Media Advisory 21 August 2017

Kiwifruit study a three-minute winner
International student Harpreet Kaur is the winner of the University of Waikato 2017 Three-Minute Thesis competition for PhD students. Harpreet, from India, is studying non-invasive ways to detect kiwifruit quality using light-based, light-weight equipment and her three-minute explanation of her research won her first prize and People’s Choice awards at this year’s event. She will now go to Queensland to represent Waikato at the Australasian Final next month. Second place-getter Bridgette Farnworth is studying the feasibility of using light to deter rats and mice from entering bird sanctuaries where fences have been damaged or destroyed. Both students won $1000 and Harpreet won another $500 for People’s Choice. The event is supported by chartered accountants Prior Blackburn and the University of Waikato Foundation.
Contact: Renee Boyer07 837 9628,

The environment and the 2017 election
Politicians from the six major political parties will be at the University of Waikato on 30 August to take part in a debate about the state of the environment. The debate has been organised by staff from the Political Science and Public Policy Programme and will cover issues such as water quality, climate change and biodiversity. Co-organiser Professor Priya Kurian says the environment is a major political issue and it is important for people to know what the parties are saying about it, which issues they deem important and what their policies are. The event on Wednesday 30 August starts at 6.15pm in Room S.1.04, Hamilton campus.
Contact: Professor Priya Kurian, 07 837 9319 or

Student addresses obesityNew Zealand has an obesity crisis, but little is known about what influence society has on an individual’s weight and their psychological wellbeing. University of Waikato masters student Sara Runga wants to gain insight into the experiences of people who are overweight by exploring their personal narratives. The psychology student would like to talk to 15 people aged over 18 who are carrying too much weight. She says participants will need access to a camera or smart phone to carry out a photo-voice exercise that will be discussed in follow-up one-on-one interviews. The aim of her research is to learn about everyday experiences and challenges of people who struggle to maintain a healthy weight, which will then influence the design of effective interventions to prevent weight gain and help people lose weight.
Contact: Sara Runga,  021 301 568 or

KuDos for scientistsThree University of Waikato scientists are finalists in this year’s KuDos awards, held to celebrate science in the Waikato. Associate Professor Karin Bryan from Earth and Ocean Sciences primarily researches sediments and nutrients in coastal environments in New Zealand and overseas. She is a finalist in the Waikato Regional Council Environmental Science category. Dr James Neale is a Senior Research Fellow and Leader of the Engineering Energy Research Group, a team investigating industrial energy efficiency, process efficiency, plant reliability and GHG emission reductions, mostly in the dairy and pulp and paper sectors. He’s a finalist in the Engineering Science category, while Dudley Bell, Team Leader (Aquatic) in the School of Science, has been nominated in the Science Manager category for his work in marine, freshwater, behavioural and Antarctic science, supporting graduate and staff research, developing resources and facilitating and managing the vocational aspirations of a large group of technical staff across biological disciplines. Winners will be announced at the KuDos Awards Gala Dinner, 28 September at Claudelands Event Centre.
Contact: Alison Robertson, 07 858 5135, 027 309 4420,

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