Media Advisory December 07

Major law awards for Waikato professor and alumnus last week
A University of Waikato professor and alumnus were presented with two major awards at the New Zealand Law Foundation 2015 Annual Awards in Wellington. Criminal and international law expert Professor Neil Boister won the New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship, New Zealand’s premier legal research award valued at up to $125,000. This fellowship is awarded annually to enable an individual of outstanding ability to undertake legal research that will make a significant contribution to New Zealand. The Cleary Memorial Prize was awarded to alumnus Ashiq Ghazi Hamid. This prize is awarded in memory of Sir Timothy Cleary, past President of the Wellington District and New Zealand Law societies, and a Judge of the Court of Appeal. This prize, worth $5000, is awarded annually to a young barrister or solicitor who shows the most future promise in the legal profession. For more information visit
Contact: Ann Huston, 07 838 4775, 027 5511 821, or

Sustainability – the total package
Professor Priya Kurian says sustainability is too important an issue to ignore. The political scientist will deliver her inaugural professorial lecture at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts tomorrow, Tuesday December 8 at 6pm. Professor Kurian began her career as a journalist for the Times of India in Mumbai, before heading to the US to complete her Masters and PhD at Purdue University in Indiana. She joined the University of Waikato in 1996 where she focuses her research on sustainability, taking into account social justice, cultural diversity, economic viability and democratic governance. The inaugural professorial lectures introduce the university’s newest professors to the community and showcases how its research has a real impact on the world around us. Lectures are free and open to the public. Professor Kurian’s lecture is at 6pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The Opus Bar will be open from 5pm.
Contact: Nicola Lee, 07 838 4401, or

Tree Project launch hosted at university
Four keen tree climbers spent 100 hours photographing a 40-metre rimu and its surrounds from numerous angles deep in the Pureora Forest, using custom built camera rigs, drones and 30m long cable cameras. From that, they have produced The Tree Project, piecing together 65 high-resolution images to show the tree and the native podocarp forest from viewpoints that couldn’t be experienced from the forest floor. This National Geographic project will have its launch at the University of Waikato, a key sponsor of the project, this Friday December 11, where the image will be displayed and a video ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ will be screened telling the story of the 78,000 hectare Pureora Forest. The photo will then be on display at Wintec’s RAMP Gallery from Monday December 14 before being moved to other New Zealand locations.
Contact: Catherine Kirby, 07 837 9375, 021 242 3368, or

Vending machines for all
A Waikato University law student is working on a summer start-up project to make vending machines more accessible to people living with disabilities or impairments. Jayne Kaye Sankey-O’Dwyer went blind when she was 25 and had to make big changes in her life. She says while there’s been big improvements in services for people with disabilities, accessibility to common services is still an issue. Jayne plans to develop similar audio technology that is used in ATMs to vending machines so they can ‘talk’ to customers who can’t read the screens. Jayne is one of 24 Waikato students who won a $5000 scholarship to do a 10-week Summer Start-Up Programme, a new initiative developed by the University and Waikato Students’ Union (WSU). The programme started on November 16 and will run in Hamilton and Tauranga until February 12 - with a three-week break over Christmas. This gives students 10 weeks to develop their own project or idea with the help of an expert start-up coach, workshops and full-access to a shared working space.
Contact: Megan Burton-Brown, 07 838 4419, or

Author to give public lecture on wealth
The University of Waikato is the venue for a public lecture by Max Rashbrooke this Wednesday. 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.
Contact: Dellie Dellow, 07 838 4949, or

Open letter to COP21
Two University of Waikato professors are behind an open letter directed at delegates attending this week’s Climate Change Summit in Paris that urges them to consider the poor and vulnerable before making any binding decisions. Professors Debashish Munshi and Priya Kurian led an international symposium on climate justice in Italy earlier this year and the delegates from that have collectively sent the COP21 letter emphasising the need to focus on justice. Professor Kurian says at a minimum, all countries must commit to reduced greenhouse gas emissions so that global temperatures rise no more than 1.5˚C. The pair also advocate spending substantial public funds annually in new money for a Green Climate Fund, and for free technology transfer that can help poor countries make the transition to a low carbon economy. They also want global emissions trading abolished and replaced with an equitable and legally-binding formula of resource use and resource distribution where wealthy nations commit to massive reductions in emissions and developing nations get access to public funds directly from the governments that can afford it.
Contact: Professor Debashish Munshi 027 212 7709, 07 838 4450, or Professor Priya Kurian 021 162 3280, 07 838 4466 ext 6109, or or

University supports Pacific youth achievement
The University of Waikato is a sponsor at this year’s Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards, taking place in Wellington on Tuesday. The awards recognise and celebrate Pacific youth success, showcase Pacific talent and set out to create a cohort of young Pacific role models. There are five award categories this year, including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Leadership and Inspiration, Business and Enterprise, Arts and Creativity and Sports and Fitness. The University of Waikato, alongside Ako Aotearoa and Youthline, are co-sponsoring the STEM award worth $10,000 in cash, plus another $5000 if the awardee enrols, or is a current student, at the University of Waikato. Contact: Melody Downs, 07 838 4094, or

Academic audit for Waikato University released
An academic audit has commended the University of Waikato for several initiatives including the Curriculum Enhancement Programme which it reports “has the potential to be transformative”. All universities undergo regular academic audits conducted by the Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities (AQA). This was the University of Waikato’s Cycle 5 Audit and it focused on teaching and learning and student support, including postgraduate. The Cycle 5 Audit for all universities looks at themes relating to teaching and learning and investigates whether the university has in place the activities and quality assurance processes that are fundamental in good universities. Some of these areas include student engagement and achievement, how easy it is for students to enrol and transition into university, curriculum and assessment, and supervision of research students. AQA praised many aspects of the University of Waikato, including the postgraduate area, support of Māori and Pacific students and Library and student learning space.
Contact: Peta Goldsworthy, 07 858 5178, or

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