Media Advisory November 01


University of Waikato student and Hillary Scholar, 15-year-old Santiago Canon Valencia, has placed top equal in an international cello competition. The finals for the Beijing International Music Competition were held on Friday, with Santiago and Russian cellist Alexander Ramm being named joint second place winners. No first prize was given. Santiago and fellow Hillary Scholar Edward King were the only two from southern hemisphere music schools to be selected among the 44 cellists that competed in the contest. Waikato University music lecturer and pianist Katherine Austin, who accompanied both Edward and Santiago during their early performances, said both had played exceptionally well and Santiago had “complete command of his notes and the audience”. Santiago Canon Valencia, who is from Colombia, is in the first year of a Bachelor of Music at Waikato. He will spend this week in Beijing at master classes and giving concerts.


A PhD student studying corporate bullying and governance issues in East Asian businesses has won this year’s University of Waikato Thesis in Three competition. Azilawati Banchit, who’s from Malaysia and studying at Waikato Management School, beat nine other finalists in the event held at Hamilton’s Clarence Street Theatre on October 27. She is studying mergers and acquisitions in the region over a decade and the impact it has on people and business. The doctoral students each had three minutes to outline their theses, and their presentations were judged on their ability to effectively communicate their research to a general audience using a single slide. Azilawati Banchit won $5000 in research funds for her first placing. Second placing and winner of the people’s choice award was Computer Science student Michael Walmsley who is developing an interactive computer program that helps people learn a foreign language. He used Te Reo Maori as his example to outline the three stages of his learning program and won a total of $3000 to put towards his research. Other topics included sports and ethics, banking and small business, translating sacred texts from and into Te Reo Maori, science education, loss of language, sport and ethics, dog training, predicting seizures, and the role of justice in democracy.


Waikato University's Faculty of Education celebrates 50 years of teacher education this month. Starting out as the Hamilton Teachers' College in 1960, the Faculty of Education has since become the university's largest faculty. Current Dean Professor Alister Jones says since opening its doors 50 years ago the Faculty of Education has developed an excellent reputation in both research and teaching. Waikato University's Faculty of Education is currently ranked number one in New Zealand for education according to the government's research rankings. Throughout November the faculty holds a range of events to mark its 50th anniversary. Among these are symposiums for teachers, school leaders and researchers and an art exhibition showcasing the large collection of significant artworks collected by the faculty over the decades and dinners for stakeholders and staff. The main event is the 50th reunion which takes place on Saturday November 13 at the university's Academy of Performing Arts. For information visit


A single-seater, battery-powered electric vehicle was just one of the engineering design projects on show recently at the University of Waikato. The Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show gave Waikato University engineering students from years two, three and four the opportunity to showcase their prototypes. The students also presented posters detailing their designs and gave short talks on their research projects which were marked by Waikato University lecturers. A Highly Commended award for Best Design Project went to Ali Hassan, Kiel Mans, Ryan Foote, Campbell Upperton and Sean Taylor for their single-seater battery powered electric vehicle.


Waikato University Professor David J Lowe, an international leader in volcanic ash research, has been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Dr Lowe is an expert in fingerprinting tephras (volcanic ash layers) and in constructing time-frames to underpin palaeoenvironmental, volcanological, archaeological, and soil science research in New Zealand and elsewhere. The Royal Society is made up of representatives of the sciences and other areas of endeavour, and is an independent body that acknowledges those who have made particular contributions in their field. Fellows are involved in providing expert advice, promoting best research practice and disseminating science and humanities information.


