Media Advisory July 26


An innovative idea for iwi to turn waterweed into energy has won funding from the Foundation for Science, Research and Technology worth $107,500 over three years. University of Waikato PhD student Shane Carter has been awarded a prestigious Te Tipu Pūtaiao Fellowship to fund his research aimed at developing sustainable technology to anaerobically digest waterweed and utilise the energy created during the process. “It’s about turning waste into a usable resource in a way that’s cost-neutral or even profitable,” says Carter, who’s also a consultant in waste and energy management and efficiency. “Waterweed is a major problem in many waterways, and weed control is a costly exercise. So instead of planting biofuels, why not harvest the waterweed and put it through a methane digester to create a sustainable energy source for marae, kōhanga reo and kaumātua housing?” Carter has been working with a US company on ways to harvest and process waterweed, and is confident he can overcome any technical problems with the anaerobic digestion process. “It’s simply a matter of putting the waterweed together with bacteria in the right way and turning it into a methane gas that you can burn. The remaining sludge can also be used as a fertiliser on the land.” He’s currently consulting with Te Arawa and Waikato tribes to see how weed harvesting might work in with their waterways management plans in the Waikato River and Rotorua Lakes catchments.


The University of Waikato and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic are co-hosting the next Tauranga Chamber of Commerce Business After 5 event next week. Dr Alan Hampton, CEO Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, and Professor Roy Crawford, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waikato, will talk about how both institutions are working together to improve regional productivity and economic performance in Tauranga, and what they can offer the business community in order to tackle the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. The event will be held at 5pm, Wednesday August 4, 5th floor of the Bongard Centre in Cameron Rd, Tauranga.


Waikato University’s annual Super 10 Kapa Haka Competition takes place next week. The Super 10 Kapa Haka Competition will put students’ skills to the test as teams of 10 performers have only 10 minutes to impress the audience and compete for the $1000 prize. Teams must perform a contemporary kapa haka bracket containing a waiata-ā-ringa, haka and poi, and must be performed totally in Te Reo Māori. Teams will be judged on the originality and execution of their performance. The Super 10 Kapa Haka Competition takes place 6-9pm on Friday August 6 and is held at the university’s WEL Academy of Performing Arts. For more information on this event visit


School students, parents and anyone contemplating study at the University of Waikato next year are invited to attend information evenings next month in both Rotorua and Whakatane. Staff will give details about the different programmes available, as well as providing information on entrance requirements, scholarships, accommodation and university life. Attendees can drop in at any time to speak with staff as there will be no formal presentation time.

Whakatane Information Evening: Tuesday August 3, 3.30-6.30pm, Tuscany Villas Motor Inn, 57 The Strand, Whakatane; Rotorua Information Evening, Thursday August 5, 4-6pm, Millennium Hotel, 1270 Hinemaru Street, Rotorua.


University of Waikato geoscientist Professor David Lowe will be guiding avid soil scientists through New Zealand’s unique terrain this week. Professor Lowe, together with representatives from Massey University, will lead more than 20 soil scientists from Belgium, Canada, China, Finland, France and the US on a four-day ‘Volcanoes to Oceans’ field trip through the central North Island. The field trip, which will cover a range of topics, including New Zealand’s volcanic-ash derived soils and new directions in soil research, is part of the lead up to the 19th World Soils Congress, to be held in Brisbane next week. The congress, held every four years, will see 1200 people from around the world take part in the five-day event, which provides participants with the opportunity to share their research, experiences and knowledge. Waikato University staff attending the congress include Professor David Lowe and Dr Megan Balks, and students Glen Trewick, Riki Lewis and Djuro Paropovitch, who will each be presenting research papers at the congress.


In the early 1990s it became apparent that hormone-related effects explained some of the strange phenomena being observed in both wildlife, such as the decreased length of alligators’ penises, and humans, such asdecreased sperm counts. The hormones concerned were not natural, but instead were oestrogen mimic pollutants and food components. These environmental oestrogens, AKA the ultimate biochemical feminists, will be discussed at the next Hamilton Café Scientifique by Professor Ian Shaw from the University of Canterbury, looking into questions such as how do these pollutants switch on the oestrogen receptor and result in biochemical feminisation? What does this mean for fertility in New Zealand and elsewhere? This café session takes place on Tuesday August 17, 7.30pm, at The Bank, Victoria St, 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.


A new documentary about life in the western half of New Guinea will screen in Tauranga next week. The University of Waikato’s Centre for Continuing Education in Tauranga is screening The Land of the Morning Star, whichprovides a stunning insight into this extraordinary country, where snow-capped mountains drain into massive rivers, and 250 languages are spoken. Yet despite the country’s wild beauty and rich culture, it remains strangely forgotten. This documentary reveals the turbulent history of a troubled country, swept up in the power play of international politics. Internationally recognised human rights campaigner Maire Leadbeater of the Indonesian Human Rights Committee (NZ), will introduce the film. Question-time follows the 55-minute screening, which will take place at 6.30pm, Wednesday August 4, Room 106, Bongard Centre, Cameron Rd, Tauranga. Gold coin at the door.


University of Waikato Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Doug Sutton will visit Tauranga next week to speak at the Careers of the Future presentation as part of Western Bay @ Work Month. Aimed at students and their parents, the event is an opportunity to hear from experts within the fields of science, technology and innovation about why gaining skills and knowledge in these areas will be crucial for young people and for this country's future success. As one of New Zealand’s major research organisations, the University of Waikato is playing a key role in the local economy and is making a significant contribution to national innovation. Professor Sutton will speak about some key projects in which the university is engaged locally. Earlier in the day, he will speak at Priority One’s Young Professional’s Forum. Careers of the Future is on Monday August 2, 6.30-8.30pm, Mills Reef, Moffat Rd, Tauranga.


Waikato University’s Centre for Continuing Education is giving people the opportunity to learn about the extensive and diverse genealogical and family history resources available online. Genealogical Research Online is a four-week course that is designed to stimulate both novice and experienced family history enthusiasts to trace relatives and their family history using a range of free and subscription/pay-to-view websites. Each session will provide an introduction to specific family history research areas and will be presented by genealogy and family history researcher Dr David Swain and Waikato University senior lecturer Dr Jo Barnes. This course is held on Thursday evenings from 7pm-9pm beginning July 29 and is held at the main University of Waikato campus, room R.G.12. For more information visit


Businesses in the Bay of Plenty that need an idea developed or a business opportunity investigated can take on senior Waikato University engineering or science students to work for up to 450 hours. Each year the government funded TechNZ pays for as many as 30 Waikato students to work on projects across various disciplines. For the students, it gives them solid work experience and the employer has an opportunity to develop an aspect of their business. TechNZ and Waikato University have organised information evenings in Tauranga and Rotorua so employers can find out more about the TechNZ Undergraduate Internship Scheme. “This is a win-win situation,” says Levinia Paku from the University’s Co-operative Education Unit. “Businesses get an extra person and a large chunk of time to advance what may just be an idea, or to refine a product. TechNZ picks up the tab for the student’s hourly rate, with the company supervising the project and paying for any other costs. Under the scheme in previous years, we’ve had students who have worked at Industrial Technical Solutions on design and fabrication of products for the agricultural sector and Devan Plastics in Tauranga employed a student to investigate a renewable energy powered waste water treatment system.” The information evenings are being held on Tuesday July 27 at Bay of Plenty Polytech’s Windermere campus and Tuesday August 3 at Scion Research in Rotorua.

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