Media Advisory April 28

Waikato University gears up for Open Day

Time travel, bats and tween culture – an odd mixture, but all are part of mini-lecture topics to be featured at this year’s University of Waikato Open Day on Friday, May 16. The annual event, which is free and open to the public, is designed to showcase the qualifications, academic excellence, student support, facilities and lifestyle the university offers students. Thousands of students come to the Hamilton campus every year from Taranaki, Gisborne, Northland, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay to attend Open Day. Throughout the day, prospective students have the chance to try their hand at science experiments, take part in tours around the halls and campus, and talk to staff and students about study options. Open Day is also an opportunity for others who may want to commence their studies in the July or November intakes. For more information about Open Day visit www.waikato.ac.nz/events/openday/ Open Day is followed this year by Community Open Day on Saturday, May 17.

Waikato University to host first Community Open Day

The University of Waikato will be opening its doors to young and old on Saturday, May 17 as it hosts its first Community Open Day. As part of the University’s 50th celebrations this year, the Saturday event is a family-friendly public showcase of the university’s facilities, campus, research and history. It takes place the day after university’s annual recruitment Open Day for prospective students and their families (Friday, May 16). Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says Community Open Day is an opportunity for the public to see first-hand what the university offers. Community Open Day will see the campus broken into ‘themed hubs’ that will feature a variety of activities, interactive exhibits and demonstrations. Mini-lectures and tours around the campus will also be available on the day, which runs from 11am-4pm. It is followed by a function for alumni. More information can be found at www.waikato.ac.nz/50/community-open-day.shtml 

New coastal research centre agreement signed

A statement of intent to establish a new coastal biotechnology research centre with bases in both Tauranga and China has been signed by the University of Waikato and Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The two institutions intend to establish the China-New Zealand Coastal Biotechnology Joint Research Centre, which would aim to integrate China and New Zealand's coastal biotechnology research experts. It would also aim to align more effectively administration sections, investors, industry and international businesses especially in China and New Zealand. The Centre’s research fields will focus on biomedicinal and agrichemical discovery and development, aquaculture, and environmental bioremediation and restoration.

Law schools to work closer together after signing

The University of Waikato’s Te Piringa - Faculty of Law has signed a letter of intent with the School of Law at China’s Yantai University. The agreement was signed by University of Waikato Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones during a visit to China in April and sets out ways in which the two institutions will explore opportunities for cooperation. The agreement also opens the door for students to study at each other’s law school. Professor Jones says the letter of intent further strengthens the University of Waikato’s already strong links with international universities and will create opportunities for researchers and students from both countries.

New partnership boosts hockey

The University of Waikato and the Home of Cycling Charitable Trust’s Avantidrome have partnered to launch the 2014 University of Waikato Under 21 Midlands hockey teams. The official launch takes place tonight (Monday April 28) at the Avantidrome. The aim behind the collaboration is to link two high performing organisations and New Zealand’s newest high performance centre to inspire championship results and a future set of national representatives. The University of Waikato is the tertiary partner for the newly opened Avantidrome and has testing facilities and staff based at the Cambridge centre. University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones says he believes the long-term future of New Zealand sport will be driven by partnerships – between local authorities, education institutions, sporting organisations and private funders.

Government legislation needed for business sustainability

A multi-pronged analysis of New Zealand businesses and their commitment to sustainability reveals many businesses will commit to sustainability only if the government legislates. Researchers at the University of Waikato have been examining the vulnerability of New Zealand’s global environmental positioning and find that even though the country’s clean, green brand is fragile, committing to sustainability practices long-term is not something businesses will readily take up. Even when businesses recognise they can save money long-term by reducing waste and energy use for example, they don’t action it, says Professor Juliet Roper who led the Marsden-funded study. She says it may not please everybody, but we need government regulations to maintain our clean green image because businesses are increasingly at risk of suffering a legitimacy gap as the country’s lack of environmental protection becomes an issue for consumers internationally.

Painting to commemorate Antarctic soil research 

A painting depicting the first-ever Antarctic expedition dedicated to exploring Antarctic soils was gifted to the University of Waikato recently at an event held to celebrate 44 years of Earth sciences research and to commemorate the University’s 50thanniversary. The painting features soil scientists Dr Graeme Claridge and Emeritus Professor John McCraw. Prof McCraw went on to become the founding professor and head of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Waikato in 1970. In the painting the two scientists are pictured standing outside a makeshift shelter at New Harbour, Taylor Valley, Antarctica, in the summer of 1959/1960. Undertaken under the auspices of DSIR Soil Bureau, soils were mapped and sampled in Taylor Valley and investigated at a number of sites on the Ross Sea coast. Artist Hansen Ihle was a part-time Earth sciences student at Waikato University from 2003-2014. Encouraged by Dr Megan Balks, a lecturer in the department, Hansen worked with Prof McCraw to bring the painting to life from a copy of a black and white photo taken during the expedition.