Waikato University’s Centre for Continuing Education will explore men’s issues in a series of public lectures, beginning next week. Towards the Future – Issues Involving Men: Status Quo and Beyond is a four-part lecture series which will openly address some critical issue for men and identify positive future action. The lectures will consider negative perceptions of men and male behaviours that are frequently conveyed through media, and to explore a broader picture of the diverse and positive roles many men play within the community. Lectures are held on Mondays beginning November 8 and take place from 7-9pm at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus, room S.G.02. A gold coin donation is appreciated and registrations are essential. For more information visit


Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Associate Professor Martin Lodge and senior lecturer Michael Williams both have recent compositions featured on a new CD by the leading international flautist William Dowdall. The CD is entitled 'Breathe' and will be launched in Dublin later this month. The disc is an innovative New Zealand-Ireland co-production. Martin Lodge's work is 'Oiche Ghealai' (Gaelic for 'moonlit night') scored for alto flute and taonga puoro (traditional Maori instruments), the latter played by Richard Nunns. Michael Williams' work is 'Kala Danda' for flute and electronics, the title referring to a village in India close to the ancestral home of the composer's father.


Waikato University holds a powhiri on November 2, to celebrate the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults. The university is partnering with Whakatane-based Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi to deliver a government contract which aims to up skill tutors in wānanga, polytechs and private training providers to lift levels of literacy and numeracy among students in their courses. The multimillion-dollar TEC contract has been running for more than a year but this is the first official function for the National Centre for Literacy and Numeracy for Adults which was created as part of the contract. The powhiri takes place from 11.30am.


Three speakers will discuss the diverse work of the United Nations during a public lecture series in Tauranga next week. On Wednesday November 10, Dr Ian McLean will review the successes of the Ottawa Treaty in reducing the impact of landmines in post-war situations, and describe his experiences in the minefields of the world. Dr McLean has worked as a specialist on the use of dogs for mine clearance at the UN’s Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). He is followed on November 17 by Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan who will discuss the relation between the UN, Human Rights and the Treaty of Waitangi. The third and final lecture in the series is planned for November 24. High Commissioner of India to New Zealand Admiral (retired) Sureesh Mehta will present the current view of the Republic of India towards the UN, and how India sees New Zealand's role, as a small country on the world stage. Lectures will take place at the Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Road, Tauranga from 5.30-6.30pm. A gold coin donation is appreciated and bookings are essential. For more details and to register visit


The titanium product manufacturing industry in New Zealand has made several important developments in recent months. To highlight this achievement the University of Waikato will hold a one-day symposium on titanium research next week. The symposium will have several oral presentations by invited speakers, poster presentations by young researchers and PhD students as well as a panel discussion. A range of topics will be discussed, including the progress and findings from the research and development on titanium alloy powder production, powder consolidation, powder metallurgy and powder coating, and other research on titanium alloys in New Zealand. Researchers and practitioners who are either working on or interested in titanium alloy research, development, commercialisation and product production in New Zealand are encouraged to attend. This symposium takes place on Friday November 12 at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus.


A musical performance for the Beijing MUSICACOUSTIC 10 festival took place over the high-speed research network last week, using the new internet standard IPv6. This involved New Zealand, Canada and China, performed to a live audience in Beijing. The piece by Waikato University composer Associate Professor Ian Whalley was called Mittsu no Yugo. Technically, it involved linking multiple digital video channels and CD quality multiple digital audio channels between the three countries to allow the real-time/interactive performance. The work is a first from this distance using the new internet IPv6 format and multiple audio channels. The composition melds aspects of sonic cultures from three points of the Pacific Rim. In Hamilton the performers were Professor Whalley, violin lecturer Lara Hall and masters graduate Hannah Gilmour. David Larson was in Canada on buffalo drum and Bruce Gremo was playing a shakuhachi - a Japanese end-blown flute – in Beijing where the Beijing Musicacoustic 2010 is being held.


St Paul’s Collegiate School has taken out the top prize for the second year running at the Waikato University ChemQuest. First place went to Andrew McPherson, Evan Wilson and Chang Zhai from the St Paul’s team called ‘Team’. The students were awarded the James and Wells trophy, $150 and a gold medal each. The annual chemistry quiz gives Year 12 chemistry students the chance to put their chemistry knowledge to the test in a pop quiz-style challenge. The after-school event was held at the University of Waikato on October 20 and was attended by almost 200 students, made up of 66 teams of three. St Paul’s Collegiate School also won second place in the contest. Third place was awarded to Hamilton Boys’ High School team ‘The Pros’.

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