Media Advisory November 24

Top marine ecologist named Science Communicator of the Year

Professor Chris Battershill, Chair of Coastal Science and Head of the Coastal Marine Group at the University of Waikato, has been awarded Science Communicator of the Year by the New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS). The award was jointly presented at the Royal Society to both Professor Battershill and Canterbury University marine scientist Professor David Schiel for their collaborative efforts communicating the complexities of science surrounding the grounding and oil spill of the MV Rena off Tauranga in 2011. The Rena incident is one of New Zealand’s biggest marine environmental disasters. Professor Battershill reported on the clean-up effectiveness from an environmental perspective and the longer term consequences. Over a period of 30 months, the pair gave over 100 talks at numerous marae, public meetings and conferences and also dozens of media interviews.

Four NZARE Awards to Waikato researchers

University of Waikato academics featured large at the 2015 New Zealand Association of Research Education (NZARE) awards. Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith won the McKenzie Award, which honours a significant contribution to educational research over an extended period. Professor Smith was instrumental in the Kaupapa Māori educational movement and the revitalisation of te reo and tikanga and her work on indigenous education has inspired and empowered indigenous peoples throughout the world. Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at Waikato, received the 2015 Te Tohu Pae Tawhiti Award for her significant contribution to Māori education. Her research intersects fields of education, Māori immersion education, health and whānau well-being. The NZARE Group Award went to the Te Kotahitanga Research and Professional Development Team at Waikato, which has implemented culturally responsive programmes for Māori students in New Zealand secondary schools. One member of the Te Kotahitanga team, Dawn Lawrence, picked up the NZARE Rae Munro Award, given for excellence in a masters-level thesis in an area that has implications for teacher education or classroom practice.

Cloud security topic of forum

It’s never been more important to gain control of cloud-based data. At a free forum in Wellington on this Friday, the STRATUS research group will demonstrate cloud security tools and techniques that will protect data in the cloud and help put New Zealand on the global IT map. Forum keynote speakers are Security Technologies Returning Accountability, Trust and User-centric Services in the Cloud (STRATUS) Science Leader Dr Ryan Ko from the University of Waikato and Industry Advisory Group chairman Jonathan Miller. Dr Ko says one of the main objectives of the forum is to engage and familiarise New Zealand industry partners and end-users with the services and products being developed by STRATUS. STRATUS is a six-year, $12.2 million cyber security project, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment and executed by a team of leading cloud security researchers and practitioners from University of Waikato, University of Auckland, Unitec Institute of Technology and Cloud Security Alliance. The STRATUS Forum and CSA (Cloud Security Alliance) NZ Summit runs from 10.45am-5pm on November 27 in the MBIE Building, 15 Stout St, Wellington. For more information and to register, visit

Author to give public lecture on wealth

The University of Waikato is the venue for a public lecture by Max Rashbrooke next month. Mr Rashbrooke is the editor of Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis, ‘The Inequality Debate: An Introduction’, and most recently ‘Wealth and New Zealand’. His latest book contains new data on wealth inequality in New Zealand, and wraps that into a larger story about why wealth matters and why we need to think about how it is distributed, alongside our traditional concerns about income inequality. Mr Rashbrooke is also a research associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. As a journalist, he has written stories for national newspapers and magazines in Britain and New Zealand, including the Guardian, the National Business Review and Metro. He has twice been the recipient of the Bruce Jesson Senior Journalism Award and is a 2015 Winston Churchill Fellow. The lecture is on December 9 from 5.15pm-6.30pm in S.G.01.

Civic awards celebrate Hamiltonians’ contributions

Educators, arts identities and journalists are among 20 recipients of the 2015 Hamilton City Council Civic Awards which celebrate contributions to Hamilton made by the city's residents. Recipients are nominated by members of the community, with nominations assessed by HCC. The 2015 recipients cover a range of professional, community and personal pursuits, and several names are included which will be familiar to Hamilton residents – among them are University of Waikato’s Peggy Koopman-Boyden (CNZM) for Services to People and Wellbeing/Education. She is an internationally recognised expert in gerontology who has taught and undertaken research in the areas of social policy, demography and family sociology for more than three decades and also chairs Hamilton’s Older Person’s Advisory Panel. The awards will be presented at a special ceremony in the Hamilton City Council Reception Lounge on December 11.

Reclaiming Sustainability – Inaugural Professorial Lecture

Sustainability often gets a bad rap – too big to comprehend, or too focussed on environmental protection. Professor Priya Kurian says sustainability is too important to ignore. A political scientist, Professor Kurian will give her inaugural professorial lecture early next month, titled Reclaiming Sustainability. She comes at sustainability from all angles, environmental, social justice, cultural diversity, economic viability and democratic governance. She thinks to create a good society, all those aspects need to be considered by policy makers. Professor Kurian grew up in India, completed postgraduate study in the United States before joining the University of Waikato in 1996. She began her working life as a journalist in India and it was while covering stories in rural India that she became aware of the struggles over resources that people face when confronted with the economic development initiatives by the state. Her research extends to critical development studies and science and technology studies. Professor Kurian’s inaugural professorial lecture is at 6pm on Tuesday December 8 in the Academy of Performing Arts on the Hamilton Campus.

Summer science and engineering fun at Waikato University

A week of science sample collection and lab work, coupled with team-building activities and a tour of Hill Laboratories is in store for students attending the Hill Laboratories Waikato Science Summer School this month. Forty year 12 science students from the central North Island will descend on Waikato University on November 29 for its annual week-long Science Summer School. The young scientists will travel to the Rotorua region on an overnight field trip, stopping on the way to collect samples from Lake Rotomahana, Government Gardens and Kerosene Creek. The students will bring the samples back to Hamilton where they will spend the rest of the week in Waikato University’s science labs analysing their finds. The 40 students will reside in Bryant Hall during their stay at the university, giving them the opportunity to experience student life.

Summer School to encourage Maori students into science

The University of Waikato is playing host to an event aimed at encouraging Waikato and Bay of Plenty Māori students to study science at a tertiary level. The Te Huakirangi Māori Science Summer School is a week-long science experience held on campus at Waikato University from November 28 to December 4. Year 11 and 12 students from Hamilton and Tokoroa are lined up to attend the Summer School. During the event, students will look at astronomy and extract DNA in the Faculty of Science & Engineering laboratories and visit Sulphur Point research station in Tauranga.

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