Media Advisory October 20

University bestows two honorary doctorate

At the University of Waikato’s graduation ceremony at Claudelands Events Centre this Wednesday, October 22, Sir Dryden Thomas Spring and Warren Scotter will be awarded honorary doctorates. Sir Dryden’s honour is in recognition of his substantial contribution to the regional and national economy. Sir Dryden was born in Taranaki and bought his first farm at Walton, in the heart of the Waikato. He has spent many years working for some of New Zealand’s most important organisations and has also been active with a range of charitable and community organisations. Warren Scotter, a senior partner at Harkness Henry and a specialist in litigation, has had a long career in practice and in law administration. He has appeared in hundreds of cases, often counsel of choice for many serious assault and sexual abuse cases, frequently acting for the underdog. Mr Scotter has been president of the Waikato - Bay of Plenty District Law Society, chair of the High Court Practice Committee, chair of the society’s Complaints Committee, councillor of the New Zealand Law Society and a member of the New Zealand Law Society’s executive.

Scenes from a relationship a winner

A short story by University of Waikato English lecturer Dr Tracey Slaughter has won a major UK writing prize. Scenes of a long-term nature has won the 2014 Bridport Prize worth $10,000. Dr Slaughter is currently in London and was awarded her prize at a function on Saturday night. The story portrays random scenes from a marriage, all out of sequence and was written in the middle of a heavy teaching load, says Dr Slaughter, most of it coming together in a single afternoon. The idea came from a writing exercise she gave her creative writing students. The Bridport Prize was established in the UK in 1973 to encourage emerging writers and promote literary excellence. Dr Slaughter’s story will be published in the Bridport Prize 2014 anthology and read by leading London literary agents. The top 13 eligible stories from the competition are also submitted to the BBC National Short Story Award and The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award

University to host historical garden tours

From cow paddock to botanical gem, the University of Waikato grounds have undergone a transformation in the past 50 years. To celebrate, the university is putting on 50th Anniversary Celebration Tours of its gardens and grounds led by Ron Lycette, the grounds supervisor from 1965-1979. Mr Lycette came to the university having previously worked at London's Kew Gardens. Mr Lycette says they started with an overall plan to impart education into the gardens, aiming for a succession of plants in family relationships to illustrate botanical diversity. Tours are free and are on Saturday 8 November, Sunday 9 November and Wednesday 12 November from 2pm-5pm. Mr Lycette will present a brief history of the background and development of the campus landscape, followed by a guided tour of the grounds and a high tea. A gold coin donation will go towards stage two of the Rongoa (Māori medicine) garden. Tours are limited to 30 people each, so registrations are essential. RSVP name and date choice to rsvp@waikato.ac.nz.

Our changing populations

When countries have low fertility rates, the burden of raising and educating children is reduced, and that means resources can be re-distributed into programmes for economic growth. It’s what visiting Harvard Professor David Bloom calls the “demographic dividend” and he’ll be talking about this and coping with ageing populations at a public lecture in Hamilton this week. Professor Bloom from the Harvard School of Public Health is Waikato University’s Golden Jubilee Distinguished Professor and is in New Zealand this month giving public lectures, meeting politicians and health sector workers, and working with Waikato University academics. The Hamilton lecture is on Tuesday, October 21, 6pm at the Academy of Performing Arts, Waikato University. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Loud and Counted campaign a winner

A campaign that set out to show students how politics was relevant in their daily lives proved to be a winner for a group of third-year PR students at the University of Waikato. The client for the annual Chesterman Group PR Campaigns competition was the Electoral Commission and teams of students had to come up with a public relations strategy to get students to vote. The winning team, Loud & Counted, used social media and face-to-face communication to encourage young people to vote. Kate Lunn, a member of the winning team, said their research showed young people don’t think politics is relevant, so they placed a big orange wall full of controversial statements on Wintec and university campuses, got students to respond and then sign a pledge to vote. Ms Lunn says more than 220 young people pledged to vote either online and at the orange “Loud” wall. She says their follow-up research showed the campaign had a moderate-to-high effect on people’s decision to vote.

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 later this 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).

Waikato University ChemQuest to challenge young minds

The University of Waikato’s annual ChemQuest will provide the ultimate test for Year 12 chemistry students this week. The after-school event gives students studying chemistry at NCEA Level 2 the chance to compete for the ChemQuest trophy and other prizes. Around 70 teams of three are expected to attend. The quiz includes questions based on chemistry, general knowledge and the NCEA curriculum. There are also interactive rounds when students must listen to music or watch chemistry demonstrations to identify the quiz answers. The current trophy holders are Hamilton Boys’ High School, who will be battling it out to retain the title. The event is sponsored by the Faculty of Science & Engineering, James & Wells Intellectual Property, the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry and Hill Laboratories. ChemQuest is at 7pm on October 22 at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus, PWC lecture theatre.

