Media Advisory November 4

Tomorrow (November 5) the University of Waikato will host year 10 students from seven Waikato/Bay of Plenty schools - Tauranga Girls’ College, Tauranga Boys’ College, John Paul College, Papamoa College, Matamata College, Pukekohe High School and Manurewa High School - at an open day. Students will be involved in two interactive sessions and will also be able to attend a mini-lecture. Mini-lecture topics include “Game development: a new golden age for indie developers” and “Waikato in Antarctica: Study, research and edutainment”. The open day runs from 9.45am until 2pm. 

Waikato University’s Te Kotahi Research Institute (TKRI), in conjunction with the Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori office, are hosting two highly regarded Native American scholars who are giving a public lecture this month at Waikato University. Professor Karina Walters and Associate Professor Gregory Cajete will present in their speciality areas including historical trauma, traditional knowledge and wellbeing. Both scholars are being brought to New Zealand by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, a Centre of Research Excellence funded by the Tertiary Education Commission, to be a part of their international review board. They will both be hosted by Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development before their public lecture on campus. The public lecture will run from 10am to 12.30pm on Friday, November 15 at S block, room 1.02. To register, email

The inaugural Louise Cairns Award for Contribution to Rail Safety in New Zealand was presented to University of Waikato PhD student Helen Clark at the TrackSAFE launch at Parliament recently. The launch marked the formal amalgamation between the Chris Cairns Foundation and Australian Harm Prevention Charity TrackSAFE. Helen won a $5000 grant that she will use towards her PhD. Helen is researching the factors affecting the perception of a train’s travelling speed. Her study builds on her Master’s research which found that observers consistently perceive trains as travelling slower than smaller vehicles even when a train is travelling at the same speed or faster - a visual illusion of speed due to its size. Helen’s PhD study will investigate why this occurs and consider what potential strategies could be used to combat or reduce this visual illusion, by exploring both educational avenues and physical modifications to road/rail intersection junctions.

A day-long Pacific Research Conference being held at the University of Waikato in November will have a firm eye on the future as it tackles three themes of increasing importance to the Pacific region. The inaugural Kiwa’s Colloquium will be held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on November 12. The symposium will focus on three key topics: climate change and the Pacific; the Pacific and higher education and working for the Pacific. Pacific students will also be presenting their research at the symposium, with eight students selected to compete for five research grants, and a Pacific artist will install an original piece during the day which will be an interpretation of the value of generative talanoa for problem solving. Registration for the symposium is free, although numbers are limited. For more details visit the symposium page.

The arrival of visitors is an important moment for people of many cultures. Custom dictates they be welcomed and fed, often with the best offerings available. Failure to provide the appropriate level of hospitality can be seen as an unforgivable slight on the host and an insult to the visitor. This traditional view of hospitality has changed markedly over time and those changes - and the implications of them - will be the subject of a public lecture by visiting British academic Alison Phipps. Professor Phipps is from the University of Glasgow where she is Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, and Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network. In 2012 she received an OBE for Services to Education and Intercultural and Interreligious Relations. Professor Phipps’ lecture, Hospitality and Occupation, takes place in lecture theatre SG.02 at 5.30pm on Tuesday 12 November.

Over the past 30 years, legislation and judge-made law affecting Māori has proliferated. In this New Zealand is unique. No other Western country has embraced indigeneity in law to the same extent. Everything from the legal status in general law of tikanga Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi, to the enforceability of aboriginal rights and title has been the subject of judicial pronouncement in the strictly common law realm. Judges have been active in Maorifying judicial process too. The introduction of Māori language openings and closings in the District Courts, and the judicial creation of special kaupapa Māori sentencing courts are examples of this phenomenon. In the more dynamic field of Parliamentary law, Māori considerations, processes, and even decision-makers have been inserted into statutes in family, criminal, environmental, hazardous substances and local government law, and in conservation, marine management, antiquities, and trademarks to name a few of the more high profile areas. Guest speaker The Honourable Justice Joseph Williams will make suggestions about drivers for change and expansion heading into the future in this increasingly important area of New Zealand law. The lecture is on Thursday, November 7 at 6.15pm in the PWC lecture theatre, Hillcrest Road, University of Waikato.

Psychology student Samantha Brennan is undertaking New Zealand’s first study on shame and resilience for her PhD at Waikato University. Brennan is conducting a series of interviews with Pākehā New Zealanders over the age of 18 who identify with the topic and are will to discuss their experiences with shame. Established research has found that shame is a contributing factor in many psychological and health problems that affect New Zealanders - depression, anxiety and stress to name a few. Her PhD is titled ‘Shame and resilience among Pākehā New Zealanders’ and she hopes that her research will ultimately help more New Zealanders to achieve resilience in their lives. The mother of two has found through her interview discussions that we may actually need shame. She says shame can cause people to question their identity which in turn strengthens character.

It was standing room only for attendees wanting to hear Waikato researchers talk about the New Zealand experience of ecological restoration at the World Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration in Wisconsin, USA, last month. After a practise run symposium to a 100-strong audience at Waikato University’s Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, researchers from Waikato University, Waikato Regional Council, NIWA, and Landcare Research travelled to the US to repeat “the Waikato story” to an international audience. They presented 10 coordinated talks on projects to restore Waikato rivers, lakes and coastal and marine ecosystems, as well as on research to restore, manage and monitor terrestrial biodiversity in urban and rural areas. Director of the University’s Environmental Research Institute, Professor Bruce Clarkson, who has just returned from the trip, says the level of interest generated for New Zealand was very high.

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