Media Advisory March 20

Two major Waikato organisations are pooling their talent for the benefit of the region. The University of Waikato and the Waikato Regional Council have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the two organisations working together on areas of common interest including the promotion of the Waikato region, land and river management, agribusiness, natural hazards and coastal planning and management. University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says academics are often working in the same areas as regional council staff and it makes sense to work together in those areas to benefit the region. “Both parties have excellent staff who are often working towards the same end – this agreement allows us to better utilise available talent and work collaboratively to solve problems and make improvements,” he says. “It is the quality of talent that is key to working together under this agreement. Our academics are experts and world-leaders in many of the fields that are at the heart of the regional council’s work - we have a lot of regional, national and international expertise that we can share in the region.” Professor Crawford says the two organisations will consider making joint applications for funding for regional projects because a multi-disciplinary approach benefits residents and ratepayers.

Google software engineer and University of Waikato alumnus Dr Craig Nevill-Manning will be in Hamilton next month to talk about the lessons he’s learnt from working with technology companies in the U.S. that could help the fledgling New Zealand tech-industry. Dr Nevill-Manning will share success stories from the tech hubs of Silicon Valley and New York at the New Zealand Computer Science Research Student Conference, which is being held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts from 15-19 April. Dr Nevill-Manning, who will give the keynote address to PhD students and industry insiders from around the country on 16 April, helped organise the first NZCSRSC conference while he was a PhD student in 1992. Conference organiser and University of Waikato research fellow Craig Taube-Schock said getting a successful alumnus such as Craig Nevill-Manning as the keynote speaker is a coup. Dr Nevill-Manning was awarded a University of Waikato Distinguished Alumnus award in 2010.

High profile British legal expert, Lord Nicholas Phillips will give a free public lecture at the University of Waikato today (Monday 18 March), looking at the application of the European Convention on Human Rights. Lord Phillips has had a distinguished legal career which has included being Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and the first President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He is currently a Dixon Poon Distinguished Fellow and Visiting Professor at King's College, London, the President of the Qatar International Court and a judge on the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong. His lecture at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts will examine the approach taken towards the European Convention on Human Rights in Strasbourg and in the United Kingdom. More specifically, it will consider how the British Parliament has given domestic effect to the Convention under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the way in which the Supreme Court has interpreted the relevant provisions of that Act. The lecture begins at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at 6.15pm.

New Zealand’s drought has brought access to water into the spotlight. A visiting US law professor will give an insight to some of the water issues being faced in his country. Professor Kirk Samelson, a former criminal investigator for the US Air Force before he took up law, will give a free public lecture today at the University of Waikato, Tauranga looking at regulations on the use of water in the eastern United States and at water allocation in the semi-arid west, reservoir construction, water pollution and safe drinking water. The free and open lecture takes place today, Monday 18 March, 5.30-6.30pm, at the Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Road, Tauranga.

The founder of technology company Endace has been awarded the title of Emeritus Professor by the University of Waikato. Emeritus Professor Ian Graham received the title at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts last week. Emeritus Professor Graham’s career at the University of Waikato began as a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science in 1986. He was subsequently Chair of the Department in the late 1980s before becoming Dean of the then School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences in 1990, a position he held until 2003. In 2004 Emeritus Professor Ian Graham left to establish Endace, a company specialising in computer network monitoring, which he had founded in 2001 to commercialise research begun in the university’s Computer Science Department in 1995. Endace was sold to the US company Emulex several weeks ago. To be eligible for the title of Emeritus Professor, recipients must: Have held a professorship at the university for at least 10 years; Have made a significant contribution to the university’s activities; Have international credibility within an academic field and demonstrated outstanding academic leadership through activities such as a strong publication record, graduate supervision, innovation and entrepreneurship; Have concluded their career at the university.

Music student, Hillary Scholar and talented pianist Andrew Leathwick has taken top honors at the 46th annual National Concerto Competition, recently held in Christchurch. Andrew won first prize overall, performing Prokofiev Piano Concert No. 3, and also claimed both the People’s Prize (audience vote) and the Youth Jury Prize, taking home just over $7,000 in prize money. The whole experience was more like a performance than a competition for him he says. “I had a lot of my family travel down to support me, as well as having family from Christchurch attend. When I walked out on stage, I was able to just smile and enjoy it.” This year, Andrew is enrolled in a Bachelor of Music with honours degree at the University of Waikato, studying composition, and piano performance under piano teacher Katherine Austin. He is the third University of Waikato music student to win the competition in the last four years, with two cellists taking top prizes in previous years; Edward King in 2010, and Santiago Cañón Valencia more recently in 2012.  

