Media Advisory June 9

Ideas for improving water quality

A mutual interest in contributing to – and growing – New Zealand’s agricultural sector is behind a strategic partnership between two regional organisations. The University of Waikato is into its eighth year as a strategic partner of the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek. The University has embraced the theme of this year’s Fieldays - ‘Managing Resources for a Competitive Advantage’ – by focussing on one of the key resources in need of careful management, fresh water. Its stand in the Premier Feature highlights researchers’ work in a diverse range of areas to protect, preserve and improve not only the quantity of fresh water available but the quality of that water too. Waikato Management School Professor Les Oxley is speaking at Fieldays on how providing incentives to farmers not to pollute could be more effective than fining them when they do. He says one way to tackle fresh water pollution would be to create a set of incentives that encouraged people not to pollute waterways. For more on the University’s involvement in Fieldays, visit

Discover the Waikato AgriHub

Nearly 200 business leaders in the agricultural sector are attending an agribusiness forum hosted by the University of Waikato on the eve of Fieldays (5pm-7pm, June 10) to hear about developments in the establishment of a Waikato Agricultural Hub to help deliver on Government’s goal to double the value of New Zealand’s exports by 2025. The forum, “Discover the Waikato AgriHub”, will be held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts and opened by the Mayor of Hamilton Julie Hardaker. Speakers will include AgResearch Chief Executive Tom Richardson, DairyNZ Chief Executive Tim Mackle, and Waikato University’s Professor of Agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth. 

Making, shaking and breaking – Professor Pickering talks materials

From the houses we live in and the cars we drive, to the computers and smartphones we use, much of our daily activity, comfort level and even happiness relies on our interaction with materials. In her Inaugural Professorial Lecture this month, Professor Kim Pickering from the University of Waikato’s School of Engineering will use examples from her career to demonstrate how materials science and engineering is a key driver for technological development and national economic success. Professor Pickering’s background is in electronic materials and composites, including modelling the failure of composite materials and natural fibre composites. Her research includes projects such as the quick repair of carbon fibre epoxy aircraft structures, infra-red thermal imaging systems, natural fibre composites (wood, hemp, harakeke, wool and feathers) and 3D-printing with composite material. Her lecture will focus on elements of past and current research, as well as some “crystal-ball gazing” for future developments. Professor Pickering’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture, Making, Shaking and Breaking, is on Tuesday, June 17 at 6pm in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The lecture is free and open to the public. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the University’s way of presenting new or newly promoted professors to the wider public.

High school students to experience biology at Waikato

Workshops and lectures mixed with some of the tried and trusted favourites is the plan for this year’s Waikato Experience Biology (WEB) Days, to be held this week at the University of Waikato. About 600 Year 12 and 13 secondary school students from throughout the central North Island are expected attend the annual two-day biology event. Students will attend a seminar on human evolution, based on the School of Science’s collection of hominid skulls, an interactive lab session, and a series of lectures, including a lecture that will discuss controversies related to appetite regulation, from fad diets to ‘wonder drugs’. The event is on June 10-11 at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus.

Physics and engineering on show at Waikato this week

Eager secondary school students from around the central North Island will visit the University of Waikato this week for the 28th annual Osborne Physics and Engineering (OsPEn) Days. Talks and practical demonstrations will give students the opportunity see how the physics they are learning at school can be used in the wider world. A highlight of the event will be the Model Car Speed Competition. Participating schools have been sent a 3-volt electric motor and a set of nylon gears for students to work on in teams. Their aim is to design and build a small battery-powered model car that can travel a distance of five meters up a 4° inclined plane. The winning vehicle will travel the full distance up the ramp in the fastest time. Lectures on the days will cover topics such as automotive engineering, the Doppler effect, how ultrafast broadband works and the physics involved when musical instruments make sound. The event is on June 12-13 at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus.

Study questions answered at university information sessions

The University of Waikato has three Hamilton information sessions coming up where faculty staff and recruitment advisers will be available to answer questions about study, discuss study options and help potential students make plans for their futures. The information sessions are being held at Centreplace on June 12 from 9am-8pm and at the Student Centre on the University campus on June 18 and July 2 from 2pm-6pm. All are welcome.

Students on pathway to success

Thirteen University of Waikato students - including two Hillary scholars - are part of a new national sports programme designed to prepare them for life as high performance athletes. As part of the Pathway to Podium programme, they will receive early education in areas such as nutrition, mental skills and strength and conditioning training. The athletes will receive their own strength and conditioning programme, access to a gym and train with strength and conditioning experts. The national programme was launched at the Avantidrome near Cambridge last week. The Waikato hub – which kicked off with 27 athletes involved - will be managed by former Olympic cyclist Cath Cheatley, who is also a track world championship medallist and US Series Road Race Champion. The University students involved in the programme include Hillary scholars Nicole van der Kaay (triathlon) and swimmer Melita Raravula, along with Tom Smith (athletics) and rowers Christie Davis, Ben van Dalen, Cameron Bartley, Charles Rogerson, Jessica Ria, Joshua Earl, Logan Rodger, Peter Byllemos, Richard Power and Danelle Murphy.

Indonesian agreement opens doors

Indonesian students could be benefitting from studying at the University of Waikato following the signing of a significant agreement in Jakarta recently. On May 15, the University signed an agreement with Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture which opens the door for postgraduate and doctoral students to study in Hamilton. The agreement was signed by University Chancellor, the Rt Hon Jim Bolger, Professor Supriadi Rustad from Indonesia’s Directorate of Higher Education, and Indonesia’s Minister of Education and Culture Mohammed Nuh. University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says the agreement will bring long-term benefits to both Indonesia and New Zealand.

Japan trip to broaden horizons, boost economy

Three Honours students and a Teaching Fellow from the University of Waikato are among 10 young New Zealand multimedia specialists heading to Japan this month for a fully-funded trip aimed at raising the profile and understanding of Japan among young people. Students Kristy Wright, Stefan Dimitrof and Shawnee Kitson, along with Teaching Fellow Sean Castle, will spend 10 days in Japan from June 22 and visit businesses, government organisations and educational facilities as part of the JENESYS 2.0 programme, launched by the Japanese government last year. Costs for the visit are covered by the Japanese government, which intends offering the programme to up to 30,000 young people from the Asia/Oceania region.

Year 13 students to compete in chemistry challenge

Next week, 96 Year 13 chemistry enthusiasts from around the central North Island will descend on the University of Waikato for the NZIC Analytical Chemistry Competition. Twenty-four teams of four will be set an analytical task, requiring accurate and careful analysis of an unknown substance. The results will be judged, with prizes and trophies awarded on the day courtesy of the sponsors: the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry Waikato Branch, Hill Laboratories and the University of Waikato. The event will be held at Waikato University’s Hamilton campus, on Wednesday, June 18 from 9.30am–4pm.

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