Media Advisory July 11

TAURANGA LECTURE LOOKS AT POTENTIAL OF MARINE BIOTECHNOLOGY

What are the challenges and opportunities facing marine, or 'blue', biotechnology? The University of Waikato Faculty of Science and Engineering is hosting Marcel Jaspars, Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Aberdeen, who will give a public lecture in Tauranga next week. Marine organisms have developed complex biochemical machinery to protect themselves and cope with changing environments and scientists are using these findings to generate innovative biomedicinal and agrichemical leads. Diverse marine environments, such as the Bay of Plenty, offer considerable research opportunities, and Professor Jaspars will explore the issues surrounding marine biotechnology based on his research of natural products, particularly those from marine organisms. He will shed light on how New Zealand can realise its potential to make a global contribution. Author of more than 100 research papers and reviews, and consultant for several UK marine biotechnology companies, Professor Jaspars recently established the Marine Biodiscovery Centre, the first interdisciplinary centre of its kind in the UK. The lecture will be held on Wednesday July 20, from 6.30pm-7.30pm at the Bongard Centre, lecture theatre 106, 200 Cameron Road, Tauranga.

FILMMAKER PRESTON WARNS OF DANEGROUS MYTHOLOGIES

Award-winning filmmaker Gaylene Preston says we must keep telling true and ordinary stories so dangerous mythologies don’t fill in the gaps. She was talking at the Australia and New Zealand Communication Association conference held last week at the University of Waikato. She told delegates that even if the stories seem ordinary, they need to be told. “It’s all about the frame,” she said. “What you choose to look at and how we choose to frame it is how we gain a shared cultural memory of who we think we are.” But it concerns her that story has taken over areas where it didn’t used to be. She says we’re hardwired for three acts and a happy ending and now we’re presenting the news that way; like two planes hitting the twin towers, then the capture of Saddam Hussein and later still, the killing of Bin Laden, wrapped up like a tidy package and brought to a satisfactory conclusion. “I like to swim in the gaps between stories,” she said.

LOVE IT OR HATE IT, PE IS IMPORTANT

Research shows that for better or worse, experiences of physical education and sport at school do make a difference to young people’s lives. Professor Dawn Penney from the University of Waikato's Faculty of Education holds her Inaugural Professorial Lecture at the Academy of Performing Arts this week and will talk about sports policies, people and the teaching of PE. She’s known by her peers around the world as ‘the policy and PE researcher’ and her work has influenced public policy and curriculum reform in the UK and Australia. “Everyone from politicians, educators, parents and students have various expectations of what should be achieved as a result of doing PE and participating in sport and it’s often the experiences children have at school that influence their activity once school is over,” says Professor Penney. “Some countries – like Singapore - have had a national fitness test. I’m not advocating we go that far, but we certainly need more kids to engage with sport or other activities once they’ve finished school.” Professor Penney’s public lecture is at 6.30pm, Tuesday July 12 at the University of Waikato's Academy of Performing Arts and will address issues such as what and who influences learning opportunities in physical education and school sport, and how provision for all young people can be enhanced.

SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY HUMAN IMPACT ON THE ICE

Waikato University PhD student Stephen Archer has been awarded this year’s Sir Robin Irvine Antarctica New Zealand doctoral scholarship. Archer is studying the Bratina Island ponds in Antarctica, in particular human impact on the ponds, and his scholarship will cover the costs of two trips to the ice and $20,000 research related costs each year for two years. Archer has been to the ice before, when he was studying his masters. “My PhD research builds on my masters. I’ll be looking at the ponds in greater detail, designing manipulation studies to determine human contamination and global warming impacts on these systems.” He’s built some of his own tools for the trip. “I have a sampling rig that I built. It’s got a special heating element to stop the water freezing during sampling, and I also have a micro manipulator I designed, which is like a really accurate winch, accurate to a quarter of a millimetre.” He’ll go to Antarctica in January, collect samples from ponds of different sizes and depths, with names such as Egg, Orange, Salt and P70, and bring them back to Waikato University for analysis.

MĀORI AND THE POTENTIAL DEMOGRAPHIC DIVIDEND

Waikato University’s Professor Natalie Jackson will present a lecture next week titled Māori and the Potential Demographic Dividend. The lecture, offered by the university’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, will connect the concept known as the 'demographic dividend', with key features of Māori and non-Māori demography. The dividend arises as each population passes through a certain stage of its demographic transition, and the maximum proportion enters the key working and income-earning ages. Professor Jackson will argue that while the dividend is conventionally held to have two components, there may be a third which will generate particular advantages for Māori. This component arises in both absolute and relative terms as the relatively youthful Māori population co-exists alongside its structurally older counterpart. Professor Jackson will propose that the first such dividend may have already passed, but there remain many opportunities to ensure that its second and third windows of opportunity are opened. This lecture takes place from 1pm-3pm on Thursday July 21 and is held at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus, room S.G.03.

CHUMPING SHORT FILM TAKES OUT TOP PRIZE

A film about chumping – that’s child jumping – has seen a group of former Waikato University students take out the grand prize in this year’s national V48 hours Furious Film-making Challenge. Tom Furniss, Tim Armstrong and Cam Neate all went to Mt Maunganui College and all studied screen and media studies papers at Waikato before graduating at the end of last year. Cam Neate, who plays Swedish backpacker Johann in the film, says they teamed up with other filmmaker friends in Auckland to make the short film The Child Jumpers. In the challenge every group is given a theme or genre, and a specific character, line of dialogue and prop that must appear in every film. More than 800 teams entered the challenge from eight different regions. The winning group, calling themselves Grand Cheval were given ‘fad’ for their category and over 48 hours in one weekend came up with a mockumentary about the little-known fad of child jumping. Competition founder Ant Timpson said the work was “a true collaboration between friends that shows in every one of its frames. The absolutely charming, seemingly effortless short ‘The Child Jumpers’ won the audience and judges over with its honesty, heart and laugh out loud dialogue”. For their win, the filmmakers earned $60,000, cameras and a television set. To view The Child Jumpers go to www.v48hours.co.nz/screening-room/

STEALING BEAUTY

Art always suffers during wartime, from the sack of the Temple of Solomon by the Romans, through the many indignities visited on Van Eyck's masterwork, the Ghent Altarpiece, down the centuries, to the depredations of Napoleon and Hitler across Europe. Later this month Waikato University’s Te Piringa - Faculty of Law presents Stealing Beauty: Art Crime during War – a free public lecture which examines some fascinating examples of these sorts of crimes. The lecture will cover the experiences of some of the people involved, both as perpetrators and as rescuers, and explore some of the myths surrounding art crimes during war. This lecture takes place at 12noon on Friday July 29 and is held at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus, room S.G.01. For more information visit www.waikato.ac.nz/law

WAIKATO STUDENT COMPETING FOR UK OE

University of Waikato student Cameron Sandwell is campaigning to win an overseas experience to the UK. Sandwell is the university’s finalist in the annual my OE Travel Scholarship Competition, and is hoping to turn some serious campaigning into a free UK overseas experience. One student from every Australasian university won themselves a weekend in Fiji last month, and now all 47 are battling it out to win one of three ultimate UK OE packages, including flights, accommodation, travel insurance and recruitment support in the UK. There are three competition stages, run through Facebook, to determine the three ultimate winners. To follow Sandwell’s campaign to get him to the UK visit http://apps.www.facebook.com/fbfreeukoe/

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