Media Advisory March 25

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 taking place tomorrow. 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’, starts at 6pm, 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.

The University of Waikato held its annual Stakeholder Breakfasts this past week to link with business and community leaders from around the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. Stakeholder Breakfasts are an initiative to keep wider community leaders up to date with what is going on at the University of Waikato. The first was held on the university’s Hamilton campus at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on Tuesday, and was followed by a Bay of Plenty Stakeholders Breakfast at the Trinity Wharf in Tauranga two days later. Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford spoke about the financial performance of the university and how student numbers were looking for 2013, among other highlights from the past year. He revealed that in the last year the university reached a financial surplus of $8.8m and spoke about the numerous revenue streams that make up the university’s balance sheets. It was encouraging that there had been increases in the number of new students said Professor Crawford. Another achievement was that the Times Higher Education had named the University Waikato as being in the top 2% of universities worldwide, said Professor Crawford. The University of Waikato was ranked number 302 in the world, and made it into the Top 100 universities less than 50 years old.

Composer Professor John Psathas will be presenting his recent work at the University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music's annual research seminar series today, Monday 25 March. The presentation will include Professor Psathas' interest in transcribing music from less familiar cultures as an alternative means of learning. Born in New Zealand to Greek immigrant parents, he grew up in Taumaranui and Napier, and today is one of New Zealand's highest profile composers with a number of film scores, albums and awards to his name. He is best known for writing music for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Olympic Games and more recently an acclaimed orchestral soundtrack for the film Good for Nothing. Fellow composer Associate Professor Martin Lodge has known John Psathas since their student days. He says John's presentation is sure to be intensely interesting for anyone interested in the way different strands of music are increasingly interweaving these days. Professor Psathas' presentation takes place today, Monday 25 March, in room IG.09 at 1pm. The presentation is open to the public and free.

From the Rena to algal biofuels to marine biodiscovery – today’s Café Scientifique in Tauranga will discuss the University of Waikato's current research in and around the Bay of Plenty. Chair of Coastal Science at the University of Waikato, Professor Chris Battershill will give an update on diverse areas of research effecting both environmental and human health. Findings from the latest surveys on kaimoana from around the Bay and how the environment has responded to Rena will be summarised, as well as new work being launched this year in the area of biodiscovery - in particular, research into seaweed-sourced agrichemicals and biofuels, and pharmaceutical development. Café Scientifique is a forum for exploring 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. The Café Scientifique series is organised by Julia and Warren Banks and supported by the University of Waikato. It aims to promote public engagement and make science accessible. Today’s Café is at Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga, starting at 7.15pm. For more information visit: or email

South Waikato farmer and environmentalist Gordon Stephenson, of Waotu, near Putaruru, will receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Waikato for his lengthy and on-going contribution to the environment. Mr Stephenson established the QEII National Trust in 1977 and became the first person to covenant land under the trust. He’s been on the national body of Federated Farmers and Forest and Bird and had leading roles in organisations such as the Waikato Conservation Board, the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, the New Zealand Landcare Trust and the South Island High Country Review Committee and instigated the Farm Environment Awards. In 1992 Mr Stephenson and his wife Celia were jointly awarded the Loder Cup, New Zealand’s most prestigious conservation award and in 1998 he became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Mr Stephenson is a Distinguished Life Member of Forest and Bird, an Honorary Member of Rotary and an honorary kaumatua at Pikitu Marae, Waotu. Mr Stephenson will receive his Honorary Doctorate at the University of Waikato’s graduation ceremony at Claudelands Events Centre on April 16.

New York-based New Zealand artist Max Gimblett will talk about his life and work at a free public lecture at the University of Waikato on Wednesday. Gimblett’s work, influenced by American Abstract Expressionism and traditional Asian art, particularly ink painting and calligraphy, is exhibited in museums and held in private collections around the world. In the lecture, Gimblett will discuss his 50 years of studio practice, his belief in spiritual values and his spiritual and artistic teachers. He’s a lay Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk. He’s also running a series of sumi ink workshops in Hamilton. Sumi-e is an ancient from of Japanese ink brush painting rooted in Zen Buddhism. The public lecture takes place at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts this week, on Wednesday 27 March at 6pm. The workshops are on twice a day at the Academy from 26-28 March and cost $80. To register for the workshops phone 07 838 4500 or email

Former Waikato Diocesan School for Girls head prefect Morgan Fahey has been awarded the Edna Waddell Undergraduate Scholarship for Women in Technology and Engineering. Morgan is studying towards a Bachelor of Engineering in Materials and Processing. The Edna Waddell scholarships are worth $5000 and aimed at women entering their first year of full-time study for an undergraduate degree in engineering or technology. They are administered by Universities New Zealand.

The University of Waikato will host thousands next week 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. The University of Waikato is once again a strategic partner of Balloons Over Waikato, now in its 12th year.

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