Media Advisory April 2


The Canadian High Commissioner Caroline Chrétien visits Waikato University today, Monday April 2, to launch New Zealand’s first Canadian-New Zealand Studies Unit. The unit, based at Waikato University’s law faculty, will foster research related to Canada in all disciplines, host visiting scholars, attract and support Canadian students to New Zealand and vice versa and enhance cultural and intellectual links between the two countries. Te Piringa – Faculty of Law Dean Professor Brad Morse says the unit has the backing of the Government of Canada and is one of the many ways in which Waikato University is making important international connections. Ms Chrétien will also open an exhibition of Canadian photos from the Arctic previously shown at Te Papa. 


Former prime minister and practising barrister Sir Geoffrey Palmer will be at Waikato University’s Te Piringa – Faculty of Law on Wednesday to speak to staff and students about international dispute settlements. While at Waikato he will also talk to this year’s Law and Public Policy class about law reform. Sir Geoffrey was appointed as a law professor at Victoria University in 1974 and later went on to hold the offices of Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. Current Waikato law lecturer and former Attorney-General Professor Margaret Wilson says the faculty invited Sir Geoffrey to share his expertise, learnt through a lifetime of working in law reform. While at the university Sir Geoffrey will also meet staff researching international environment law – a continuing passion throughout his career. The lecture takes place on Wednesday April 4 at 1.10pm in S1.02.


Four University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholars have been named in the New Zealand Under 23 Rowing Squad. Returning scholars Finian Scott, Giacomo Thomas, Shaun Kirkham and new Hillary scholar Georgia Perry have been named in the squad to compete at the U23 World Champs in Lithuania this July. Finian Scott is looking forward to heading overseas with his Hebberley Shield and Great Race-winning team-mates Giacomo and Shaun. “This is a massive year for New Zealand rowers. We have the biggest ever team heading to the London Olympics, which provides a new kick of adrenaline and motivation for everyone else to charge on for the next Olympic cycle,” says Finian. For new Hillary Scholar Georgia Perry, 18, the jump from juniors to the U23 squad is an opportunity to establish herself in the U23 rowing squad. Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarships are the University of Waikato’s most prestigious scholarships and are awarded to students who are high academic achievers and are also achieving in the arts or sport.


Waikato MBA students put themselves and their business prowess in the spotlight last week, taking part in the first University of Waikato Management School Dragon’s Den competition. Like in the television programme, the 40 students from the university’s Centre for Corporate and Executive Education and the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development at Hopuhopu put their business ideas to the test in front of a panel of business leaders. Contestants had to develop an idea and prepare a business plan including strategic decision-making, managing staff and stakeholder relationships, sales and marketing, and financials. They also had to show an understanding of risk and how to measure it. Austen Clarke was part of one winning group Vext Ltd and said the Dragon’s Den competition was a great way to test the theory students had learnt in a real-world situation. Vext Ltd is a voice messaging app that allows instant messages to be left on any mobile device, without the recipient having to download the software. “For the Dragon’s Den presentation we had to write a 12,000 word report detailing almost every aspect of our business plan - there is no way we would have been about to put together the plan without what we’ve learnt doing the MBA and without help from the lecturers,” said Clarke. Puna Ora Ltd won the other session.


University of Waikato social scientist Professor Darrin Hodgetts says engaged research and meaningful relationships are key to solving many of the issues faced by New Zealand’s underclass. Professor Hodgetts has researched the experiences of marginalised groups in New Zealand and will discuss his research in his inaugural professorial lecture being held at the university this month. He says many of New Zealand’s services for the homeless reflect the assumptions of middle-class people rather than the lived realities and motivations of homeless people. “We don’t have adequate services or effective interventions for people who have a history of homelessness and unemployment,” says Professor Hodgetts. “The services work best for middle-class people who have fallen into homelessness. These people may have fallen on temporary hard times and are supported until they get back on their feet, which is great, but there are still plenty of people missing out.” Professor Hodgetts’ lecture, titled Working Towards a Socially Relevant, Responsive and Engaged Societal Psychology, takes place on Tuesday April 17 at 6pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Inaugural professorial lectures are the university’s way of formally introducing new and recently appointed professors to the wider community. Lectures are free and open to the public.


Following the grounding of the Rena last October, the Bay of Plenty witnessed an overwhelming response from residents to help clean up more than 1000 tonnes of oily waste from beaches. Tauranga’s next Cafe Scientifique, supported by the University of Waikato, will discuss what went on behind the scenes to make the volunteer initiative run smoothly. Bay of Plenty Regional Council Senior Land Management Officer Pim de Monchy was the volunteer coordinator during the response. In his talk, The Good Oil on the Rena Volunteer Experience, he will discuss the logistics involved in registering, training and communicating with thousands of people as the situation unfolded along the coastline. 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. It will be held today, Monday April 2, 6.45pm at Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. For more information visit:


This year’s Waikato University International Celebrity Showcase will feature London-based Australian pianist Piers Lane. He will play a solo concert at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on Friday April 13. Lane has a flourishing international career which has taken him to more than 40 countries and seen him share the stage with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and write and present more than 100 programmes for BBC Radio 3. He has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Griffith University in Queensland and been Artistic Director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music since 2007. Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts manager Jeremy Bell says Lane’s upcoming performance is testimony to the calibre of artists the International Celebrity Showcase concert continues to attract. In the past two years the International Celebrity Showcase concert has featured internationally-renowned pianists Nikolai Demidenko and Peter Jablonski.


Passion and hard work in cricket has won a former Whangarei student a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship from the University of Waikato. Ben Hyde, who started playing cricket when he was seven, has represented Northland in all age groups and is part of the Northern Districts U18 team. Last year he was named the Northern Districts Academy Player of the Year. The middle order batsman is one of 42 new Hillary scholars on Waikato University’s Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship Programme, which awards scholarships to academic high achievers who show significant leadership qualities and also excel in sport or in the creative and performing arts. “I’m looking forward to getting involved in the Hillary programme,” says Hyde. “It will be very useful and give me opportunities to develop my skills in cricket as well as help in my studies.” The Hillary Scholarships provide full university course fees while studying at Waikato, comprehensive support for the recipients’ academic, sporting and/or arts activities, and additional support in leadership and personal development. Hyde is in his second year of a Bachelor of Management Studies degree and has been named in the 20 man squad to play in the U19 Cricket World Cup in Australia in August.

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