Media Advisory December 06


New research out of the University of Waikato shows that New Zealand’s seasonal migration scheme is producing a triple win – it’s good for the local horticulture and viticulture industries, good for the seasonal workers, and good for economic development in their home countries. An evaluation of the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme by Professor John Gibson of Waikato Management School and Dr David McKenzie of the World Bank shows that participation in the scheme raises household per capita income back home by almost 40%. The analysis is the first of its kind to look at the impact of such a scheme on the sending countries. “Our research provides further evidence that migration is one of the most effective ways to boost development in poor countries,” says Professor Gibson. “Coupled with analysis which shows improvements in productivity for growers that hire RSE workers, very low rates of overstaying and modest impacts on the native labour force, these results suggest more countries should give seasonal worker programmes a chance.” New Zealand’s RSE scheme draws up to 8,000 workers a year from Pacific nations, with nearly three-quarters of these coming from Tonga and Vanuatu. Under the scheme, which began in 2007, migrants work for an accredited employer in the horticulture and viticulture industries for up to seven months in every 11 months, and may return if recruited again.


Three Waikato University students have been presented with scholarships worth up to $5000 from the George Mason Charitable Trust. Faculty of Science and Engineering students Alexandre Schimel, Fiona Clarkson and Catherine Bryan were awarded the scholarships which aim to support students undertaking postgraduate study and who also have links to Taranaki and/or research relating to Taranaki’s natural history. Alexandre Schimel, who is completing a PhD looking into marine habitat mapping, received $5000. Fiona Clarkson and Catherine Bryan each received $2500 for their joint application for masters’ research. The pair is examining the ecology and restoration of two New Zealand scrub epiphytes (non-parasitic plants) and their occurrence in urban forest fragments around New Plymouth. The George Mason Charitable Trust scholarship was set up by Dr George Mason to advance the study of the natural environment, archaeology and social history of the Taranaki region. He is a businessman and entrepreneur.


Not many students have a book published while still engaged in masters study, but Waikato University postgraduate student Phillippa Ulenberg has done just that. She recently completed a commission to write about Hamilton’s Civic Choir on the occasion of the choir’s 60th anniversary. The book, titled In Sound Voice, highlights the successes of the choir and its contribution to choral music in the Waikato and New Zealand. “In Sound Voice will fascinate and surprise anyone who has an interest in New Zealand's cultural history, and of Hamilton's in particular,” says Ulenberg, who’s completing a Master of Music at Waikato. An event to launch In Sound Voice takes place on Wednesday December 8 at 5.30pm and will be held at Bennetts Campus Bookshop, University of Waikato Hamilton campus.


There’s a growing awareness about the plight of some low-lying Pacific islands and atolls threatened by global warming. Tuvalu in particular has had international exposure about the threats posed by rising sea levels. Associate Professor John Campbell from the Department of Geography, Tourism and Environmental Planning at Waikato University says the notion of these small islands fighting industrial countries against the risk of disappearing beneath the waves like the Titanic has appeal in the developed world, but there has been little useful action undertaken to protect the land or the people living on it – no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and no implementation of programmes that would help Pacific Island Governments and communities develop effective adaptation strategies. Dr Campbell says that the publicity may have created the illusion that adaptation is pointless – denying islanders the opportunity to exercise their resilience, capacity and potential. He will speak at the Waikato Branch of the NZ Geographical Society on Thursday December 9 at 7pm at Ruakura Social Club. His speech is titled Titanic States: Atoll states and the discourse of climate change in the Pacific.


Two Waikato University science students have won the Environment Waikato Prize in Water Science for 2010. The prize is awarded annually to the top Bachelor of Science students enrolled in water science papers within the Faculty of Science and Engineering. This year the prize was given to Joshua Scarrow and Ivan Schroder who will jointly receive $500 in book vouchers. Scarrow, from Katikati, will head to Antarctica soon as part of his Masters research in microbiology. He says that his interest in the environment spurred his passion for science. “I just like looking after the environment and learning how everything functions and how it fits together.” Bulgarian-born Schroder, who grew up in Hamilton, plans to study honours next year and pursue a Masters degree at Curtin University in Perth. Schroder attributes his passion for science to the love of working outdoors. He says that his degree has introduced him to some of the leading researchers and lecturers in their fields. “Working alongside and under them at Waikato has instilled in me some of their passion for their works.” The Environment Waikato prize was established in 1990 by Sir Ross Jansen, a former Hamilton mayor, along with the university’s Earth Sciences Department.

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