Media Advisory March 2

Top honour for top coach

One of New Zealand's most successful sports coaches is to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Waikato. Richard 'Dick' Tonks, MNZM, will receive his Honorary Doctorate at a University graduation ceremony at Claudelands on 15 April. Mr Tonks has coached New Zealand rowing crews at the 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics and has been hugely influential on some of our best rowers, including Philippa Baker, Brenda Lawson, Rob Waddell, Hamish Bond, Eric Murray, Mahe Drysdale, and Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell. He has won five Halberg awards for coach of the year and was voted International Rowing Federation coach of the year and world rowing coach of the year in 2005, 2010 and 2012. Rowers under his guidance have won about 30 Olympic and World Championship medals since 2004. An Honorary Doctorate is the University's most prestigious honour and University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley says it is in recognition of Mr Tonks' substantial and ongoing contribution to high performance rowing. After retiring as a competitive rower he turned to coaching, initially working nights so he could coach during the day. In the 2003 New Year Honours he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rowing.

Applications open for Fieldays scholarship

Applications are now open for the 2015 New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays Sir Don Llewellyn Scholarship. Established in 2012, the scholarship is funded by the National Agricultural Fieldays Society and is worth up to $22,000 for one year of graduate study at the University of Waikato. It's aimed at graduate students undertaking research in the agricultural sector. Previous winners' projects have focused on addressing issues currently facing the agricultural industry, such as cost of environmental compliance in the dairy industry and the properties of flipped soil in drought-prone areas. The scholarship is open to domestic students enrolling at the University of Waikato to undertake research at a master's or doctoral level. Applications close March 20. For more information, visit

International educationalists explore the influences on teaching

Educational researchers from Waikato, Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia are meeting on the University of Waikato campus this month (March 16-27) to share their thoughts and research on what influences teaching and learning practices. The Pedagogies of Educational Transitions (POET) project (2012-2016) is a three-year collaborative partnership between the University of Waikato, Mälardalen University in Sweden; University of Strathclyde, Scotland; University of Iceland; and Charles Sturt University, Australia. The POET researchers are interested in influences that impact pedagogy (the art of teaching). Such impacts include relationship dynamics, the curriculum, teaching and learning practices, cultural, political and social values, perceptions of children, and theoretical and philosophical perspectives. The researchers meet twice a year to share research and explore themes such as mapping transitions, diversity and inclusion, indigenous research. Their latest meeting will be focused on longitudinal studies.

Final week of Habitat build on campus

Staff and students at the University of Waikato are putting down their laptops and books and picking up hammers and nails to be part of a Habitat for Humanity build on campus this week, O-Week. The blitz-build is a collaborative project between Habitat for Humanity and the university. The project will see staff and students volunteering their time or money to build a four-bedroom house in eight days which will then be moved to Tirau. The building site will be located next to the university's Gate 2B, Knighton Road. Building finishes on Friday, March 6.

Entries open on secondary schools mooting competition

Registrations of interest for the annual University of Waikato Te Piringa – Faculty of Law Secondary Schools' Mooting competition close on 7 March. Since 2001 the competition has grown to include schools from Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. Members of the winning team win book vouchers and a $3000 scholarship to assist with the first year of study at Te Piringa - Faculty of Law, University of Waikato. This year's competition has been boosted by Hamilton law firm McCaw Lewis Lawyers, which has offered extra prizes for participants. In addition to the $3000 scholarships awarded to each member of the winning team, McCaw Lewis Lawyers is offering work experience for all this year's finalists. Up to six students will be able to gain an insight into the everyday life of a law firm and gain valuable experience working on real legal projects. McCaw Lewis will also provide cash prizes to participants, with a total cash prize pool of $2500. Full details of the competition, including how to enter, are available at:

Seaweek activities include Marine Field Station open day and bike ride

The University's Coastal Marine Station staff will lead a coastal bike ride with a difference as part of the Marine Station's annual Open Day on Saturday, March 7 in Tauranga. The family friendly bike ride is part of the national Seaweek and will follow trails around the harbour coastline and parts of the Waikareao Estuary. En route, the university's Professor Chris Battershill will talk about the area's biodiversity and numerous ecological points of interest. Between 12-3pm the Marine Station will open its doors to learn more ab out the Bay of Plenty's thriving marine environment. The bike ride leaves the Coastal Marine Field Station, Cross Road, Sulphur Point at 10am.

Waikato Professor receives accolade from Danish university

University of Waikato Professor Michael Adrian Peters has accepted an Honorary Doctorate from Denmark's University of Aalborg, Faculty of Humanities. He will receive the degree at Aalborg's April 17 awards ceremony. Professor Peters is being recognised for research that explores the role that institutions of knowledge and education play in contemporary society. Professor Peters is an established academic author, editor of national and international journals and written about areas such as social equity in higher education. He has held professorships in New Zealand and overseas, including an Emeritus Professorship from the University of Illinois and Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from State University of New York. At Waikato he is the Associate Director for the Centre for Global Studies in Education and teaches and researches on the subject. Aalborg University is ranked in the top 2% of the world's 17,000 universities and is a partner institution with the University of Waikato.

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