Media Advisory 19 June 2017

Improving outcomes for cancer patients
Professor of Population Health Ross Lawrenson has been awarded nearly $2.4 million in Health Research Council funding to lead two studies that will investigate how to improve outcomes in cancer patients by focusing on reducing delays in diagnosis. Professor Lawrenson is based in the University of Waikato’s National Institute of Demography and Economic Analysis (NIDEA) in a joint appointment with Waikato District Health Board as its clinical director of strategy and funding. He will work closely with the Midland Cancer Network and clinicians from across the Waikato region. His co-investigators include academic colleagues from the university Dr Chunhuan Lao and Dr Rawiri Keenan, Dean of Māori and Indigenous Studies Professor Brendan Hokowhitu, Dr Anna Rolleston from Sport, Health and Human Performance and Dr Lyn Hunt from Statistics. He is also collaborating with colleagues from the universities of Auckland and Otago. The researchers will work to find ways to improve early diagnosis of lung cancer among Māori and rural communities, and in the second project focus on finding ways to avoid delays in diagnosis for colorectal cancer.
Contact: Alison Robertson, 07 858 5135, 027 309 4420, or

Predator control expert to speak at BOP kiwi conservation event
Predator control expert Professor Carolyn King from the University of Waikato is the guest speaker at a special event hosted by the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust in Tauranga on Wednesday 28 June. The Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust is celebrating 15 years of successful predator control and restoration of the 1200 hectare Otanewainuku forest in the Bay of Plenty, which now hosts a breeding population of North Island brown kiwi and also kokako. Professor King has studied introduced predators and their management and written several books, including The Drama of Conservation. She researches the ecology of small rodents and mustelids, especially stoats and weasels. The event is on 28 June at 6.30pm in H110 (next to the Atrium) at Toi Ohomai’s Windermere Campus, located at 70 Windermere Drive, Tauranga.
Contact: Kiri Diamond, 021 030 5076, or, or Anthea McLeary, 0220 681 069, or

Looking out for tamariki
A study involving University of Waikato and Waikato Hospital staff will evaluate if an organised holistic approach improves health and wellbeing outcomes for Māori children admitted to hospital. The Health Research Council-funded study, worth $933,933 over three years, was one of 51 announced in the latest round of HRC funding. Dr Nina Scott (Waikato, Ngāti Whatua), a public health physician at Te Puna Oranga – Māori health, Waikato District Health Board, will lead the study, working with public health physician and  associate professor Dr Polly Atatoa Carr and community psychologist Dr Bridgette Masters-Awatere from the University of Waikato, public health physician Dr Peter Sandiford, and a Waikato District Health Board team. The new study follows on from a health screening tool developed in 2015 called ‘Harti Hauora Tamariki’ which was piloted at Waikato Hospital to improve access to health and social services for Māori children admitted to hospital and their whānau, and which has been used with more than 5000 children and their whānau admitted to Waikato Hospital.
Contact: Alison Robertson, 07 858 5135, 027 309 4420, or

Aligning agriculture and climate policy
An international team of soil experts say carbon sequestration in soil has the potential to enhance food security and mitigate climate change. Soil scientist Professor Louis Schipper from the University of Waikato is a member of the 10-strong team that published findings in last month’s issue of Nature Climate Change. The article provides a road map, implications and expected benefits to be gained if carbon can be sequestered by 4 parts per 1000 year on year, which, if done, would greatly reduce global temperature increases. The 4 parts per thousand initiative is part of the Lima Paris Action Agenda, is supported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and connects to the UN’s sustainable development goals. The international research is supported by the European Commission and co-funded by Global Partnership in Livestock Emissions Research. A copy of the article is available Contact: Professor Louis Schipper, 07 838 4468, 027 666 0815, or

Brussels here I come
University of Waikato science student Beth Hampton has strong opinions about global food security, and her ideas for solving issues around feeding the world’s population have earned her a trip to Belgium. Beth is wrapping up her Bachelor of Science majoring in environmental science and agribusiness at Waikato and is one of two New Zealanders selected to go to Brussels in October to join 98 other youth delegates from 49 countries for the Belgian Youth Ag-summit “Feeding a hungry planet”. Over five days the students will share their diverse experiences and work together to generate innovative, sustainable and actionable solutions to global food security challenges. Their mission is to come up with concrete new ideas that can drive agricultural progress across the globe and be put into practice back home. To be selected for Brussels, Beth (21) had to write a 1500-word essay presenting her ideas about feeding a hungry planet referencing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Contact: Alison Robertson, 07 858 5135, 027 309 4420, or

Women leading the way in software engineering
Three women form the majority of the University of Waikato delegation to the Engineering Interactive Computing Systems conference (EICS) to be held in Lisbon, Portugal from 26-29 June. Software engineering doctoral students Jessica Turner and Sapna Jaidka, and lecturers Dr Judy Bowen and Professor Steve Reeves, will be presenting papers at this specialised international engineering conference. The University team is strongly focused on the methods, techniques and tools to improve safety-critical devices (which are mainly used in the medical field). About 100 attendees are anticipated at the conference which covers all engineering aspects in the design, development, deployment, verification and validation of interactive systems.
Contact: Margaret Hegarty, 07 837 9564, or

BoP students make their mark at Waikato chemistry challenge
A Tauranga Boys’ College team was awarded first place at the annual NZIC Analytical Chemistry Competition on 14 June. The University of Waikato event challenged 92 enthusiastic Year 13 students to spend a day in the University’s chemistry laboratories working on an experiment. The task was to analyse the individual levels of zinc and sulphate ions in a sample of zinc sulphate and to use these values to determine how many water molecules were associated with each zinc sulphate molecule. Aquinas College came in second place and Tauranga Girls’ College took third place. Twenty-three teams of four students from the Waikato/Bay of Plenty regions entered in this year’s competition.
Contact: Margaret Hegarty, 07 837 9564, or

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