Media Advisory April 18

The recent spate of political turmoil in the Middle East has been widely attributed to a Facebook and Twitter led “revolution”, but University of Waikato Associate Professor Shiv Ganesh disagrees. In a new paper offered by the university called Networking, Dr Ganesh explores the relationship that social networking has had on the rebellion in Iran, Egypt and Bahrain but finds the social networking is a tool for, not the driving force behind revolution. “Networking is much more than a technological process; it is a social logic that is changing how we organise politics, culture and work.” An essay titled “Why Facebook Doesn’t Cause Protests”, published by the National Communication Association, is the basis for the paper which explores the relationships between social networking as a tool for organising activism alongside a political cause. Places are still available for the B Semester paper.

Gender is determined while still in the womb, but for those who are born with both male and female anatomical characteristics, gender is often determined by a doctor or parent. Waikato University’s Te Piringa-Faculty of Law doctorate student Rogena Sterling is looking into the legal processes surrounding intersexed children and why the choice of having genital life-changing surgery isn’t made by the child. Sterling was born intersexed and had genital-normalising surgery to make her more male-like at age four which was then repeated at age 15. The choice was made by her parents. “Intersexed children are forced to have surgery – their only crime is that they are born different,” says Sterling. “My research is looking at why the law of ‘informed consent’ is not helping these people and why such surgeries still continue.” Sterling will be presenting her research as part of the Te Piringa-Faculty of Law Justice in the Round Conference being held on April 18-20. The conference will see a range of speakers address issues of justice from custom and cultural perspectives to rights and dispute resolution. The Justice in the Round Conference is part of celebrations to mark 20 years of legal education at Waikato University. Following the conference, the faculty will be holding a reunion gala dinner for current and former students and staff on April 20. Hamilton Mayor Julie Hadaker and Māori Land Court Judge Craig Coxhead, who are both graduates of the faculty, are the keynote speakers.

WaikatoLink, the commercial arm of the University of Waikato, has announced Duncan Mackintosh as the new Chief Executive. Mr Mackintosh has held the role of general manager for the organisation before being appointed to the CEO role. Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford said, “We’re delighted to appoint Duncan Mackintosh to the role from a very strong field of candidates from New Zealand and overseas. He has considerable experience in the commercialisation field and is well known nationally and internationally for his commercial expertise, professionalism and ability to build networks.” WaikatoLink Limited works closely with industry, investors and researchers to identify and develop market opportunities for new technologies.

Waikato University’s newest professor will address his concern at the way New Zealand is continuing to pursue economic growth despite the long-term dangers. Bob Evans, professor of Environmental Planning believes “we need to consider how we can adopt more sustainable and resilient patterns of living, including a dramatic reduction in our consumption of natural resources, both locally and globally.” One example is our use of cars. “Hamilton is sprawling and that means people here use their cars far more than they do in more compact cities. We’ve reached peak oil, there’s instability in the Middle East and demand is increasing, particularly in the booming economies of India and China. So we need to re-think how we plan and manage our cities.” Professor Evans gives his Inaugural Professorial Lecture on April 19 at.6.30pm in the university’s Academy of Performing Arts. He has come to Waikato from the UK where he was Director of the Sustainable Cities Research Institute at Northumbria University. He has worked as a town planner in local government, in the private sector and for community organisations before moving to higher education.

Two students from the University of Waikato’s Conservatorium of Music have had work accepted for presentation at the prestigious Electroacoustic Music Network Festival. Master of Music student Maggie Yue's electroacoustic piece 'You Zi Yin' (A Traveller's Song) and Bachelor of Music Honours student Jenny Spark presents a paper titled ‘Sound and Vision: Experiments in Creating Soundscapes for Visual Music Works’. The two were competing against professionals, academics and graduate students internationally. The EMS Network focuses on broadening the understanding of the various manifestations of electroacoustic music. The theme of the event this year looks at how people can use sound to further our understanding of real-world issues; how we experience the sounds of the world; the changing role of artists, virtuosity, expertise and creative excellence. The festival is held in New York from 14 to 18 June.

