Media Advisory October 11


Three-time world rowing champion Duncan Grant was named Sportsman of the Year at the 2010 Wallace Corporation Waikato University Blues Awards on Friday night. Grant, who's the current world champion in the lightweight single scull, will defend his title at this year's World Rowing Championships being held at Lake Karapiro in October. Water-skier Renee Hannah was named Sportswoman of the Year and the Pou Ahurea award for Māori Person of the Year went to athlete Keshia Grant. Cellist Edward King won the Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year Award. Forty Blues Awards were given out to athletes and artists at the awards evening held at the university's Wel Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts. The recipients represented a range of disciplines from beach volleyball, judo and badminton to performance, composition and singing. The Blues Awards celebrate the commitment and achievements of students, teams and coaches.


Waikato University didymo experts are going to Chile where the first outbreaks of the microscopic pest have recently been reported in South America. Professor Craig Cary and Associate Professor Brendan Hicks from the Department of Biological Science have been contacted by the Chilean Government to help develop a program to educate biosecurity officials and train field workers on the detection, monitoring and prevention of didymo. When didymo was first detected in New Zealand's South Island in 2004, Professor Cary developed a highly sensitive DNA-based tool that could detect didymo at concentrations as low as one cell in a litre. This super sensitive tool is primarily used in surveillance efforts before didymo arrives. Professor Cary says if we can detect didymo very early in the invasion, we have a much better chance to mitigate and curtail the spread to other waterways. He says even though didymo spread quickly through the South Island, Biosecurity New Zealand's rapid response efforts meant it didn't spread to the North. "And the ongoing campaigns, such as Check, Clean and Dry, have maintained public awareness about the need to be careful and vigilant. We've developed self-contained sampling kits that can go all over the world. While we're in Chile we'll be running workshops that cover the protocols for sampling, detection, surveillance and prevention using the New Zealand experience that has proven so successful to date."


New Zealand rowers Emma Twigg and Juliette Haigh will be competing off the water this week when they take part in Waikato University Management School's Public Relations case campaign finals. PR Campaigns is a third year Management Communication paper and Twigg and Haigh are in one of four teams selected from 14 who will be presenting their PR strategies to a team of judges on Thursday October 14. The case is Parent to Parent, a national non-profit organisations set up in 1983 to support families of children with disabilities, health impairments or special needs. Twigg and Haigh are part of the Lime Light PR team and their campaign is one of two that focuses on building relationships between Parent to Parent and paediatricians. Other campaigns will focus on support for children with disabilities in schools, and developing more support for Maori in the Parent to Parent organisation. The finals of the Chesterman Group PR Campaign start at 6.00pm in the PWC lecture theatre at Waikato Management School.


The international president of the US-based Institute of Noetic Sciences Dr Marilyn Mandala-Schlitz is coming to New Zealand to speak at the Wylie Trust Foundation in Auckland and at a public seminar in Hamilton. Noetic science is about exploring phenomena that do not necessarily fit conventional scientific models while maintaining a commitment to scientific rigor - finding the link between science and spiritual consciousness. Noetic science features in the Dan Brown novel The Lost Symbol. Waikato University's Associate Professor Kathryn Pavlovich works in the Department of Strategy and HR and says Dr Mandala-Schlitz's visit is timely given that there's been recent lively discussion about cultural diversity and social complexity. "I teach spiritual enterprise, and so for me her visit is exciting. Noetic science isn't easy to explain, but it's about developing people's consciousness and expanding their world views so they become more balanced, compassionate and cognitively flexible. As educators we need to be translating these skills into our teaching." Dr Marilyn Mandala-Schlitz will speak at the Waikato Management School (Gate 7, Hillcrest Rd) in MSB1.05 in Hamilton on Monday October 18 at 7.30pm.


Waikato University's engineering students are set to showcase their talent to the public next week. Over two days third and fourth-year engineering students will showcase their research projects in the forms of posters, displays and seminars. Topics covered include biochemical engineering, electronic engineering, materials and process engineering, mechanical engineering and software engineering. This event is ideal for high school students who are looking at a career in engineering. It's also an opportunity for industry representatives to meet with the School of Engineering's talented students. The Carter Holt Harvey Pulp and Paper Engineering Design Show takes place 9.00am - 5.00pm on October 19-20 and is held at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus, S Block. For more information visit


A contemporary dance film, Beat, has been selected for screening at the Cinesonika Film Festival in Vancouver. Beat was filmed in domestic setting - Midge Marsden's house in Raglan. It features Waikato University Sir Edmund Hillary scholars in dance, film and design and was a collaboration between composer Jeremy Mayall, Waikato University choreographer Karen Barbour and filmmaker/ director Virginia Pitts. It was the Hillary Scholars' major project for the 2009 year. The film was produced in Waikato University's Mediarena centre for creative practice-based research. Waikato Screen and Media Studies Professor Dan Fleming says the festival runs in association with Simon Fraser University and brings film makers and film scholars together in a parallel festival and conference. He says it's unique linking creative practice to scholarly research. "It's an exciting area for new work and the Cinesonika Festival is at the forefront in supporting this and having the film selected show's Waikato is doing internationally significant work in this area."


Waikato University Hillary Scholar Lucy Olphert had the opportunity of a life time when she attended the 5th national Libyan Youth Forum recently. The 22-year-old was just one of two New Zealanders invited to the forum, and the only Waikato University student that attended. Olphert, who is a show jumper studying towards a Bachelor of Media and Creative Technologies, says she was offered the rare opportunity through a friend she met at an international show jumping event in Germany. "They were allowed to invite a few other people and I was one of them. This is the first year that internationals have been invited to the forum," says Olphert. The short notice of the invitation caused challenges for Olphert who had to organise her trip within days. Despite this, Olphert made it to the forum, had some incredible experiences, and met Dr Saif al-Islam Al-Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Al-Gaddafi. Olphert says the forum was a valuable and rewarding experience, and it gave her motivation to do more for the community. "Listening to young leaders from different countries shows that just because you're young it doesn't mean you can't change things. It has definitely inspired me to get more involved."


Over the decades the University of Waikato's Faculty of Education has gathered a large collection of significant artworks from leading artists and art directors such as Ted Bracy, Rachel Irwin, and John Bevan Ford. Next month, an exhibition of these works will be on display to the public at the university's Academy of Performing Arts. This exhibition is part of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Faculty of Education which takes place in November. For information visit

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