Media Advisory November 08


Waikato University's Faculty of Education is celebrating 50 years of teacher education with a range of events held this week. To kick off celebrations, an APEC meeting discussing science and maths teacher education takes place on November 8-10. This will involve leading academics and government officials from the USA, Australia, Singapore, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Russia and New Zealand. Guests include former Director of the Policy and Programme Studies Service within the U.S Department of Education, Dr Alan Ginsburg. Dr Ginsburg has also worked with the Chinese Ministry of Education overseeing the development of the E-Language Learning System which delivers English-Chinese language skills to youth. The APEC meeting is followed by a symposium celebrating the contributions Faculty of Education staff have made to theory and practice that have enhanced teaching and learning. The November 12 symposium, Making a Difference in Classrooms and Centres: The Intersection of Theory and Practice, is intended for teachers, school leaders and researchers. A Faculty of Education reunion will wrap up celebrations on November 13. Past and present staff and students will gather at the university's Academy of Performing Arts for the day-long event. Waikato University's Faculty of Education started out as the Hamilton Teachers' College in 1960. It has since become the university's largest faculty and is currently ranked number one in New Zealand for education according to the government's research rankings.


Waikato University's writer in residence in 2011 is poet and historian Dr Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, a Coaster who's currently senior adjunct fellow at Canterbury University. He'll take up his new position in the New Year to work on a book of poems about New Zealand's shearing culture and a memoir about his father who survived a Kamikaze strike during World War II. "My father was on the bridge when the Illustrious was hit in April 1945, so while I'll be writing my father's story. I want to try to find a link with the man who was flying the plane - who was trying to kill my father. You could call it a quest memoir." He plans to travel to Japan during the year to visit some of the Kamikaze museums that memorialise the Japanese war dead, something he says he couldn't have done without the residency. This year has been a fruitful year for Dr Holman. In March, Penguin Books published Best of Both Worlds: the story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau which grew out of his PhD thesis and was shortlisted in the Maori Book Awards. August saw the release of Autumn Waiata - a book of poems, and this month another poetry collection called Fly Boy will be launched at Wigram Airbase in Christchurch.


A group of Waikato researchers engaged in the study of death will host a symposium later this week to discuss death, dying, mourning and disposal practices in Aotearoa New Zealand. Speaking at the one-day symposium on Thursday November 11 will be Dr Wallace Bain, Bay of Plenty Regional Coroner, who will discuss cultural practices surrounding death and the New Coroners Act 2006. He will make specific reference to two recent case studies involving objections to post-mortems for religious and cultural reasons. Other contributors will discuss topics ranging from historical antecedents for fatal child abuse in New Zealand to a local study of near-death experiences; from hospice services for Chinese immigrants to post-tsunami trauma and grief support in Samoa. The University of Waikato currently has more than 25 staff and graduate students from various disciplines engaged in research of relevance to the study of death, the largest endeavour being the Tangihanga Research Programme led by Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Associate Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora and Dr Tess Moeke-Maxwell.


Waikato University gardener Leigh Harrison came away with two awards at the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition, held in Auckland earlier this month. She was runner-up in the AGMARDT Market Innovation Project category, winning $2,000 for her ingenious nested pruning saw set concept, and also took out the Best Practice in Practical Activities Award, worth $500. Ms Harrison qualified for the competition after winning Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year earlier this year. One of only two women finalists, she joined the winners of seven other horticultural sector competitions for the two-day grand final. Competitors were assessed on their practical horticultural skills, and also had to come up with a fully-researched market innovation, undergo an interview with the judges and make a speech at the awards dinner in front of a government minister. Ms Harrison was placed fourth overall in the competition.


