Media Advisory March 14

WAIKATO ALUMNUS NAMED GOVERNOR-GENERAL

Waikato University alumnus Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae has been named as New Zealand’s next Governor-General. Lt General Mateparae is a distinguished soldier and scholar, and holder of the highest military rank in New Zealand. He was the both the youngest and first Māori – of Ngāti Tūwharetoa descent – to be appointed as Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force and will be the second Māori Governor-General. He now heads the Government Communications Security Bureau. In 2008, he received a University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of his exemplary career in the New Zealand Defence Force, and his contribution to the military and the wider New Zealand community. He graduated from Waikato in 1996 with a Master of Arts in international relations and strategic studies. Lt General Mateparae will be sworn in on August 31, beginning a five-year term as New Zealand's 20th Governor-General. He replaces Sir Anand Satyanand when his term ends in August.

SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS

Kerry Barker, a Waikato University masters student in Materials and Processing Engineering, has won a $5000 Dick and Mary Earle Scholarship in Technology to support her research into the development and production of bio composites from chicken feather fibre. The scholarship was established to support and encourage postgraduate research into aspects of technology, vital to the well-being and enhanced social fabric of the community. Worldwide the poultry industry produces 4 million tons of feathers a year and Baker is keen to see that waste dramatically reduced through bio composite products to compete with plastics which contribute to global warming and pollution. She is currently helping to optimise the processing procedures for her research and will begin work on the bio composites shortly. The research is due in February next year and Baker hopes to use the scholarship to attend an international conference where she can present her results. Rebecca White, a masters student in Biological Sciences, won a $2000 Bing’s Scholarship to support her research into middle ear infections.

WAIKATO STUDENT LENDS A HELPING HAND IN CHRISTCHURCH

Waikato University student Cayla Were delayed the start of her studies to be in Christchurch to help in the city’s rescue and recovery effort. Were is part of the Hamilton Search and Rescue (SAR) team which flew down to the quake struck city last week (February 28). The SAR team spent five days in Christchurch helping with a number of activities including, doing door-to-door checks on people and property, helping out at base, and managing and coordinating other relief efforts. The team checked more than 70,000 homes and assisted many residents to ensure their needs tended to. Meanwhile, Waikato University has also been involved in organising support for victims of the quake. Students have been collecting donations which will go directly to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal and the university has also been donating furniture and other goods.

NATURAL HAZARDS IN THE WAIKATO 

Local experts will form a panel to discuss the possible local challenges in the event of tsunami, volcanoes, earthquakes, floods and droughts over two evening sessions beginning next week. Among the experts is Waikato University’s Dr Willem De Lange and Associate Professor Roger Briggs who will speak alongside Professor Kevin Furlong of Pennsylvania State University in the US and Adam Munro from Environment Waikato. They will discuss a range of issues, including an overview of local coastal hazards, a brief history of volcanic activity in the Waikato region, the causes and consequences of earthquakes in New Zealand and strategies for dealing with natural hazards and emergency management in the Waikato region. This panel discussion is held at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus, room A.G.30, and takes place at 7-9pm on Thursday March 24, followed by another session on Thursday March 31.

INNOVATIVE USES FOR MARINE RESOURCES EXPLORED IN LECTURE

Innovative uses for marine resources is the topic of the first University of Waikato Inaugural Professorial Lecture for 2011, being held this week. The free public lectures showcase some of the latest research from the university’s newest professors. Professor Chris Battershill, newly appointed Chair in Coastal Science and based in the Bay of Plenty, will discuss the new and useful chemicals now emerging from the study of how marine organisms adapt to environmental change. He’ll explain how identifying the main driving forces in coastal ecosystems can help both conserve marine biodiversity and open our eyes to exciting new possibilities. Professor Battershill’s lecture Atom to Atoll: Investigation the Resilience of Marine Organisms in the Face of Environmental Change will take place at Waikato University’s Academy of Performing Arts on Tuesday March 15 at 6.30pm. He will deliver another Inaugural Professorial Lecture, “Challenges in the Coastal Marine Environment: From Conservation to Innovation", in Tauranga on Thursday March 17 at 7pm in the Bongard Centre on Cameron Road.

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