Media Advisory September 15

University secures more than $35 million in MBIE research funding

The University of Waikato has received more than $35 million in the latest round of Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment new science research funding, claiming two of the top four amounts awarded. Waikato received funding for four of the 48 research projects totalling nearly $160 million (including GST) announced on September 11 by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce. The projects are: $12,223,770 - Dr Ryan Ko - Security Technologies Services in the Cloud. Research will focus on creating a suite of cyber-security tools to ensure security in the Cloud; $14,490,000 - Professor Brian Gabbitas - Titanium Technologies New Zealand (TiTeNZ). TiTeNZ is to develop a titanium research platform in New Zealand and create a multi-company, multi-sector manufacturing base for high value exports; $5,519,123 - Professor Jacques Poot - Capturing the Diversity Dividend of Aotearoa New Zealand (CaDDANZ). The research analyses demographic change in New Zealand; and $2,898,000 - Professor Craig Cary - Assessing Sensitivity to Change in the Dry Valleys. This research programme will address the challenge of conservation in the Dry Valleys in Antarctica.

Waikato men win but women lose in Gallagher Great Race

The University of Waikato men’s rowing eight, who lost a rower overboard, recovered to claim victory in the Gallagher Great Race on the Waikato River on Sunday. They clashed with the highly ranked Harvard University crew under the first bridge, with No 3 seat Richard Power tipped out of the boat. The judges ruled a re-start, giving Harvard a five second penalty, and the home crew dominated from that point to win the coveted Harry Mahon Memorial Trophy for the ninth time in 13 years. Meanwhile the visiting Washington University women’s crew came from behind to beat the Waikato University eight. Washington, who boasted three New Zealanders in their crew, won the Bryan Gould Cup after an outstanding performance, despite clipping two trees along the riverbank. The Gallagher Great Race pitted university crews from Harvard, Washington, Melbourne and hosts Waikato in the unique 3.8km upstream boat race.

Pacific graduate to receive Distinguished Alumni Award

One of the University of Waikato’s first Pacific graduates, Le Mamea Taulapapa Sefulu Ioane, will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award this week in recognition of his longstanding contributions to education in Samoa and New Zealand. Before enrolling at the University of Waikato in 1971, Le Mamea taught biology and mathematics at Hamilton’s Melville High School. He graduated from Waikato in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities. Two years later he graduated again with a Master of Arts, with first class honours in English Literature. In 1976, Le Mamea became the inaugural director of the Pacific Island Education Resource Centre, which was established to provide English language education, skill development and advice for recent migrants in preparation for work in New Zealand. The other DAA recipients are adventurer, management consultant and motivational speaker Jamie Fitzgerald, economist Dr Arthur Grimes and CEO of Waikato-Tainui Te Kauhanganui Parekawhia McLean. The University of Waikato’s Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2014 will be presented on September 19 at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.

Tauranga's Café Scientifique unveils electrical activity in the brain

Tonight Tauranga’s Café Scientifique will see Dr Marcus Wilson, Faculty of Science and Engineering from the University of Waikato explain how different patterns of electrical activity in the brain can be seen when someone is sleeping, thinking or under general anaesthetic. He will talk about what we know about electrical signalling, what this means and how it can be measured. Supported by the University of Waikato, Café Scientifique is a forum for discussing science issues, where anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. The Café is on tonight, September 15, 6.30pm for 7pm start at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Drive, Sulphur Point, Tauranga. Entry is $5 and refreshments are provided. For more information please visit:

Focus on fracking in law talk

A visiting law expert will use the controversial fracking process to demonstrate how the use of sustainable development law is evolving to deal with technological change. Professor Emeritus Charles Marvin from Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta will deliver his lecture tomorrow, September 16, at the University of Waikato. Professor Marvin is a widely published scholar in constitutional, administrative, comparative, public international, environmental and international trade law and is currently a visiting professor at Riga (Latvia) Graduate School of Law in Comparative Constitutional Law and International Trade Law. His lecture will explain how sustainable development laws are evolving to deal with changes in technology by using fracking as an example of a problematic economic activity. The lecture is on Tuesday, September 16 at 1pm in room A.G.11.

