Media Advisory August 2


How talent develops is the topic of the second University of Waikato Inaugural Professorial Lecture for 2010, to be held on August 17. The free public lectures are the university’s way of formally introducing new and recently appointed professors to the wider community. Professor Roger Moltzen of the Faculty of Education, who’s an expert on gifted and talented education, will discuss critical issues emerging from the research in this relatively new field of inquiry. "The research shows that those identified as gifted as children do not necessarily become outstanding adult achievers. Conversely, not all eminent adults were seen as having the potential they later realised. In fact amongst the gifted adult group one finds many examples of individuals who as children were described as odd or eccentric." Professor Moltzen says the development of talent is very much an individual process and there is no simple no simple recipe for creating a genius. He has spent two decades researching exceptional achievers, including improving education provisions for gifted and talented children and young people. The lecture, “Critical Issues in Talent Development”, takes place at 6.30pm on Tuesday August 17 in the WEL Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts at Waikato University.


Waikato University's tourism qualifications have been given a big tick by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. The Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management, based in Waikato Management School, has received the UNWTO's TedQual certification. TedQual stands for Tourism Education Quality and was achieved after the department submitted a self review then opened itself up for auditing by a member of the UNWTO. "Standards of tourism education are so variable," says Department Chair Dr Asad Mohsin, "and we wanted a guarantee for current and prospective students that the research and teaching we're delivering at Waikato meets a high international standard." The accreditation is for four years.


Waikato University’s Dean of Education Professor Alister Jones has been appointed Managing Director of the Australasian Science Education Research Association Ltd, an organisation striving to promote science education and science education research in all contexts and at all levels of education. This is an elected position and Professor Jones says he accepted the position because it is concerned with building research capability in science education primarily in Australasia but also in Asia and the rest of the world. He thinks science and technology education are two vital areas for enhancing teacher and student knowledge and for creating a central platform for future social and economic growth. 


A former Peace Corps volunteer who turned his 20-month posting to the tiny Pacific Island nation of Kiribati into a 10-year project is spending a year as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Waikato. Mike Roman is researching the lives of migrants from Kiribati as part of his PhD on what happens to the language and culture when they leave their homeland. “People in Kiribati see migration as a way to deal with the economic and ecological realities of this low-lying island nation,” he says. New Zealand is a key destination, and accepts 75 migrants a year under the Pacific Access Category migration scheme as well as more temporary migrants through seasonal employment schemes. Roman says the research is a capstone to 10 years’ work. “I was a migrant to their world, through Peace Corps, and now they are migrants to my world. It’s given me two different perspectives on migration, and made me a better global citizen. And that’s something I try to share with the anthropology students I tutor at Waikato.” Based at the University of Pittsburgh, Roman secured prestigious Fulbright funding for his fieldwork, and chose to come to the University of Waikato because of Hamilton’s relatively large I-Kiribati population.

The Faculty of Education’s Dr Anne Hume has won an Australian award for an article judged as having the greatest potential to contribute to the practice of science teaching. The Australian Science Teachers’ Association recognised Dr Hume as the award’s recipient at its recent annual conference. The paper 'Authentic scientific inquiry and school science' was published in Teaching Science: The Journal of the Australian Science Teachers Association last year. This is a referred science education journal. A panel of Dr Hume’s peers judged her article as the most valuable paper for 2009.


University of Waikato student Oliver Leydon-Davis has been selected to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi later this year. The Bachelor of Management student is part of an eight-player badminton team which will travel to India in October. The 20-year-old began playing competitively when he was 14, and was first selected to play for New Zealand in the 2009 Whyte Trophy series win against Australia. He will compete at the New Zealand championships, before heading to Asia and Tahiti to prepare with the Games team. He joins fellow Hillary Scholar and Waikato University student Myles-Browne Cole who will compete at the Games for the New Zealand shooting team.


A University of Waikato masters student has been selected to attend the 10th World Summit on Counter-Terrorism being held in Israel in September. It’s an event usually reserved for government and security officials, plus experts in the field of counter terrorism. Gray is the first New Zealand student to be selected for the summit. He’s currently studying the evolution and transformation phenomenon of Islamic terrorist groups in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. He says although the threat of a terrorist attack in New Zealand is currently low, we can’t be complacent and need to work closely with all our strategic partners to remove extremist ideology, particularly Islamist ideology which is on the rise. He suggests New Zealand can develop as a template for the rest of the world for how cultural and religious groups can live peacefully together.


The Waikato Branch of the New Zealand Russian Friendship Society celebrates its 25th anniversary at Waikato University next week. Celebrations include an exhibition, which showcases Russian icons, sculpture, crystal and paintings by renowned Russian artists, and a classical music concert. The concert will have performances by Russian musicians who will perform piano, violin and cello compositions from the Golden Age of Russian music. Celebrations take place at Waikato University’s WEL Academy of Performing Arts on Sunday August 15. Tickets for the event can be purchased from Ticketek. For more information visit


Waikato University Mechanical Engineering students Bayleigh Petchell and David Lynch were presented with awards recognising excellence in engineering report writing on Saturday. The awards were presented by the Association for Consulting Engineers NZ at the Innovate NZ Awards of Excellence dinner in New Plymouth. Three awards were given in this category, of which Waikato University students won two. Petchell and Lynch will both receive $1500 for their efforts. Bayleigh Petchell’s report focused on her work placement experience with global company ABB NZ; a leader in power and automation technologies. She worked as a member of the maintenance crew, working on hydro power dams at Karapiro, Atiamuri, Arapuni and Waipapa. David Lynch’s report covered his three month work placement at Cheese Solutions NZ Ltd, a small company that designs fully-automated cheese cutting and packaging lines.


Waikato University’s Victoria McCullough has become the first University of Waikato engineering student to receive a $3000 scholarship from the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Each year, three scholarships are made available to third year (or above) students at Auckland, Massey and Lincoln University. This year the society opened this up to Waikato University students. McCullough, 20, put her application in on the basis of a ‘give it a go’ attitude, and was overwhelmed when she heard the news. “It’s very cool – I didn’t except it at all. There isn’t a lot of engineering opportunities out there so it’s great to get this.” McCullough is in her third year studying towards a Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Materials and Processing. The Society of Petroleum Engineers is a professional association with more than 92,000 members worldwide who dedicate themselves to improving technologies for production in the oil and gas industry.

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