Media Advisory September 29

Students to be acknowledged in annual Blues Awards

On Friday, the Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues Awards celebrate more than 60 high-achieving students who excel in sports or the creative and performing arts. The Blue is a prestigious award for excellence in sport or creative and performing arts, and recognises regional and national excellence, through to world champions. They are one of the University of Waikato's strongest traditions, dating back to 1971. Thirty-four University of Waikato students will be recognised for their sporting achievements this year, alongside 27 students who have made considerable contributions to the creative and performing arts. Among the awards to be given out will be the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, Māori Person of the Year and Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year. The Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues are on October 3 at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. For more information visit

Postgraduate Month at Waikato underway this week

October is Postgraduate Month and an opportunity for University of Waikato students to consider continuing their studies and for others in the community to explore the university’s postgraduate options. There is a Postgraduate Information Evening on October 2 at The Verandah at Hamilton Lake from 5.30pm-7.30pm, as well as a Post Graduate Information Session from 1.15pm-1.45pm on campus on October 15 in S.G.01. On October 22 in Tauranga, there is a Post Graduate Information evening from 5.30pm-7.30pm in V Block, Maharaia, Windermere Campus, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. The month culminates in Three Minute Thesis, with the third round of heats on September 26 and the free, public final on October 30. For more information on Postgraduate Month, visit

Bequest benefits Pacific students

A pioneering Morrinsville accountant and farmer has left $1 million to the University of Waikato. Edna Money, who died last year at the age of 94, bequeathed the money to the university to fund scholarships for Pacific students. She is thought to have been one of New Zealand’s first female qualified accountants. The bequest will become part of the university’s endowment fund and from next year, the university will offer three three-year undergraduate scholarships annually for Pacific students. The scholarships are worth $18,000 each. Plans are also underway for further scholarships recognising excellence in current Pacific students, and to support PhD work.

Workshops to develop research capacity

The University of Waikato’s Te Kotahi Research Institute has received $115,000 from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to run a series of workshops aimed at developing capacity in kaupapa Māori research and methods. The workshops - being developed with the Waikato Tainui Research and Development College - will provide Māori organisations with capacity development in the areas of kaupapa Māori and methodology; kaupapa Māori qualitative and quantitative approaches to research and developing research proposals and collaborations. Each workshop will run over two and a half days and will include guest presenters providing a range of approaches to understanding the role of kaupapa Māori in enhancing research and development processes and opportunities. They will bring together scholars across disciplines to support research and research development for Māori communities, organisations, whānau, hapū and iwi.

Harvard professor to talk about economic growth, demography and health

A high-profile Harvard professor will base himself at the University of Waikato during October. David Bloom is professor of economics and demography in the Department of Global Health and Population in the Harvard School of Public Health. He is a specialist in applied economics in the areas of labour, population, health, education and development. Professor Bloom has chaired the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum and has consulted to hundreds of organisations during his career, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The World Health Organisation and the UN Development Program, the Bank of America and World Bank and major international businesses. While in New Zealand Professor Bloom will meet MPs including Finance Minister Bill English, talk to representatives from the Waikato District Health Board, lecture students and give two public lectures, one in Wellington on October 16 and the other on October 21 at the University of Waikato in Hamilton. He will talk about prospects for economic growth through the lenses of demography and health. Professor Bloom is visiting New Zealand as the university’s visiting Golden Jubilee Distinguished Professor.

University PhD candidate makes it into AMP Ignite finals

University of Waikato PhD student Tawhanga Nopera has been named as a finalist in this year’s AMP Ignite competition. Ignite provides an opportunity for PhD students to pitch their research as an entertaining performance piece in front of a live business audience. Each finalists will have 150 seconds to convince a panel of judges why their research deserves the $5000 grand prize, while also trying to win the audience’s vote for the $1000 people’s prize. Tawhanga’s research explores how indigenous art processes can help people today. It uses the practice of Māori weaving to express ideas in creative writing, digital image and video, and performance artworks. Mentors from the advertising, entertainment, science and technology industries will assist students to think outside the box and commercialise their thinking. Pitch night is October 23 in Auckland.

Undergrad students beat zombie outbreak

More than 40 people took part in the inaugural Cyber Security Challenge held at the University of Waikato recently, with a team of undergraduate students coming out on top. Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences students Matthew Law, Marc Tiehuis and Carlin St Pierre from Team Double MC won the challenge from another undergraduate team, CyberTeemos, made up of Joshua Scarsbrook, Danial Roslan and Janik Singh. Honours students Mickey Law, Caleb Donnelly and Julian Melchert came in third. The challenge involved teams attempting to solve 11 cyber security problems in a scenario based around a zombie outbreak. Eleven teams managed to clear half the challenges, while there was one challenge no one was able to solve. Organiser Dr Ryan Ko says the event was a great success and he hoped it would become an annual event for the university’s Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences. He hoped the next one would see registration open to teams from industry and the public to participate.