Kīngitanga Day celebrated this week

The University of Waikato celebrates Kīngitanga Day this Thursday, September 18. Kīngitanga Day is an annual event that recognises the university’s connection with Waikato-Tainui and the Kīngitanga and many other iwi. The day-long event has a range of activities including seminars, panel discussions and presentations from guest speakers and leading academics. This year’s keynote speaker is Dr Lance O’Sullivan, who will speak on “Advancing Māori Health from the Flax Roots”. Named 2014 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year, the Kaitaia-based GP is a passionate advocate for Māori health and a pioneer for equal healthcare in the community. Kīngitanga Day features food stalls, presentations, workshops, exhibitions, performances and activities. Activities are free and open to the public, with a gold coin donation for The Pā Boys screening. For more information visit

Waikato Dean to lead NZ Biological Heritage Science Challenge

Reversing the decline of New Zealand's biological heritage is the mission for a new multi-million dollar national research programme led by the University of Waikato’s Professor Bruce Clarkson. The New Zealand Biological Heritage Science Challenge, Ngā koiora Tuku Iho, is one of 10 national Science Challenges funded by the New Zealand government, designed to allow more strategic science investment with the aim of delivering major and ongoing benefits for New Zealand. A total of $25.8 million was recently committed to the challenge to cover research over the next five years. Dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering Professor Clarkson has been seconded as a full-time interim director for New Zealand’s Biological Heritage Science Challenge until December this year. The secondment will see Professor Clarkson set up the framework for the challenge, while allowing time for the group to recruit a permanent director. Hosted by Landcare Research, the research undertaken in this challenge will be designed to protect and manage New Zealand’s biodiversity, improve biosecurity and enhance the country’s resilience to harmful organisms.

Endangered bird may be more at home in lowland environment

A native bird long thought to be most at home in Fiordland tussock may actually be more comfortable in wetlands and a Waikato University student has won a scholarship to find out where takahe prefer to live. Masters student Tehani Withers has been awarded a $1500 Tertiary Achievement in Pacific Ako (TAPA) Award to research the habitat requirements of South Island takahe and is comparing open farmland scattered with few mixed gullies and small wetlands on Motutapu Island with the forest of Maungatautari. The aim of this comparative study is to create a template for takahe habitat requirements. This study will also consider whether takahe might also have lived in forested habitats.

Cyber experts battle zombie outbreak

Cyber security experts will be put to the test this week when a staged zombie apocalypse will see them trying to access secure networks in search of an antidote. It will be the first cyber security challenge held in New Zealand and the director of the only cyber security lab in the country, Dr Ryan Ko, says it will test the skills of those taking part as much as those organising it. Students from undergraduate, masters and PhD level will take place in the challenge, which is being held over two days on September 18-19 at the University of Waikato. Day one of the challenge will include training sessions along with talks about the cyber security industry while day two will see participants use their security skills and knowledge to take part in a fictional scenario where they must breach security measures to capture tokens. For full details about the cyber security challenge, or to register, visit

Public lecture series to commemorate 100th anniversary of World War I

The University of Waikato and the Tauranga Historical Society have organised a free public lecture series to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War. The eight-part series is called ‘Sons of Empire: New Zealand and World War One’ and will start on September 17 at the Bongard Centre in Tauranga. The first lecture in the series will start with introductions by University of Waikato’s Professor of Law Alexander Gillespie, and Stefanie Smith, President of the Tauranga Historical Society. They will be followed by the inaugural presentation by Dr Kirstine Moffat, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, titled: The Monstrous Anger of the Guns: Poetry, Protest, and World War I. The weekly presentations focus on delivering a unique New Zealand perspective of WWI, the voices of our soldiers from the battles and the trenches to their legacy of literature, the diaries, the images and the poetry. The first lecture is on September 17 at 6.30pm Tauranga Bongard Centre, Lecture Theatre 104, 200 Cameron Road, Tauranga. Registration for these free lectures is essential.

Adventurer Jamie Fitzgerald to speak at Hillary Scholar leadership event

University of Waikato alumnus Jamie Fitzgerald is the keynote speaker at this year’s Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship Leadership Pathway event tomorrow, September 16, at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Mr Fitzgerald is founder and CEO of management consultancy Inspiring Performance, and will share with University of Waikato Hillary Scholars stories and insights from his extreme adventures, his First Crossings TV show and business projects to illustrate how he has become a world-class consultant, focused on helping others achieve success. The Leadership Pathway event is part of the university’s Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship programme, providing academic, sporting and leadership programmes to Hillary Scholars. Later in the week, on September 19, Mr Fitzgerald will be recognised for his sporting success and commitment to leadership and community initiatives by the University of Waikato with a Distinguished Alumni Award.

Campus art gallery to play part in Mini-Fringe festival

The Art Fusion Gallery at the University of Waikato will play a role in bringing the arts to Hamilton this month as part of the Hamilton Mini-Fringe festival, running from September 25-27. Three days of music, theatre and visual arts are on the cards, including play readings, contortion, music and dance. Local Te Toi Whakairo, Ronnie Hohaia Grey, will be pushing the boundaries of traditional carving and creating a piece especially for Fringe. Renowned film maker Colin Hodson will be giving a talk and screening his film ‘Shifter’. The festival will also see the premiere performance of Hamilton playwright Pip Smith’s newest work ‘Burning Year’, a gig night featuring local bands, and will close with a performance café, showcasing snippets of the city’s best poetry slamming, classical guitar, blues dancing and comedy. For more information: Katie Hansen 021 0240 2529 or


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