Everyone can identify with a bit of writers’ block, but for some, this frustration can turn into what Professor of Education Michael A. Peters describes as ‘anxieties of knowing’, the topic of his Inaugural Professorial Lecture next week. A prolific writer, Professor Peters has been attempting to write a paper on these ‘anxieties of knowing’ for the past decade, but finds himself suffering from the very problem he is trying to address. “When you perform, you may suffer from performance anxiety,” he says. “In the same sense, when you are writing something that is going to appear in print, you wonder if it’s the best you can do. Some people get so anxious that they just can’t do it – in some instances it can become crippling, like a form of self-torture.” But it’s not all doom and gloom – he will explore the lighter side of these anxieties, drawing on the works of American film-maker and comedian Woody Allen, as well as philosophers Søren Kierkegaard and Jacques Derrida. Professor Peters’ inaugural professorial lecture, ‘Anxieties of Knowing: Academic Pathologies, Critical Philosophy and the Culture of Self’, takes place from 6pm on Tuesday 26 March in 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. All lectures are free and open to the public.

A University of Waikato alumnus will brave ice, snow, and altitude when he takes on the highest race in the world - the Tenzing Hillary Marathon. Qualified snowboard instructor, international level wake-boarder, action sports fanatic, and former Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar Chris Dunn will travel to Nepal in May to complete the marathon. The Tenzing Hillary Marathon starts on 29 May at Everest Base Camp (5364m) and travels 42km through the Himalayas to Namche Bazaar (3446m). The marathon was created to commemorate the first successful ascent of Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Ed in May 1953. Chris was a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar for two years. The University of Waikato is supporting Chris, helping cover his training costs and being in Nepal. The Sir Edmund Hillary scholarships are the University of Waikato’s most prestigious scholarship for students who are high academic achievers that are also achieving in the arts or sport and display leadership qualities. It was created to mirror the values of Sir Edmund Hillary.

Waikato University music graduate and Hillary Medalist Edward King returns from cello studies in Germany to perform at the lunchtime recital series this Wednesday 20 March. Held in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at the University of Waikato, Edward will be performing with his former teacher and mentor James Tennant and pianist Katherine Austin. “We will be performing works by Boccherini, Beethoven, Martinů and Farr, a mix of pieces from the Lutostawski competition, and from another international competition I am entering in May this year.” Edward recently competed in the Witold Lutostawski International Cello Competition in Warsaw, where he won third prize overall, and received a special prize for best performance of Sacher Variation, a solo composition of Lutostawski’s. The lunchtime recital series is held in the Concert Chamber at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, every Wednesday at 1pm and is open to the public. A $5 donation gains entry to see Edward perform on Wednesday 20 March.

An international post-viewing survey of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has already drawn a large international response on whether people's expectations were fulfilled and confirmed after seeing the movie. Lead researcher Dr Carolyn Michelle of the Audience Research Unit is hoping to now turn local attention to the questionnaire, with the DVD released today. Locally, The Hobbit has generated debate about the power of Hollywood to dictate terms and conditions in the local film industry – and wider. An industrial dispute during filming nearly derailed the project until the New Zealand government agreed to introduce new employment legislation, a controversial decision which drew widespread criticism. Now the film and DVD is out, the second phase of the survey, a post-viewing questionnaire is now available online. The survey is in the second part of a three phase project, the next of which is the launch of a multi-lingual survey.

The University of Waikato will host thousands next month during the annual Balloons Over Waikato ASB Nightglow on Saturday 6 April. The University of Waikato will host the annual Nightglow on the university field from 4-9pm. Thefestival, most of which takes place at Innes Common near Hamilton’s lake, takes place from 3-7 April, with the Nightglow taking place on the 6th. The University of Waikato is once again a strategic partner of Balloons Over Waikato, now in its 12th year.

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