Waikato University supports business startup competition

The University of Waikato is getting behind local entrepreneurs as sponsor of the 2014 INNES48 Business Startup Competition. Taking place on May 2-4, the weekend-long business competition will enable budding entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into a business reality. Fifteen teams will have just 48 hours to create a business model and pitch the idea to a panel of judges. The sponsorship is part of the University of Waikato’s ongoing commitment to supporting innovative activities in the region. 

Conservation focus for Waikato University scholarship

University of Waikato Biological Sciences student Bridgette Moffat has been awarded the 2014 Tess Embling Memorial Scholarship. The $1500 scholarship was established to commemorate the spirited life and achievements of Tess Embling, who, after establishing a successful career in IT, made a brave move to pursue her love of nature through a science degree at the University of Waikato. She lost a battle with cancer in 2010. Bridgette’s honours research project will focus on two unrelated aspects of conservation biology; kiwi breeding and deterring pests. The former Sacred Heart Girls’ College student says the research could potentially be beneficial for endangered species recovery programmes and aid management of predator proof sanctuaries.

New Zealand’s first halal tourism symposium

High-level government, tourism and academic professionals from New Zealand and overseas will gather in Hamilton this week to discuss the potential and development of halal tourism in New Zealand. The inaugural symposium, to be held at the Novotel Tainui Hotel on Wednesday April 30, is a new initiative put together by the University of Waikato’s Institute for Business Research in collaboration with the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), the University of Canterbury’s College of Business and Law, Ministry of Business Employment and Innovation, Inside Tourism, Tourism Industry Association New Zealand, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism and Aotea Souvenirs. Its purpose is to connect New Zealand with trade opportunities in halal tourism and hospitality, and more than 100 key members from the government sector, the tourism and hospitality industry, airlines, and academics interested in the field, have been invited to attend the one-day event. 

Waikato Management School to host global leaders forum

The move towards building a more entrepreneurial economy within New Zealand and establishing stronger partnerships with important players in international markets requires people to lead in multi-cultural and multi-geographical environments. The University of Waikato Management School has recognised this need for developing global leaders and will host a Global Leadership Forum on Monday May 12 targeting corporates in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and South Auckland regions, as well as University of Waikato alumni and staff. The forum is being held at Claudelands Events Centre in Hamilton and will provide participants with key insights designed to provoke, challenge, inform and inspire new perspectives for developing their leadership capability. There will also be opportunities to mix informally with keynote speakers and leaders in key industry sectors, including Unilever Europe President and university alumnus Jan Zijderveld; Executive Director of Hawkins Construction, Jim Boult and Founding Partner of Chen Palmer Public and Employment Law Specialists, Mai Chen. 

Facial masking in Parkinson’s disease

People with Parkinson’s disease often suffer hypomimia, more commonly known as facial masking. It’s a lack of mobility of the facial muscles and is one of the lesser acknowledged symptoms of the disease. Waikato University psychology student Adrienne Wootton is studying hypomimia for her PhD and would like to talk to people with the disease, their carers or other people they are close to. With the information she gathers she will then go on to identify interventions to mitigate the psychological and social impacts of masking and determine how valuable those interventions might be. Adrienne’s study is supported by a Bryant Trust Postgraduate Research Scholarship and a Waikato University doctoral scholarship.

Visiting academics tackle food security issues

Like New Zealand, agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy and sustainable agriculture is essential to ensure food security to more than 300 million of India’s poor. Two visiting academics from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, professors Rajendra Singh and Manoj Kumar Tiwari, will give a public lecture on sustainable food security in India focussing on technological interventions for production, processing and logistics. The lecture, hosted by the Institute of Business Research (IBR) at Waikato University Management School, takes place on Tuesday May 13 at 6pm at the Academy of Performing Arts. Dr Surya Pandey from IBR says the IIT team is in New Zealand to work with academics here on a university-wide strategic project called Key Capacity and Research Development in Logistics, Supply Chain Management and Agribusiness. He says their lecture will also have relevance to New Zealand and will cover opportunities for the Waikato region, especially in agribusiness and supply chain management.

Waikato youth biodiversity day a hit

Frodo the morepork, a hive of bees, a tree-climbing demo and talks from young biodiversity enthusiasts made for a great day out for 60 youngsters recently. The occasion was the Pukemokemoke Youth Biodiversity Day, an event hosted by the Waikato Biodiversity Forum and held at the Pukemokemoke Bush Reserve, 20 minutes northeast of Hamilton. Staff and students from the University of Waikato’s School of Science were involved in the event which was tipped as the first- ever youth-focused biodiversity event of its type in the region. The focus for the day was promoting interest in local flora and fauna and inspiring students to pursue careers in conservation.

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