Children's picture books fulfill a number of roles in the development of language and learning, but do they also reflect our national identity? Dr Nicola Daly from the Faculty of Education at Waikato has been looking at how New Zealand identity is reflected in locally produced books, and this question has also been examined in Canada. Professor Emerita at the University of Alberta in Canada, Joyce Bainbridge has spent many years examining Canadian children's literature and Canadian identity and will be in Hamilton on November 16 to speak at a public seminar titled Canadian Picture Books: Mirrors or Wishful Thinking? Her research examines issues of identity and how books can be used by trainee teachers to prepare for work in ethnoculturally diverse classrooms. This public lecture is jointly hosted by the Language, Literacy and Arts Education Research Network at the University of Waikato and the Waikato Children's Literature Association.


Waikato University's Centre for Continuing Education presents the final Demystifying the Arts session for 2010 next week. To conclude this year's series, Dean of Waikato University's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Professor Daniel Zirker will chair a panel of arts practitioners from professional, business and community fields as they explore and discuss aspects related to investment and involvement in the arts. Panellists include Waikato University's Dr Mark Houlahan and Dr Viv Aitken, music and community arts worker Chris Williams, and Hamilton City councillor Daphne Bell. 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 7-9pm on Thursday November 18 at the Waikato Museum and costs $5. For more information visit


One of the sisters in the Three Sisters has been missing from rehearsals. Kimmy Muncaster, who is playing Masha in the university production of Anton Chekhov's play was whipped into hospital last week for an emergency appendectomy. Muncaster is from Tokoroa and another student, also from the South Waikato, Richard Homan, is playing her soldier lover Vershinin in the play, and her real-life boyfriend Scot Hall is playing a soldier too. Muncaster and Hall are two of eight Sir Edmund Hillary theatre studies scholars in the cast and other Hillary arts scholars from music and graphic design are also involved. Director Gaye Poole says the play is a challenge, with several leads whose characters are highly individual, rich and idiosyncratic in a story that spans five years. The Three Sisters takes place at the WEL Academy of Performing Arts on November 23-27, so Muncaster, who's finding it painful to laugh or cough at the moment, is hoping for a speedy recovery.


Leadership styles, problem solving and decision making will be some of the topics covered during a two-day workshop for first-time managers and those wanting to improve their management skills. Linda Hutchings from Waikato-based training business, Brainstorm, which specialises in developing professional development programmes for clients, is presenting the workshop, run by the University of Waikato's Centre for Continuing Education. Participants will gain an understanding of key managerial processes, discover how to develop interpersonal skills to help build strong and positive manager/staff relationships, define practical managerial tools and be able to put them into practice in the workplace. The workshop costs $920.00 (incl GST, catering and workbook) and will be held on November 24-25, from 8.45am-4.30pm at 144 Durham Street. For information visit


Waikato University computer science student Gabe Young is the world lightweight blokarting champion, again. He's just got back from the world championships at Ostend, Belgium where he defended his world title in the lightweight performance division. Young, who's 20, is in his third year of a Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Science degree at Waikato. He's a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar, which means his fees are paid, and a senior residential assistant at Bryant Hall on campus which pays enough to cover his rent. One of the other members of the 17-strong New Zealand team was Gabe's twin brother Angus, a trainee pilot, who came third in the same division. The twins hail from Papamoa and went to Te Puke High School.


Waikato University will be hosting the first Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines conference this month. Researchers and practitioners from the disciplines of law, anthropology, education, health, management, business, psychology, sociology, cultural, and gender studies will gather for the keynote presentations and talks given by invited international and local speakers. Among the keynote speakers is Professor Linda Smith, Dean of Waikato University's School of Maori and Pacific Development; Norman Denzin, a research professor of communications, sociology and humanities at the University of Illinois; Dr Neil Drew, Head of Behavioural Science and Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Notre Dame Australia; and Professor Elspeth Probyn, Director of the Hawke Research Institute at the University of South Australia. The Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines conference aims to encourage discussions among people from a wide range of disciplines. The conference takes place on November 17-19 at Waikato University's Academy of Performing Arts. For programme details see

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