Media Advisory July 19

TOP ECOLOGIST NAMED NEW DEAN AT WAIKATO

Professor Bruce Clarkson has been named the new Dean of Science and Engineering, replacing Professor Richard Price who retired recently. A passionate advocate for ecological restoration in urban areas has been named the new Dean of Science and Engineering at the University of Waikato. Professor Clarkson is recognised as one of New Zealand’s foremost authorities on ecological restoration, and leads a $300,000 a year government-funded research programme looking at the best methods to restore indigenous biodiversity in cities. Professor Clarkson spent his student days at Waikato before joining the then Department of Science and Industrial Research in 1980 on completion of his PhD in botany. Twelve years later he was posted back to Hamilton with Landcare Research, and in 1999 rejoined the university - this time as a lecturer. More than 20 years on, the University of Waikato has built a solid reputation in the environmental sciences, due in no small part to Professor Clarkson’s work. He has been a driving force behind local gully restoration initiatives and the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park project near Hamilton Zoo among others, and in 2006 he was awarded the Loder Cup, the country’s premier conservation award.

WAIKATO PHD STUDENT OFF TO US ON FULBRIGHT SCHOLARSHIP

Waikato PhD student Paul Ewart heads to the US later this month to spend a year at the University of Texas in Edinburg on a prestigious Fulbright scholarship. Ewart, who has an industry background in engineering, will use his Fulbright-Ministry of Research, Science and Technology Graduate Award to work with Professor Sukyong An, a leading authority on metal injection moulding, as part of his doctoral studies into low-energy processes to create titanium alloys. "I'll also have the opportunity to look at the commercial titanium industry in North America," says Ewart. "There's a big government drive in New Zealand to develop a titanium industry, so there's a lot of interest in the work we're doing here at Waikato in the Titanium Research Group on metal injection moulding using titanium powders." Ewart has also been awarded an additional postgraduate scholarship worth $7,500 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise to support his study trip. Two Fulbright scholars from the US are currently studying at Waikato University. They are Mike Roman, who's completing a doctorate looking at the impact of migration on Kiribati communities in New Zealand, Fiji and the US, and Lauren Long, who is doing PhD study into denitrification walls.

UNDERSTANDING AND UNRAVELLING OPERA

NBR New Zealand Opera and Waikato University’s Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship Programme have entered a partnership that will give Hillary Scholars the opportunity to go ‘inside’ an opera and to work in the variety of specialist areas within it. These may include students from music, dance, graphic design, screen and media, theatre and Māori creative and performing arts. Aidan Lang, General Director at NBR NZ Opera, says the students will have the opportunity to ‘shadow’ company members. “At first we thought about just having singers involved, but we have our own emerging artist programmes and we saw the potential to involve a wider range of students. What better way to learn than by being involved at rehearsals? Students will see how all the separate facets are drawn together to appear seamless.” Four students will be involved initially - Kararaina Walker who’s completing a Bachelor of Music with honours; flautist Taryn Viggiano; and Theatre Studies students Scot Hall and Dellie Dellow. David Griffiths, composer, singer and senior lecturer with the University’s Music Programme, says the opportunity opens up significant possibilities for students in various disciplines to be immersed at the coal face of opera production. “We’re very grateful to Aidan and NBR New Zealand Opera for making this venture available to our Sir Edmund Hillary Scholars and look forward to a growing partnership that will further the development and advancement of the arts culture in our country and beyond.”

TITANIUM RESEARCH RECEIVES FUNDING BOOST

Ground-breaking research into the consolidation of titanium alloy powders into high value-added products at the University of Waikato has been given a boost in the latest Foundation for Research, Science and Technology investment round.The titanium research programme, led by Professor Deliang Zhang, will receive $1.2 million over two years to improve the processes for consolidating titanium alloy powders in order to enhance the capability and international competitiveness of the New Zealand titanium metal industry sector. “This funding comes on top of our existing funding, and will provide a significant boost to titanium powder me tallurgy research at the University of Waikato. It will support titanium powder consolidation, powder metallurgy and powder coating research here at Waikato and by our subcontractors, and take our research closer to commercialisation. It is quite a sizeable resource given to us by the nation, and it comes with a big responsibility.” The government has invested nearly $8 million in the titanium industry, and earlier this month opened a flagship facility for the Titanium Industry Development Association (TiDA) in Tauranga, aimed at testing new alloy materials and developing a national research and development strategy for titanium. TiDA sprang from the work of Titanox Development Ltd, which was established in 1997 to develop market-ready titanium alloy products based on the work led by Professor Zhang.

SEMINAR SERIES FOCUSES ON EPILEPSY

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder and is characterised by recurring and spontaneous seizures. The University of Waikato Centre for Continuing Education offers a series of lectures to assist people in understanding epilepsy and its causes. Presenter Doreen Marshall, from the Waikato Branch of the Epilepsy Association of NZ Inc, will discuss a range of topics including recognising seizure types, understanding and learning the triggers and management of seizures, and identifying the lifestyle issues around epilepsy. The four-part lecture series takes place once a month beginning Monday July 26. Lectures run 6pm-8.30pm at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus and cost $10 to attend. For more information visit www.conted.waikato.ac.nz

STATISTICS NZ PRIZE FOR IMMIGRATION RESEARCH

Taxi-driving doctors and engineers are thought to be a common phenomenon among recent immigrants, but an award-winning conference paper shows it's too broad a generalisation to conclude that many migrants are overeducated for his or her first job. The research, by Dr Steven Stillman of MOTU and Professor Jacques Poot of the Population Studies Centre at Waikato University, shows that education-occupation mismatch varies considerably, both among immigrants and among native-born New Zealanders. While more than half of recent migrants tend to be overeducated for their jobs, those a long time in the country are on average undereducated. With increasing years in New Zealand, immigrants become more similar to comparable native-born New Zealanders in terms of education-job mismatch. Dr Stillman and Professor Poot's paper "The importance of heterogeneity when examining immigrant education-occupation mismatch: evidence from New Zealand" won the inaugural Statistics New Zealand Prize at the Joint Annual Conference of the NZ Association of Economists and the Law and Economics Association of NZ in Auckland earlier this month. The judges praised the research for its innovative approach.

