day as part of wider research she is undertaking on aspects of e-learning. Presenters at the university’s mLearning Day include Waikato alumnus Nathan Kerr and Robert Douglas (both at Howick College) who are working with Dr Wright on a Ministry of Education-funded project examining the value of integrating mobile phones with learning in a variety of subject contexts.


Inventing a new game or toy that no one’s thought of before is no easy task, as 79 teams discovered as they prepared for the A semester marketing trade show held at Waikato University Management School on Friday. Each team had to come up with an idea, do some market testing, make a prototype if possible, design packaging, decide on pricing and formulate a marketing strategy. The best overall team in second year marketing created Grow Up - a board game where the parents try to get their teenage or grown up children to leave home. Futures are determined by the role of a dice and a scenario on a card. “The counters you play with are the parents and the kids are represented by pegs that are stuck into the bent over backs of their parents - a metaphor for the heavy load parents have to bear,” says the Grow Up team’s only male Robbie Morrison. The three others in the team were Brigid McLeod, Ashleigh Farrier and Amber Cardale. “We liked the idea of parents sitting around playing a game and having a laugh,” says Ashleigh Farrier, “but at the same time it’s a game children can play in a relaxed and even comical environment where they can discuss what can be some serious real-life situations.” The best overall team in first year marketing created Study Ease – an online multi-choice study quiz, in which students can answer questions based around their NCEA school subjects, as a new way of studying. Points are accumulated over time, and an overall ranking system will be shown on the group’s website, where students can see how they are ranked against others in the system.


The University of Waikato has for the first time hosted the annual McLeod Thropy North Island novice debating tournament. The tournament, held May 14-16, has been referred to as Thropy ever since 2002 when an engraver misspelled the word trophy. The University of Waikato Debating Society was a new competitor in the tournament, which saw 32 teams from the North Island compete in four rounds of limited preparation debating. The final was between two Auckland University teams, with the affirmative team successfully defending the moot ‘this house believes in the right of indigenous peoples to self government’ to come out as the victors of Thropy 2010.

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