Fun run and walk series returns to campus

Runners and walkers can look forward to the return of the Campus 5km Fun Run and Walk which kicks off on October 6 and runs until December 15. Earlier in the year, the University of Waikato partnered with local running club Hamilton City Hawks to host the event which saw more than 300 people take part. Registrations start at 5pm outside Momento Café on the Village Green. Walkers start between 5pm to 6pm, while runners start on Monday evenings at 6pm. Registrations are $6 and entitle participants to a beer, cider or non-alcoholic drink at the end. Spot prizes are also awarded on the night. The Campus 5km Fun Run and Walk is in association with the Hamilton City Hawks running club, UniRec, Momento Café and Good George. For more information email

New Zealand’s super-diversity

The University of Waikato is leading a $5.5 million project to investigate how New Zealand can best plan for, and benefit from, its increasingly diverse population. The large-scale six-year project, funded from the latest round of Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s new science research funding, is being led by Professor Jacques Poot, an economist at the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA). Waikato researchers will work with academics from Massey University and Motu Economic and Public Policy research on the project called Capturing the Diversity Dividend of Aotearoa New Zealand, or CaDDANZ. The team will organise the research into 21 different projects that will include among many, aspects of employment, ethnic identity in a family context, ethnic diversity by city and regions and how people deal with aspects of diversity in everyday life.

MoUs with sport HQs

BikeNZ and Triathlon New Zealand have signed Memorandums of Understanding with the University of Waikato. The two national bodies are now based at the Avantidrome in Cambridge where the university is tertiary partner. The university will offer Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarships to elite cyclists and triathletes, which means their university course fees will be paid, they’ll receive academic support, access to extra coaching, training advice and facilities, and opportunities to develop their leadership skills. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones says by working together, elite sportsmen and women from all over New Zealand will be able to pursue their tertiary studies at Waikato and the arrangement will also make it more attractive for Waikato athletes to remain and study in the region. The University of Waikato has a sports lab at the Avantidrome and its sports scientists have recently been working with the world champion track cyclists and the junior track cycling team.

Measuring Hamilton city water use

Just how much water Hamilton’s households use currently isn’t measured, but that’s about to change. Farnaz Farhangi, not long in New Zealand from Iran, already has degrees in agricultural economics, but is switching to environmental economics for her PhD study on Hamilton’s residential water use. She’s one of seven students to have been awarded a Research Institute doctoral scholarship from the University of Waikato. Farnaz will receive $22,000 a year plus study fees from the Institute for Business Research for her three-year study. She says as Hamilton’s population increases so too will demand for water, and local authorities need to determine the best way to manage water demand and allocation. By knowing how different households use water will assist in implementing the best water solutions. Part of Farnaz’s study will be determining the variables that impact water consumption, including time of year, the age of a property and the number of people living in it.

Cellophonics to perform at Tauranga Art Gallery

Cellophonics is the resident cello ensemble from theUniversity of Waikato, and is comprised of performance students enrolled in the Music Programme, under the music direction of tutor James Tennant. The group is the only full-time ensemble of its kind in the country with many of its past and present members having won national and international competitions. Cellophonics is making its nineth North Island tour featuring music from New Zealand, USA, Italy, Argentina, Hungary, Austria and Germany. They will be performing at the Tauranga Art Gallery, corner of Wharf and Willow streets, Tauranga on Sunday, October 5 at 3.30pm, $5 door entry but bookings are essential, email or phone 07 578 7933 for more information.

Sargeson Lecture to feature award-winning novelist

Taking an imaginary place and making it seem real is something novelist and short-story writer Catherine Chidgey is extremely good at. It’s this idea of place in her writing that she will address at the 12th annual Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture next month. Chidgey, who teaches creative writing at Waikato University, will reflect on the ways in which the real world impinges on the imaginary, and explore some of the strategies a writer can use to breathe life into a fictional setting. A former recipient of the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship and now a literary adviser to the Sargeson Trust, Chidgey’s novels have been published to international acclaim. Her awards include the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award, the Prize in Modern Letters, and Best First Book in both the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Asia-Pacific region) and the New Zealand Book Awards. This is a free community event and is on Thursday, October 16 at 5.30pm (light refreshments to follow) in S.G.03 (S Block, University of Waikato).

Of Calendars and Kings: UK Professor to deliver lecture on Archaeoastronomy

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will welcome Clive Ruggles, Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester in the UK, to campus next month. Professor Ruggles will deliver a public lecture, ‘Of Calendars and Kings: gods, temples, the Pleiades, and the development of archaic states in Hawai’i’, in which he describes his fieldwork with archaeologist Patrick V Kirch studying the orientations of temple platforms and their connections with astronomy, the calendar, dryland agriculture and the emergence of “god-king” cults. Professor Ruggles has worked in many parts of the world and published numerous books, papers and articles on topics ranging from prehistoric Europe and pre-Columbian America to indigenous astronomies in Africa and elsewhere. He has ongoing fieldwork projects in Peru and the Hawaiian Islands. This free community event is on Friday, October 31 at 5pm in S.G.01 (S Block, University of Waikato).

Thin Ice on big screen

The International Centre for Terrestrial Antarctic Research (ICTAR) and the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Waikato are hosting a public screening of the award-winning movie Thin Ice. The film is a documentary about climate change science, filmed partly in New Zealand, and executive producer Peter Barrett will attend the screening and introduce the movie. The screening takes place on Wednesday, October 8 in the Concert Chamber of the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The cash bar opens at 6.30pm with the screening beginning at 7pm and it’s free to attend. Thin Ice was released last year and has screened at several film festivals around the world, including the San Francisco Green Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Bergen International Film Festival, Princeton Environmental Film Festival, where it won the Audience Favourite Award, and the Baikal International Film Festival, where it was judged Best Popular Science Film.

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