Award winning poet and University of Waikato graduate and tutor Owen Bullock will be offering a workshop on poetic writing. The Centre for Continuing Education are hosting Bullock on Friday 29 between 7pm and 9pm and Saturday April 30 between 9.30am and 3.30pm at the LAIN building in a series specialising in Japanese poetic forms. Born and bred in Cornwall, Bullock has lived in New Zealand for over 20 years. His Master’s thesis, 'Making Canons and Finding Flowers – A Study of Selected New Zealand Poetry Anthologies' was published in 2008. He has published a collection of haiku called ‘Wild Camomile’, the novella ‘A Cornish Story’ and four chapbooks of poetry. His first full collection of longer poems, 'Sometimes The Sky Isn’t Big Enough', is forthcoming from Steele Roberts, New Zealand. Bookings are essential along with a fee of $55.

The University of Waikato Open Day is an invitation to the public to visit the Hamilton campus and experience a taste of university life. On May 13 visitors to the university get a chance to attend mini lectures on a wide range of topics, get involved with interactive displays and view a range of fun activities and entertainment. All members of the public are welcome and there will be opportunities to talk with staff and current students throughout the day. Guided campus tours will depart from the Village Green every half an hour from 9.05am to 1.35pm. Staff wearing red University of Waikato t-shirts will be on hand to help with any queries.

Trenchers, gowns, balloons and toy cows will be abundant in coming weeks when students from the university’s Tauranga and Hamilton campuses graduate. The graduation ceremonies are scheduled for April 29 at the Holy Trinity Church in Tauranga, May 2-5 in Hamilton at the Founders Theatre, and May 12 at the Te Kohinga Mārama Marae on the university’s Hamilton campus. Part of a new memorabilia lineup includes Mū, an udder-less toy Friesian cow, which has been introduced alongside the long-standing graduation bears as part of the University of Waikato merchandise available to buy at graduation. The Tauranga ceremony starts with a street parade from Red Square from 1.45pm, with the graduation ceremony kicked off at 2.30pm. A schedule for the Hamilton graduations is available online.

The University of Waikato is again honoured to host the Te Amorangi National Māori Academic Excellence Awards, to be held on Friday April 29 at Tūrangawaeawae Marae, Ngāruawāhia. The awards are an annual event to acknowledge Māori PhD graduates across the country who have had their doctorates conferred in the past calendar year at all universities. This year, awards will be given out to 48 PhD graduates from across New Zealand tertiary institutions, including three from Waikato University. A Lifetime Achievement Award will also be presented to Bentham Ohia, CEO of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. The black-tie event starts at 6pm with awards being given out from 6.30pm.

New research being presented at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference in London this week shows the “brain drain” may not be a bad thing. The study, by Waikato’s Professor John Gibson and Dr David McKenzie of the World Bank, shows little evidence that high-skilled emigration has a negative impact on the home countries. The researchers have studied the micro-level impacts of highly skilled emigration on Ghana, Micronesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga, tracing the migration histories of top academic achievers in high school each year from 1976 and 2004. The study showed gains to the migrants themselves by far outweighed any other effect – the group stood to earn US$40,000-70,000 more each year by working abroad rather than at home. Remittances home amounted to around $5,000 per year for each individual, while the net effect of trade and investment was much smaller. The researchers estimate the spill over effects of high-skilled emigration to be at most $1,000 per year – far too small to have a net negative impact on development in the home countries. They conclude that governments should be less concerned about high rates of skilled emigration, and focus instead on the basics of providing the policy environment needed to foster growth and innovation at home.

A generous donation of two kilns by a local potter has enabled the University of Waikato to restore its clay studio, and open it for community use. Cambridge resident Elizabeth Snowdon, whose late husband had been registrar at the University of Waikato, has donated two electric kilns to the studio, based in the Faculty of Education, replacing two old kilns that had come to the end of their useful life. “Mrs Snowdon’s very generous offer is recognition of the university’s continued support for community ceramics, especially in the face of reduced government funding for community arts education,” said Professor Terry Locke, Head of Arts and Language in the Faculty of Education. Mrs Snowdon’s contribution crowns efforts by the Faculty and the ceramics community to revitalise the clay studio over recent years.

New Zealand Ice Fern Anjali Thakker is currently in Australia competing for the Inline Oceania Championship only weeks after returning from Iceland with a gold medal. Anjali was part of the gold-medal winning Ice Fernz who recently won their division at the World Ice Hockey Championships. They won all four of their games and beat Romania by a convincing 7-2 to take out the division. At just 17, she is one of the youngest members of the team, whose long term goal is competing at the Olympics.

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