Media Advisory February 20

New students will be formally welcomed onto Waikato University’s Hamilton campus on Wednesday 29 February  with a pōwhiri at Te Kohinga Marama Marae (Gate 4). First-year students and their families will be given briefings about what to expect of life and study on campus. The pōwhiri begins at 10am and is open to all new students and staff who have not yet had the opportunity to be formally welcomed.

New Waikato University Senior Fellow Dame Malvina Major will take the stage with past and present students at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival this week. Dame Malvina will perform alongside special guests Chase Douglas, a University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar, and Amina Edris, a former student from Canterbury University, on the Rhododendron Lawn on Saturday 25 February. “I’m really looking forward to performing at the Gardens Festival with the young singers. I’ve made it my business over the last 10 years to include ‘up and coming’ singers in my concert programmes,” says Dame Malvina. “I believe they learn much from watching a professional performing, and also learn what stamina is needed for performance. They discover what their capabilities are, and also if they are really cut out to be opera singers or maybe some other genre.” For more information visit

A team of scientists from the University of Waikato is heading on a nationwide road show to highlight what they can do to save the country's lakes. LERNZ, the Lakes Ecosystem Restoration New Zealand programme, based at Waikato University and funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, will be travelling from Whangarei to Invercargill in February and March, visiting regional councils to show how their research can help restore New Zealand's lakes and waterways. The scientists have developed pest-fish management and monitoring techniques, including trapping and removal, genetic identification from water samples, electrofishing and satellite imaging for detecting changes in water quality. They've also developed management techniques for harmful algae blooms which involve genetic tools for assessing toxin potential, automated high frequency monitoring buoys, remote sensing of water quality and restoration prototypes for combating algal blooming. This is part of a $10 million project over 10 years to research and save New Zealand's lakes.
University of Waikato scientists are hoping to create a smart water meter, completely powered by the water running through it. Engineering Professor Jonathan Scott, PhD student Mark Jones and Summer Research Scholarship student Wayne Crump are looking at the best way to harvest power by separating electrical charge in water, without moving parts. They’re looking to create a charge separation through the use of a streaming potential cell, and are hoping to harvest enough power to run a smart water meter that can wirelessly report water consumption. The cell works by forcing water through a glass micro-channel that has a charge bound to its surface. As water travels through the channel, ions of an opposite polarity cling to the charged surface. When pressure pushes these ions through the channel a useful amount of electricity builds up. Optimal design of a streaming potential cell is intrinsic to PhD student Mark Jones’ research. “If we can harvest energy from the water we're metering then we remove the need for batteries, which is what current smart water meters need. Not only will this prevent thousands of batteries ending up in landfills each year but also save having to replace them; a much greener alternative."
Couples who choose not to have children can be subjected to cruel comments, they’re sometimes called selfish and their decision to remain childless can cause distress to people, especially family members. Theresa Riley studied the subject for her masters degree which she has turned into a book entitled Being Childfree in New Zealand; How couples who choose not have children are perceived. Riley interviewed 10 couples, some in their early 20s through to couples in their 50s. “And instead of asking reasons behind the choice, I sought to take a fresh, insider’s perspective, letting couples voice the experiences and reflections on how their choice was responded to by people around them." She sees the book being useful to a range of people; as a sociology text, to support people who have made the decision to remain child free, or to support couples who cannot have children – who’ve had the decision made for them, perhaps giving them a fresh perspective. 
University of Waikato graduate Luisa Peterson has scored the highest mark in the country in the 2011 New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants competency exams. To become a Chartered Accountant, and belong to the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, all graduates must sit Foundation, Professional Accounting School and Professional Competence Examination Level 2 exams after two years of working. “I have always liked working with numbers, getting figures to balance, following a process to arrive at certain values and organising information. I made sure to set aside enough time to study, and I wasn’t shy about asking questions if I didn’t understand something,” says Peterson. “I felt confident after the PCE Level 2 exam that I had passed, but I didn’t expect to get the top mark in the country, that was a nice surprise.” Shortly after the results were released Peterson was emailed by the Controller and Auditor General Lyn Provost and personally congratulated.