ACCOLADE FOR SPORT AND LEISURE STUDIES PROFESSOR
Waikato Faculty of Education’s Sport and Leisure Studies Professor Bevan Grant has been awarded a prestigious medal for his outstanding contribution to physical education. The Sir Alexander Gillies Medal is New Zealand’s highest national accolade awarded by Physical Education New Zealand (PENZ) to physical education educators. There have only been nine recipients of this medal since the award’s inception in 1969. Sir Alexander Gillies was the Patron of Physical Education New Zealand (PENZ) from 1936 until his death in 1982. Sir Alexander was both a supporter and an advocate of physical education as well as being a distinguished orthopaedic surgeon. The award is presented to individuals on an occasional basis for their outstanding services of national significance to physical education. PENZ promotes and develops physical education within New Zealand for teachers and students. The organisation also supports educators and others within the sector by providing opportunities for people to develop knowledge and understanding about all aspects of physical education.

EFFECT OF UV RADIATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE DISCUSSED AT CAFÉ

Ozone depletion, increases in ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the interactions of climate change factors are posing many unknowns for life on Earth. Professor Janet Bornman, Director of the International Global Change Centre, will address these unknowns at the next Café Scientifique. Drawing on more than 30 years experience on the impact of ultraviolet radiation on plants, Professor Bornman will lead discussions on the current responses to our changing environment, as well as the negative, useful and modifying effects of an increased UV radiation against a background of interacting climate change factors. This café session takes place on Tuesday July 20, 7.30pm, at The Bank, Victoria Street, Hamilton, and Monday July 26 at 7.30pm at Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. 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.

UNIVERSITY SUPPORTS A SPARK

Waikato University is once again supporting the Spark International Festival of Media and Design, taking place August 9-13. The festival aims to encourage the exchange of ideas between students and media experts and this year will see a series of presentations and workshops given by practitioners from a variety of media and artistic fields. Guest speakers brought in by Waikato University include Rastko Ciric, a professor of illustration from the University of Arts in Belgrade, and Thomas Robins and David Stubbs from Wellington production house KHF Media. The Spark International Festival of Media and Design is free and open to the public and takes place on August 9-13. Workshops and seminars are held at Wintec’s Hamilton city campus. For more information visit www.spark.net.nz

SEMINARS PLANNED FOR MĀORI LANGUAGE WEEK

Waikato University has planned seminars as part of the celebrations for Māori Language Week, which this year kicks off on Monday July 26. The seminars, He Wahine, He Waiata, will take an in-depth look at waiata-ā-ringa (Māori action songs) by Māori female composers Ngoi Pēwhairangi, Tuini Ngāwai and Kohine Ponika. The free public seminars will examine the meaning of a waiata-ā-ringa and its composer, and will also be accompanied by a performance. Seminars run 9.30am-12.30pm on Monday July 26 and are held at Waikato University’s WEL Academy of Performing Arts. Māori language week has been celebrated for more than 30 years and this year runs from July  26-30.

POETS ALIVE AT WAIKATO

The University of Waikato Centre for Continuing Education is bringing together poetry enthusiasts. Poets Alive is an opportunity for aspiring poets to share their writings, which are often themed around a chosen topic. Participants are able to give and receive feedback in a friendly and supportive environment, and to explore different types of poetry forms. Poets Alive runs 7pm-9.30pm on Friday July 30 and is held at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus. For more information visit www.conted.waikato.ac.nz

SPOTLIGHT ON DECLARATION OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

In 2010 the New Zealand Government decided to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration recognises the rights of indigenous people to self-determination, to maintain their own languages and cultures, to protect their natural and cultural heritage and manage their own affairs. Waikato University’s Te Piringa – Faculty of Law presents a seminar which will address what the Declaration means for New Zealand and for indigenous peoples generally. Discussion topics include allocation sharing and the contribution of Māori to the early drafting of the Declaration, including the articles Māori had most input into, the issues Māori raised and the people who contributed. This free public seminar takes place on Wednesday July 21 at 6pm and is held at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus, room S.1.05. For more information visit www.waikato.ac.nz/law

NZ BIO TEAM BRINGS HOME MEDALS

The four members of the NZ Bio team have brought home bronze and silver medals from the International Biology Olympiad competition held in Korea. Geoffrey Hoggins (King’s College) and Yuanye Xu (Westlake Boys’ High School) won silver medals while Jack Zhou (Auckland International College) and Susan Sun (Burnside High) won bronzes. Waikato University senior biology lecturer Dr Alison Campbell was again involved in the training camp and selection of the New Zealand International Biology Olympiad team. The International Biology Olympiad brings together top secondary school biology students from about 60 countries around the world to challenge them and encourage careers in science. The contest consists of an intense round of practical assessments and theory examinations. Last year New Zealand picked up silver and two bronze medals at the competition.

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