Racing robots at Engineering Design Show

Programming Lego robots to have a sense of direction has been the task for a class of University of Waikato Software Engineering students this semester. The robots will be put to the test at the upcoming Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show (October 21-22), in a race to determine the fastest, most accurate prototype. The race is at 11am Wednesday, October 22 in the first floor foyer of S Block at the university. The event is open to the public. During the two-day event, second, third and fourth-year engineering students showcase their research and design projects in the forms of posters, displays and seminars. In addition, the School of Engineering will host an industry session, in which a series of research presentations will be given by engineering staff from 3.30pm-5pm on October 21 in S Block. Contact engineering@waikato.ac.nz to register interest for the industry session.

Language revitalisation focus of symposium

A day-long symposium on the revitalisation of te reo Māori will provide an opportunity for teachers and researchers to share their views and experiences and learn from others. The symposium – which will be open to the public – is to be held at the University of Waikato on Saturday, December 13 and will include presentations on teaching and learning te reo Māori and policy and planning issues. It is being hosted by Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao (The School of Māori and Pacific Development) and School Manager Louise Tainui says it will be a good opportunity to learn from people at the forefront of the revitalisation of the language. People interested in either attending or presenting at Te Whakahaumanutanga o te reo Māori Symposium should contact Louise Tainui on ltainui@waikato.ac.nz or visit: www.waikato.ac.nz/smpd/community/events/te-whakahaumanutanga-o-te-reo-maori-symposium

Conference of interest to policymakers

The International Association for Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines' third biennial hui will be held from November 25-28 at the University of Waikato. This methodological and methods conference circulating around the broad field of ethnography offers cultural understandings to policymakers. The conference theme is 'Sensual Landscapes in Ethnography', and many papers will explore the connections between lived sensory and sensual experiences and the contemporary world, between the personal and the public. Pre-conference presentations will include papers delivered in Spanish and Portuguese, workshops ranging from working with Harakeke plants, history, and context of Māori weaving; site-specific performance of research; participatory research; video ethnography practices; and civic engagement and study of sub-groups. Keynote presentations will discuss political engagement and performance; waka travels and rediscovery of ancestral knowledge; and a creative, participatory demonstration will show how performance can connect us to the land, traditions, and local sites. For more information, and to register, visit cead.org.nz 

Three professors emeritus

Professors who have made their mark in chemistry, education and population studies were acknowledged by the University of Waikato last week by being awarded the title Emeritus Professor. Professor Alistair Wilkins’ long career in chemistry included working on assessing the environmental impacts of the Rena grounding on Astrolabe Reef. His work in fingerprinting the oil was of prime importance to the Ministry for the Environment, Maritime New Zealand and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, who were tasked with assessing liability and environmental impacts. Professor Russell Bishop’s contribution to educational research and practice spans 50 years and includes the Te Kotahitanga and He Kākano programmes adopted in schools throughout New Zealand to improve educational outcomes for Māori students. Professor Richard Bedford has long studied aspects of Pacific population movement, and is highly regarded for his research and analysis of New Zealand’s international migration system, immigrant integration and immigration policies.

Nexus scoops Aotearoa Student Press Association awards

Waikato Student Union’s student magazine Nexus claimed three accolades at the Aotearoa Student Press Association awards on 11 October, taking awards for Best Social Media, Best Humour and Best Small Publication of the Year. Nexus was also runner-up for three other awards, including the evening’s top award for Best Overall Publication. New Zealand Herald’s Paul Harper, who judged Nexus as joint winners of Best Social Media, said the magazine takes an edgy approach to Facebook and is rewarded with good engagement. In previous years, the magazine’s only other ASPA win came in 2012 when Dr Richard Swainson won the award for Best Columnist.

Tauranga’s Café Scientifique hosts Dame Anne Salmond in Rutherford Lectures

Dame Anne Salmond, renowned New Zealand anthropologist and writer, will speak at this year’s Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Lectures in Tauranga on October 28. In one of four lectures she will explore how exchanges between different ways of being, particularly Māori and European, have helped to shape the past in New Zealand, and how they might contribute to an innovative and successful society for future generations. Dame Anne Salmond was named New Zealander of the Year in 2013 for her work on cultural history and is a Distinguished Professor of Māori Studies and Anthropology at the University of Auckland. The Café will take place on October 28 at 6.30pm for 7pm start at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Drive, Sulphur Point, Tauranga. For more information, visit: www.waikato.ac.nz/go/cafescientifique or www.royalsociety.org.nz

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