Media Advisory October 1


Professor Cam Nelson received the University of Waikato Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Kudos Awards for his outstanding contribution to science. He joins three other University of Waikato staff who were honoured at the 2012 awards. The Kudos Science Excellence Awards celebrate scientific excellence and achievement in the Waikato. The lifetime achievement award acknowledges a scientist who has made a major contribution to science of relevance to the Waikato region and to the international profile of New Zealand science. Professor Nelson was a young PhD geology graduate from Auckland when he was recruited by University of Waikato founding science Professor John McCraw in 1971 to develop and teach courses in geology at undergraduate and graduate levels. He began working at the university at a time when earth sciences was just becoming part of the New Zealand vocabulary. He was named a professor in 1991, and served as department chairperson for almost a decade (1988-96). Also acknowledged at the awards were science and engineering staff Dr Mike Duke, whose research incorporating new technology into roofing materials won him the Hill Laboratories Science Entrepreneur Award, and fresh-water scientist Professor David Hamilton who won the Environmental Science Award. University sustainability coordinator Rachael Goddard won the Wintec Secondary Science Teacher/Educator/Communicator Award. The University of Waikato is a gold partner of the Kudos Awards and sponsors the Lifetime Achievement Award.


A Waikato academic is providing a new approach for becoming a ‘global citizen’. Professor Tina Besley, Director of the University of Waikato’s Centre for Global Studies in Education, says despite the best efforts of various institutions, global citizenship is not yet a reality. “Recent incidents such as the explicit anti-Westernism expressed by much of the Muslim world over one rogue filmmaker’s action, and the simmering issues between Māori and others in New Zealand over the notions of ‘ownership’ and ‘rights’, show that there is still plenty of work to be done in addressing issues of interculturalism and dialogue.” She says schools and universities promote global citizenship to their students through emphasising themes such as social justice, diversity, human rights and sustainable development, while corporations emphasise the global marketplace, international management strategy, cultural competencies and business ethics. Professor Besley will discuss the topic further at her free Inaugural Professorial Lecture next week, 6pm, Tuesday 9 October, at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the university’s way of formally introducing new or recently appointed professors to the wider community.


The annual University of Waikato Lilburn Trust Student Composition Awards take place this Friday, 5 October, at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Current music students will compete for the composition award. The competition is open to any student who is, or has been, enrolled in a music course this year at the university. Associate Professor Martin Lodge says several past winners have gone on to further success as composers, having works played at international festivals and by professional orchestras. “Although the awards evening has a competitive format, the main aim is to perform and celebrate the work of young composers in a concert focusing on variety and excitement.” The awards are funded by the Lilburn Trust which was founded by New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn to support and promote New Zealand music. This year’s adjudicator is the senior New Zealand composer and multimedia artist Susan Frykberg. The Lilburn Trust Student Composition Awards Concert is 5 October, at 7pm, at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Tickets are $10 adults and $5 students at the door.


Last year’s Th3sis in 3 winner Debrin Foxcroft heads to Queensland this month to compete in the trans-tasman final of Th3sis in 3. The idea of a three-minute-thesis presentation originated at the University of Queensland in 2008 and has since gained popularity in Australia and New Zealand as a way for postgraduate research to be promoted in an accessible format. Debrin’s subject, Justice versus Democracy, looks at the consequences of granting amnesty for crimes committed by the state or against the state. As part of her research she interviewed the first democratically elected president of Chile, 92-year-old Patricio Alwin. The trans-tasman final is an invitation-only event and takes place at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, on Thursday 11 October, from 3-5pm. A live-stream of the final will be available on the University of Queensland website.


Waikato University is hosting a range of events during October as part of its annual Postgraduate Month. Kicking off the month is the Postgraduate Information Evening this Wednesday 3 October which is aimed at people considering postgraduate study. The information evening, which begins at 5.30pm and is held in the MSB foyer in the Waikato Management School, is an opportunity for potential doctoral candidates to find out what is involved in postgraduate study at Waikato University. Other events during the month include workshops for students new to postgraduate study, those midway through or finishing their research, and those starting their careers outside academia. Staff workshops are also being held for doctoral supervisors and exam conveyors. Back again is the ever-popular Thesis in 3 competition which sees doctoral students outline their theses in just three minutes and carries a $5000 prize to go towards their research. For more information visit


This month the Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues Awards celebrate high-achieving students who excel in sports and the creative and performing arts. The Blue is a prestigious award for excellence in sport or creative and performing arts and recognises national excellence through to world champions. Thirty six University of Waikato students will be recognised for their athletic achievements this year, alongside 16 students who are achieving in the creative and performing arts world. Among the awards to be given out will be the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, Māori Person of the Year and Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year. The Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues take place on October 12 at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. For more information visit


The University of Waikato has been offering performance music courses for 25 years and to celebrate is hosting two public concerts this month – a variety showcase that will feature past and present music students and a gala concert where Music Programme staff will perform – including New Zealand Chamber Soloists, Dame Malvina Major and composers David Griffiths, Martin Lodge and Michael Williams. “We’ve come a long way in 25 years, and we’re still growing,” says Programme Convenor Associate Professor Martin Lodge. “Every member of staff is a practitioner – a professional composer, a professional performer or a published musicologist. Our focus has always been on quality – that’s what we’re good at.” Dr Lodge says they place a lot of emphasis on benchmarking what they do to a strong international level, and on what it takes to achieve on the world stage. “Students need to realise that more than just technical expertise is needed to be a really successful, creative musician.” For the 25th celebrations, the student and alumni Variety Showcase takes place Saturday 13 October, and the Gala Concert is on Sunday October 14. Both concerts will be held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts and tickets can be purchased there or from Ticketek.


University of Waikato political science Professor Dan Zirker will hold a public lecture this month discussing the significance of the upcoming United States election. Most New Zealanders are aware the November US election will be significant – New Zealand has close ties with the US government and people, and our countries have had close trade relations. Professor Zirker will outline the complex rules that govern US elections and address what this elections issue are and whether New Zealanders should be concerned. The lecture takes place on 16 October, in S.1.02, from 7-8.30pm, and is free and open to the public.


Cambridge University Physics Professor Sir Richard Friend will be speaking at the University of Waikato next week. He pioneered the study of organic polymers and electronic properties of molecular semiconductors and his work has led to the development of LEDs and photovoltaic cells used to develop flat panel displays and screens. He was knighted for his services to physics in 2003. As the 2012 Royal Society of New Zealand distinguished speaker, Sir Richard will be lecturing around New Zealand throughout the month and speaks at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at 7.30pm, Friday 12 October. The lecture is free and open to the public.


This month more than 600 University of Waikato students graduate with ceremonies scheduled for 16 October at the Te Kohinga Mārama Marae on the university’s Hamilton campus and at Hamilton’s Claudelands Arena on 17 October. The Marae graduation begins at 9.30am. There will be two ceremonies held at Claudelands and they will start at 10am and 2pm, covering all schools of study and level of achievement. A schedule for the Hamilton graduations is available online.

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