Media Advisory September 8

Law making in New Zealand

Former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer will be on campus this week to give the 2014 Harkness Henry Lecture. The annual public lecture is delivered by a person distinguished within his or her field and addresses issues relating to the development of New Zealand jurisprudence. Sir Geoffrey’s topic is ‘Law making in New Zealand: is there a better way?’ Sir Geoffrey had a distinguished legal career in New Zealand and the US before entering politics and working his way up the Labour ranks to become prime minister. He was a founding partner of public policy law specialists Chen Palmer and is a former president of the Law Commission. The 23rd Harkness Henry lecture is on Wednesday, September 10 in the Academy of Performing Arts at 6.15pm.

University hosts Great Race pōwhiri

A pōwhiri to welcome visiting rowing crews to Hamilton will be held at Te Kohinga Marama Marae at the University of Waikato on Wednesday, September 10. Crews from Melbourne, Washington and Harvard universities will be in Hamilton to compete against the University of Waikato in the Gallagher Great Race, which takes place over 3.85km on the Waikato River on Sunday, September 14. In the men’s race, Waikato will face Harvard and Melbourne for the Harry Mahon Memorial Trophy while the Waikato women will take on Washington and Melbourne for the Bryan Gould Cup. 

The visiting Harvard University rowing crew will be looking for revenge after being controversially beaten by Waikato on their last visit in 2007. The pōwhiri begins at 10am and launches a week of activities for the rowers ahead of Sunday’s race.

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 Prof 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.

Cyber experts battle zombie outbreak

Cyber security experts will be put to the test next 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

University gets set for Kīngitanga Day

The University of Waikato is preparing to celebrate KīngitangaDay on September 18. Kīngitanga Day is an annual event that recognises the university’s connection with Waikato-Tainui and the Kīngitanga and its many other iwi connections. 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

Renowned economist wins University of Waikato award

One of New Zealand’s best-known economists will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Waikato next week. Dr Arthur Grimes has a Bachelor of Social Sciences with First Class Honours from the University of Waikato and a Master of Science and PhD from the London School of Economics. He was chief economist at the Reserve Bank and later chief economist at the National Bank of New Zealand and Chief Executive at Southpac. He is currently Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust. The other award winners this year are adventurer Jamie Fitzgerald, the inaugural director of the Pacific Island Education Resource Centre Le Mamea Taulapapa Sefulu Ioane, and Waikato-Tainui CEO Parekawhia McLean. The Distinguished Alumni Awards recognise alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and communities, taking into account excellence in the professional, cultural, creative and voluntary sectors.

Four university staff finalists in KuDos awards

Four University of Waikato staff are finalists in the 2014 KuDos Science Awards, which acknowledge and celebrate science excellence in the Waikato. They are Associate Professor Dr Nicola Starkey (Psychology), Professor Craig Cary (Science), Dudley Bell (Science) and Chris McBride (Science). Dr Starkey is a finalist in the Gallagher Medical Science Award category for her research into understanding the long term effects of traumatic brain injury, particularly in children. Professor of Biological Sciences, Craig Cary, is a finalist in the Environmental Science Award. His interest lies in researching bacteria which live in extreme environments, including deep sea thermal vents and the soils of Antarctica. Colleagues in the School of Science, Dudley Bell and Chris McBride, are finalists in the Hill Laboratories Laboratory Technician Award. Mr Bell is the Technical Team Leader – Aquatic. Mr McBride is an Advanced Technical Officer who works largely within the Faculty of Science & Engineering’s Lake Ecosystem Restoration New Zealand (LERNZ) research group. The winners will be announced at an awards dinner on October 9.

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 17 September 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.

The future of New Zealand agriculture

University of Waikato staff and students are major contributors to a new book that takes an in-depth look at the future of New Zealand agriculture. Professors Jacqueline Rowarth and Frank Scrimgeour from Waikato Management School have teamed up with farmer and rural journalist Alan Emerson to edit the publication, published by NZX with funding support from the Agricultural and Market Research and Development Trust. Economist Dr Dan Marsh and six senior agribusiness students from the University of Waikato have also written chapters in the book that covers agriculture’s significance in New Zealand’s economy and looks to the future, considering products, markets and investment requirements. NZ Agriculture: An Economic Perspective is available from (click on Shop).

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 on 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.

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