Media Advisory September 9

The conflict in Syria has the potential to spread to the entire region and arming Syrian rebels is the best of a bad bunch of options, a University of Waikato law professor says. Professor Al Gillespie says while arming rebels was a risky proposition, it was preferable to other options such as direct military intervention or simply ignoring the ongoing conflict. The risk is another Afghanistan, he says. He says claims the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on its own people, if proven, would be the “biggest breach of international law in the last two decades”. “Ethically, we should do the right thing. The question is, what is the right thing?” Professor Gillespie is giving a free public lecture about Syria on Wednesday at 5.30pm at the PWC lecture theatre at Waikato Management School and again in Tauranga on Monday, 16 September at 6pm at the Bongard Centre, lecture theatre 106, 200 Cameron Road, Tauranga.

Waikato rowing crews dominated Sunday’s Great Race on the Waikato River with both the men’s and women’s eights winning their races. The men’s eight beat Cambridge and Sydney universities to take home the Harry Mahon Memorial Trophy. The Waikato men’s crew was Tobias Wehr-Candler, Paddy McInnes, Shaun Kirkham, Richard Harrison, Jade Uru, Fergus Fauval, Finn Howard, Mackenzie Mackie and coxswain Caleb Shepherd. It was Waikato University's eighth win in the 12th year of the event and was preceded by the women's crew taking the Bryan Gould Cup for a 10th time - their fourth successive triumph, beating Sydney and Melbourne universities. The women’s crew was Zoe Stevenson, Briar Murphy, Christie Davis, Tess Young, Kayla Pratt, Allie Smith, Georgia Perry, Jessica Loe and coxswain Caitlin Lawry.

Waikato University management students cleaned up at the international SDS business case competition held in Queenstown. They beat 11 other teams in the competition – from Otago, Auckland, Victoria, AUT and Canterbury universities plus teams from universities in China, Canada, Australia and Singapore. The Waikato team, all fourth-year honours students, were Isabelle Atherton, Stuart Barrass, Jamie Carson and Greg Johnston. Teams were given a business case and had five hours to develop a strategy that they then had to present to judges. They then had to respond to 10 minutes of questions by the judging panel. Students weren’t allowed to use the internet or contact anyone outside the room once given their case. They had to develop business strategies for the Otago Racing Club and Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company. In the third and final round of the competition, Waikato beat Otago, Auckland and Alberta (Canada).

Prominent academics, leaders and esteemed kaumātua from across the country will be hosted at the University of Waikato this Thursday (12 September) for the annual Kīngitanga Day. New Zealander of the year Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond will be one of the keynote speakers, along with Ngāi Tahu leader Sir Mark Solomon. A number of subjects will be discussed, from Māori involvement in the private military security industry to Māori in Australia. Lectures, seminars, performances and workshops will be running throughout the day on campus. A bus tour of significant sites around the region will also take place, including a tour of Tūrangawaewae Marae. Kīngitanga Day is free and runs from 10am to 4pm, Thursday 12 September campus-wide. A copy of the programme can be downloaded here.

The University of Waikato will present three alumni with Distinguished Alumni Awards next week. Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Marston Conder, Māori Land Court Judge Stephanie Milroy and Singaporean design-agency owner Edmund Wee will be officially recognised for their achievements on Friday September 20. Marston Conder completed his Masters in mathematics at Waikato before gaining his doctorate from Oxford University. Shortly after he began what would become a 30-year career at the University of Auckland, serving as Head of the Mathematics Department and as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research). Stephanie Milroy lectured in the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Law while studying for her Masters, and after graduating was appointed as a Judge to the Māori Land Court Bench and later Deputy Chair of the Waitangi Tribunal. Edmund Wee earned his Masters in psychology, returning to Singapore to work as a military psychologist before embarking on a career-change as a journalist and design editor. He now owns Singapore-based design and publishing agency Epigram.

Budding soil science students from the University of Waikato continue to benefit from DairyNZ funding, which has been provided over the past six years to increase research in the area of pastoral agriculture. The funding agreement began in 2007, providing support for a masters study of how nitrification inhibitors might alter de-nitrification in soil. Since that time the relationship has blossomed significantly and with six projects currently underway, DairyNZ has now contributed to the research of 17 Waikato students. Over the past six years, the industry organisation representing New Zealand dairy farmers, has allocated funds to Waikato University research, which is then distributed by Professor Louis Schipper to masters and PhD projects with direct relevance to DairyNZ’s goals around sustainable dairy farming. At undergraduate level, DairyNZ has also been generous in hosting visits to Scott Farm for Professor Schipper’s third-year soil science paper, allowing students to talk with DairyNZ staff.

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust will present a lecture at the University of Waikato on Wednesday 25 September. The lecture will outline the roles and responsibilities NZHPT has under the provisions of the Historic Places Act 1993 and how these are carried out using examples from the Waikato region. Staff from varied backgrounds will describe the work they undertake on a day-to-day basis, and how they interact with the public, local and other government agencies, marae, and landowners in their role of contributing to the preservation preserving heritage. The free lecture will be from 1pm-2pm on campus in room S.1.02.

A new compendium on Māori Customary Law, more than a decade in the writing, will have its official launch next month in Wellington. Te Matapunenga: A Compendium of References of the Concepts and Institutions of Māori Customary Law has been compiled and edited by Waikato’s Dr Richard Benton, Professor Alex Frame and Paul Meredith for the Te Matahauariki Research Institute at the University of Waikato. Published by Victoria University Press, the book is more than a dictionary; it sets out the terms and concepts of Māori customary law as they are recorded in traditional Māori accounts and historical records, along with modern interpretations of the terms and concepts and how these customary concepts have been recognised or modified since 1840 by the New Zealand legal system. Dr Benton says Te Matapunenga makes Māori language and concepts accessible to scholars, officials and the general public. The Wellington launch will be on October 14.

A University of Waikato masters student who works for the Department of Corrections, has won the 2013 International Literacy Day Award from the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults based at the University of Waikato. Rachel Bulliff, senior advisor, prison training works with the National Centre to embed literacy and numeracy into prison training programmes throughout New Zealand, and at the same time has been studying for her master’s degree in education. Embedded literacy and numeracy education is now delivered by prison instructors across a wide range of programmes and as at June this year, 1690 prisoners had taken part in trades training education embedded with literacy and numeracy. Rachel Bulliff says improving prisoner literacy and numeracy is one of the many initiatives helping Corrections reach its goal of reducing reoffending by 25% by 2017. Nominees for the literacy day award must have made a notable contribution to the field of adult literacy and/or numeracy that has sector, regional or national significance.

This page has been reformatted for printing.