Media Advisory February 17

Orientation activities get underway at the University of Waikato with a pōwhiri on February 26 at Te Kohinga Mārama Marae on campus to mark the beginning of the academic year. On February 27, international students will take part in an Amazing Race event around the campus. To celebrate the University’s 50th anniversary this year, on March 4 about 300 students and staff will put on red t-shirts and form a number 50 on the grass which will be photographed from above. From March 2 Waikato Students’ Union begins its ORI2014 programme with the annual pool party to kick off a week that includes bands, performances, comedians, bodypainting, the meat pie mile, a movie on the Village Green, prize giveaways, Zombie Zumba and a mini-Olympics. A highlight of the festivities will be the Clubs Day on March 5 where student clubs will showcase a diverse range of interests, including languages and culture, sports and hobbies, politics and academic pursuits. On March 8, the University and WSU will jointly host their first family day targeting students with young families with a picnic, a magician and some games and giveaways. For more information, visit For more on WSU ORI2014, visit

A group of Waikato University researchers is looking at ways to take science and technology out of the “too hard basket” and get people talking and more engaged. Management communication Professor Debashish Munshi and political science Associate Professor Priya Kurian are hosting an international symposium today and tomorrow which they hope will help to re-shape public engagement on potentially controversial new and emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and assisted reproductive technologies. The symposium will bring together people researching in various disciplines, including science and technology, social sciences, the arts, humanities, public policy and communication. The symposium is on February 17 and 18 is funded by a Marsden grant. Speakers include award-winning physics professor Shaun Hendy from the University of Auckland, eminent indigenous scholar Dr Kim Tallbear from the University of Texas and Professor John Dryzek from Australian National University who’s an expert on democratic governance. Topics will cover energy and environmental science, reproductive technologies, laws and ethics around new science, communicating science, indigenous views on new technologies, and citizen and stakeholder engagement.

The University of Waikato is partnering with local running club Hamilton City Hawks to host a series of 5km run and walk events on campus. The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Roy Crawford, says with the University celebrating its 50th anniversary, the run/walk series is another way to engage with the local community, and to show how the University is a vibrant part of the community. The event starts today (Monday, February 17) and runs through to April 7. The 5km course is on and around the University’s campus, starting and finishing near the Village Green. Hamilton runners and walkers will be familiar with other Hawks runs. During daylight saving the club organises the Eastside Tavern 5k along the Waikato River on Tuesdays and the Smith and McKenzie run in Chartwell on Wednesdays. Registration for each campus event is from 5pm each Monday from today (February 17) to April 7, with a race start time of 6pm for runners, and walkers starting any time after they’ve registered. A $5 entry fee gains entrance to the event and a glass of beer, cider, house wine or a non-alcoholic drink at Momento Lakes at the end. Spot prizes are awarded each evening. For more information contact

The University of Waikato is offering its Data Mining with Weka MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) for a second time. The open source software, Weka (Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis), was developed at WaikatoUniversity and has been downloaded nearly 5 million times since 2000. Computer Scientist Professor Ian Witten says anyone dealing with data needs to understand the principles of data mining but they don’t need the ‘dirty details’ and he thinks that’s what makes Weka so appealing. The MOOC starts in March, will run for five weeks and cover statistics, the principles of algorithms, different representations for data and its evaluation – how to apply data mining to answer a specific question. Professor Witten is also planning a more advanced data mining MOOC for April this year. Visit for more information.

This page has been reformatted for printing.