Visiting Professor Paul Hunt will reflect on his six years as a UN Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of health in a lecture at the University of Waikato today in S.1.03, at 4pm, Monday 20 February. Professor Hunt will examine a range of issues regarding civil society's growing attention to the application of human rights to issues of health. The lecture will suggest the importance of positioning human rights as an asset for health professionals, rather than something they should be wary of. Professor Hunt teaches international human rights law at Essex University and is visiting Waikato for the week.
The German scientist who discovered the compound in manuka honey responsible for its anti-bacterial properties will give a public lecture on his latest research at the University of Waikato tonight, Monday 20 February. Professor Thomas Henle of the Institute of Food Chemistry, Technical University of Dresden, led the research group that identified the chemical compound, methylglyoxal, in 2006; since then his group has identified further unique features of compounds in manuka honey and other foods. Professor Henle will discuss these findings publicly for the first time in his lecture, one of only two he’ll be giving in New Zealand. Waikato’s Professor Peter Molan, Director of the Honey Research Centre, will chair a question-and-answer session after the lecture. Professor Henle’s visit is sponsored by Manuka Health Co New Zealand. Professor Henle’s lecture “Glycation compounds in food: What’s unique about New Zealand manuka honey?” will be held in S.1.04 at 6pm.
University of Waikato map librarian and assistant librarian John Robson will speak at a conference at the National Library of Australia exploring the influence of Captain James Cook on Australian and South Pacific history. The conference takes place this Friday 24 February, and features mariners, academics and curators who have undertaken historical research of Cook across a wide range of texts including maps, pictures and manuscripts of Australia and the South Pacific. Born just a few miles away from Captain Cook’s birthplace in north-east England, Robson grew up fascinated by the story of Cook’s voyages of exploration. It became a lifelong interest and Robson has subsequently published four books on Captain Cook and his voyages. During the conference, experts will explore the important role the research of Cook material plays in documenting and reflecting Australia’s history. Held at the National Library of Australia in Canberra, the one-day conference entitled Cook’s Treasures is supported by the Alison Sanchez Trust.
University of Waikato MSc student Emma Chibnall has been awarded the 2011 Dr Stella Frances Scholarship for her research on carbon draining on a working dairy farm. Chibnall's research topic 'Contribution of dissolved organic carbon leaching to an annual carbon budget of a grazed pastoral system', is part of a wider research topic looking at the carbon emissions from a farm. “I’m measuring the amount of carbon draining from the soil of a grazed dairy farm, which is going to be part of an overall carbon budget for a working dairy farm.” The Dr Stella Frances Scholarship was initiated in 2005 in memory of the well-known and highly-respected environmentalist, regional councillor and conservator for the Department of Conservation (DOC) who died in August 2003. It is awarded for masters-level research and study. The $5000 scholarship is sponsored by Waikato Regional Council and DOC.
How the avocado industry is responding to current and future challenges is the focus of Tauranga’s first Café Scientifique of 2012, taking place tonight, Monday 20 February, supported by the University of Waikato. 'Avocados: Boom or Bust' will be presented by Avocado Industry Council (AIC) Technical Manager Dr Henry Pak, who will outline some of the issues facing the avocado industry and the research in progress. Irregular cropping – where trees do not produce a viable crop every year – is one of the industry’s most problematic challenges. Dr Pak has a research background in plant pathology and post-harvest storage and now heads the AIC’s research programme. Café Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues, where for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Café Scientifique will be held tonight, Monday 20 February, 7pm, Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. For more information visit:
The University of Waikato Centre for Continuing Education is hosting a series of lectures examining the restoration of Hamilton’s Gullies each Thursday night from 9-23 February. Members of the Hamilton City Council have joined University of Waikato graduates, scientists and experienced gully restorers. The Thursday 23 February  session will discuss ‘how to restore’. The one-hour lectures take place each Thursday in Waikato Management School, MSB.1.05, starting at 7pm.

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