Media Advisory January 31

NEW PROFESSOR TO CREATE AGRIBUSINESS STEP-CHANGE AT WAIKATO

The University of Waikato has appointed leading agriculture researcher and commentator Professor Jacqueline Rowarth, CNZM. Dr Rowarth takes up the position of Professor of Agribusiness at Waikato Management School in March, where she will consolidate and develop links across the value-innovation chain in the wider agriculture sector in the region. “The Waikato is agribusiness heartland,” she says. “We’re aiming to create a step-change not only in the industry, but also in the understanding of what WMS can do for and with businesses.” Dean of Waikato Management School, Professor Frank Scrimgeour, says the appointment of Dr Rowarth to spearhead agribusiness continues the School’s tradition of innovation in management education.

SHANGHAI SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS TO CHECK OUT ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AT WAIKATO

A top-level science and technology delegation from Shanghai is in Hamilton this week to find out more about the University of Waikato’s research into lake restoration and ecocity initiatives. The four-person delegation is from Tongji University’s College of Environmental Science and Engineering. One of Waikato’s key partner institutions, Tongji University regularly ranks within the top 25 Chinese universities. “Tongji hosts the Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme. Like Waikato, the Institute has a strong research focus on water quality and we are looking to build a collaborative research partnership,” says Pro Vice-Chancellor International Associate Professor Ed Weymes.

EXPERTS DISCUSS IMPACT OF AGEING WORKFORCE

Retirement, lifelong learning and productivity in an ageing workforce are among the topics being discussed this week at an international research workshop on population ageing and the labour force. The two-day workshop for researchers and policy-makers is hosted by the National Institute for Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA), and features presentations by NIDEA Director Professor Natalie Jackson and Professor Jacques Poot from Waikato, and four invited speakers from Japan, the United States and Australia. The workshop is organised by Dr Dave Mare, Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and an Adjunct Professor at NIDEA.

PLENTY OF STORIES TO TELL

Waikato University’s writer in residence for 2012 is poet, short story writer and novelist Michael Morrissey. The Aucklander takes up the position on February 1 to work on two novels. One is semi-autobiographical, called State of Grace and is set against the background of the last polio epidemics in New Zealand; the other, titled Spiro Goes to Mars, focuses on New Zealand’s most violent anti-Vietnam war protest in Auckland in 1970. Morrissey has written more than 80 short stories, ten volumes of poetry, two novellas and more recently has received attention for his memoir Taming the Tiger which deals with his experience with manic depression, or bipolar disorder.

REWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION TO THE STUDY OF WATER

Associate Professor Earl Bardsley’s work has been recognised by the New Zealand Hydrology Society. He was awarded the society’s Outstanding Achievement Award at their annual symposium for his contributions to New Zealand hydrological science and education. Dr Bardsley’s been at Waikato since 1980. His research focuses on the feasibility of transfer of South Island hydro storage away from the scenic lakes to a remote rock basin via pumped storage; developing self-simplifying hydrological models; hydrological seasonal forecasting; and he has developed a system for weighing water content over a small land area as it accumulates from rain. On a larger scale he’s investigating, in collaboration with the University of Colorado, the possibility of weighing the whole water content of most of the North Island from a gravity satellite, which would give a snapshot of the underground water situation.

HILLARY MEDALS FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVERS

Two University of Waikato students from Tauranga, Hannah Croad and Alex Hitchmough, are the latest recipients of Waikato University Sir Edmund Hillary medals. Sir Edmund Hillary medals are given to the best graduating Waikato University Hillary Scholars who have achieved at the highest level academically and in their chosen performing art or sport and have demonstrated exceptional leadership while on the programme. Beach volleyball player Hannah Croad has recently completed her Bachelor of Management Studies (Hons) majoring in Marketing and Strategic Management and has been offered a graduate position at advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi. She’s also on the cusp of Olympic qualification, having spent the summer braving the elements competing in the New Zealand beach volleyball series. Dance scholar Alex Hitchmough recently completed the Honours year of her Geography degree, and is returning to Waikato to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Political Science.

THE ITALIAN JOB

University of Waikato composers David Griffiths and Michael Williams will represent Oceania at the international Volcanic Lakes Festival in Italy next month, the only performers from the South Pacific. “It’s a real honour and privilege to be asked to write something for this wonderful festival,” said Williams. “David and I are the sole representatives from this side of the world with composers from America, the UK, Korea and Egypt also attending.” The festival takes place over three weekends at five volcanic lakes. Each of the lakes has a legend attached to it and composers were assigned lakes and legends as the basis of their compositions.

NEW HISTORY JOURNAL LAUNCHED

The first issue of the New Zealand Journal of Public History is available from the University of Waikato Public History Research Unit website. For now, the NZJPH will be free, online and occasional. This journal aims to offer a publication devoted to the discussion, debate and dissemination of ideas about the practice of public history in Aotearoa New Zealand. The online journal will be a site for new ideas about what characterises public history: its particular contours and challenges and how this might contribute in our collective quest to better understand the past. To view online visit http://www.waikato.ac.nz/wfass/PHRU/

WAIKATO STUDENT WINS REGIONAL COUNCIL WATER SCIENCE PRIZE

University of Waikato student Gabrielle Batenburg has been awarded the Waikato Regional Council Prize in Water Science for 2011 for achieving top marks in the subject. Batenburg has just finished her Bachelor of Science with a double major in Psychology and Environmental Science and this year is studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology. Batenburg was presented with the award at a ceremony at the Regional Council on February 7. The Waikato Regional Council prize was established in 1990 by Sir Ross Jansen, a former Hamilton mayor, with the University of Waikato’s Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences. It is awarded annually to the top Bachelor of Science student enrolled in water science papers within the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

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