Media Advisory August 9


A teacher of Māori language, tikanga and Māori performing arts and a science enthusiast at the University of Waikato have been recognised for their outstanding teaching practices with national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards. Te Kahautu Maxwell and Dr Alison Campbell were among 11 winners of the annual Ako Aotearoa awards presented at a ceremony in Wellington on August 4. Funded by the Tertiary Education Commission, the awards acknowledge teaching practices that are student-focused and committed to promoting effective learning. It’s the first year a new category of award has been added to recognise the contribution of tertiary teachers in a kaupapa Māori context. The winner of that award, Mr Maxwell, is a senior lecturer at Waikato’s School of Māori and Pacific Development and departmental head of Aka Tikanga. A highly acknowledged orator and kapa haka composer and performer, Mr Maxwell brings real authenticity to the classroom, and is equally at home teaching in English and Te Reo Māori. Dr Campbell is in the Department of Biological Sciences and is known to hundreds of secondary school students as ‘the skull lady’ thanks to her seminars on human evolution in the Waikato Experience of Biology days which she initiated 11 years ago. “One of my biggest thrills is seeing a student’s face light up when something I’ve said strikes a chord with them,” says Dr Campbell, who started her career as a high school biology teacher.


A University of Waikato Centre for Continuing Education arts session looks into screen writing next week. In this session of Demystifying the Arts, Renee Casserly, a community arts adviser at Arts Waikato, speaks with screenwriter Nick Ward about aspects of his works. In 2001, Mr Ward received a New Zealand Film and TV award for best script for the film Stickmen. Also to his credit is the film Second-Hand Wedding and episodes of television series Outrageous Fortune and Burying Brian. Demystifying the Arts is a series of interactive and live discussions which aim to put the audience in touch with experts of the arts. Discussions occur in an informal, friendly and engaging atmosphere. This session takes place on Thursday August 19 at the Waikato Museum and costs $5. For more information visit


The University of Waikato’s Centre for Continuing Education in Tauranga is offering an evening workshop for preparation to sit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. This test is required for immigrants to New Zealand who are non-English speakers, for entry into professions and academic study. The workshop will be held three evenings a week over six weeks and is ideal for those who work or have other commitments during the day. It is aimed at both international participants who have yet to gain residency, and New Zealand residents who are required to sit the test. Costing $100 for NZ residents and $438 for international participants, the course runs 6-8pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings starting August 16. Places are limited. To book phone Karen Tindall on 07 577 5334.


For Christina Strawbridge a masters research collaboration with Dow AgroSciences is the icing on the cake, following a successful work placement during her undergraduate degree at the University of Waikato. Strawbridge completed work placement at Dow AgroSciences in 2009 as part of her Bachelor of Science and Technology degree. She began with routine analyses but quickly moved on to helping research and develop items in the new herbicides laboratory. Dow AgroSciences is a global leader in agricultural herbicides, insecticides, fumigants and fungicides. Waikato’s Bachelor of Science and Technology is a four year programme where students can complete two additional management papers and two work placements. The placements are secured and supported by staff from the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s Cooperative Education Unit, unlike other universities where students find their own placements. Strawbridge’s placement led to the research collaboration for her masters. “Completing my placement with Dow was such an enjoyable experience. The skills I learnt were invaluable and were skills that just can’t be taught or perfected in a classroom environment.”


The University of Waikato’s Centre for Continuing Education in Tauranga is offering a one-day programme to learn about the location and history of various galleries and museums in France, along with some of the celebrated art works that they house. The course includes a French-style buffet lunch. Presenter Emily Hill has worked as a French teacher and has lived and travelled extensively in France. She has a BA with a French major and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching from Wellington College of Education. The course will be held from 10am-4pm, Saturday August 14 at the Tauranga City Campus, 144 Durham St. Cost: $65 which includes lunch. To book phone Karen Tindall 07 577 5334.


A chemistry experiment with an unexpected outcome has yielded a stunning silver fern image which goes on display at a Christchurch exhibition later this month. The image is of a fern-shaped crystalline structure just 30 millionths of a metre long – unlike the real silver fern, which can grow up to four metres long. Waikato University Masters student Sam Pachal and his supervisor Dr Graham Saunders created the image by accident when they were repeating an experiment in the lab to find out if it was possible to make silver deposits adhere to aluminium foil. “The silver all fell off straight away – which was not what we wanted,” says Pachal. “But when we looked at the silver powder residue under a scanning electron microscope (SEM), we saw loads of these fern-like structures.” The image has been selected as a finalist in The Art of Nanotechnology exhibition which opens in Christchurch on August 11. “We were actually experimenting with a process to put silver directly onto titanium to create a rough surface that repels water, as part of the superhydrophobic project we’re working on,” says Pachal. “So we weren’t looking for an image. But it’s quite neat to have your work noticed.”


Three Waikato University Hillary Scholars are involved in a new production of the play W;t being performed next month in Hamilton. Directed by senior drama lecturer, Gaye Poole, the play is about a renowned professor of English, Vivian Bearing, who’s donated her whole life to academia and the study of 17th century poet John Donne. When she’s diagnosed with advanced cancer she attacks her illness with the same methodical and rational approach she uses in her work, only to find that kindness and compassion are necessary in her treatment too. Ms Poole says the multi-award winning play questions the way we live our lives, the choices we make and the relationships we do and do not form. Waikato drama students Michael Potts and Kate Davison both have acting roles in the production while Delwyn Dellow is production manager. W;t plays for five nights – September 14-18 at the Wel Academy of Performing Arts at the university.

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