Inaugural Professorial Lecture Series 2016

World-changing research. Free lectures.

The Inaugural Professorial Lecture Series at the University of Waikato introduces our newest professors to the community and gives them a chance to demonstrate how their work is having a real impact on the world around us.

We’ve got an exciting line up for the 2016 series, including the latest research in digital music technology, marine ecology, improving farm catchment quality, creativity and spirituality in state education and understanding modern Māori men.

All lectures are free and open to the public and are held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on Tuesdays (dates below) beginning at 5.15pm. A cash bar is open from 4.30pm.

The 2016 Inaugural Professorial Lecture Schedule:

Date Professor Faculty
15 March Professor Brendan Hokowhitu School of Māori and Pacific Development
17 May Professor David Bainbridge Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences
21 June Professor Conrad Pilditch Faculty of Science and Engineering
19 July Professor Ross Lawrenson Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
16 AugustProfessor Graeme DooleWaikato Management School
20 September Professor Alan St Clair Gibson Health, Sport and Human Performance
11 October Professor Kim King Faculty of Science and Engineering
15 November Professor Grant Samkin Waikato Management School
6 December Professor Marnie Campbell Faculty of Science and Engineering

Professor Marnie Campbell

6 December 2016

Human impacts on marine and coastal environments: Issues and solutions in complex systems

Professor Marnie Campbell, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Professor of Biological Sciences Marnie Campbell is passionate about restoring marine ecosystems.

“I love the beach, coastlines and open oceans, and I’d like these ecosystems to be there for my kin now and in the future,” says Professor Campbell.

Her research focuses on ecosystem restoration, biological introductions, and risk systems within coastal and marine ecosystems. A major part of her research involves taking into account the social drivers of problems to create holistic solutions.

“By expanding beyond natural science to involve human dimensions, we can begin to understand the drivers and then create innovative but also pragmatic solutions,” she says.

“As humans continue to use and enjoy the marine and coastal environment, it is important that we understand the extent of the environmental damage being done and our abilities to prevent and mitigate these impacts.”

Her presentation will use three examples from her research career that illustrate the need to understand the different complexities of marine and coastal conservation issues to create solutions that are fit for purpose.

Professor Campbell’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture will be held at the Academy on Tuesday 6 December starting at 5.15pm. It is free and open to the public. Parking is free after 4.30pm in the University’s Gate 1 carpark.

15 November 2016

Moving beyond the green and purple: People I’ve known and places we’re going

Professor Grant Samkin, Waikato Management School

Accounting Professor Grant Samkin insists that “nobody ever wrote a TV show about accountants”, because it’s “too boring”. But he does an excellent job of disproving that staid image of the profession through his own diverse body of research.

Although he entered the profession almost by accident, Professor Samkin has been a chartered accountant for the past 26 years, and an academic for the past 17.

A major theme of his research is non-financial, narrative reporting  – how commercial and public organisations use annual reports to not only report on their financial performance to shareholders, but also as a public relations tool to present themselves in the best possible light and respond to media criticism.

“It’s very interesting to examine the stories that organisations tell about themselves, because you get a much better sense of what they’re about than you do through the financial back-end numbers,” says Professor Samkin.

He is currently developing a new accounting framework that will help external stakeholders measure a company’s performance against biodiversity and natural capital targets.

Professor Samkin’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture will be held at the Academy on Tuesday 15 November starting at 5.15pm. It is free and open to the public. Parking is free after 4.30pm in the University’s Gate 1 carpark.

11 October 2016

Small mustelids in New Zealand: Predator invasion ecology down-under

Professor Kim King, Faculty of Science and Engineering

To manage populations of invasive pests effectively, we must first understand what controls them naturally, says Waikato University’s Professor Carolyn King.

Professor King, known to most people as Kim, is formerly from England, and lectures in zoology in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. At her inaugural lecture she will be discussing how to monitor the numbers, distribution, breeding and population irruptions of rodents and stoats in protected forests.

She says that the number one rule for dealing with pests is to understand what controls them, and how to target them. “You need to remove them faster than they are replacing themselves, otherwise you are only harvesting them.

“In summer, after their single annual breeding season, stoats can become significant pests, especially in beech forests after a heavy seedfall. In most North Island forests they are much less significant pests than ship rats. So efficient pest control has to be well targeted and monitored,” she says.

Her research work over the years has provided the standard techniques for predicting summer irruptions of mice and stoats, and monitoring the results of control work with footprint tunnels, used by active conservation groups around the country.

“The key point is not just to find more and better ways to kill pests, but to know how many were missed, and how soon those killed will be replaced. You need to understand the rate at which you are removing the pest, and which pest you need to target,” says Professor King.

Inaugural professorial lectures are the University of Waikato’s way to introduce its newest professors to the public. Professor King’s lecture on 11 October will take place at 5.15pm in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.

20 September 2016

Sport and Exercise: A potential magic bullet for health and wellness

Professor Alan St Clair Gibson, Dean of Health, Sport and Human Performance

Rather than taking pills as the first option to fix the body and mind, sport and exercise are now considered to be an important intervention for creating and maintaining good health and wellbeing in both the individual and community context.

Professor Alan St Clair Gibson, a former medical doctor and chair of integrative neuroscience, is the new Dean of the new Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance at the University of Waikato. At his inaugural professorial lecture he’ll be discussing the health challenges facing populations in the 21st century and what he’s got planned for the faculty.

He says more holistic methods involving sport and exercise can make a positive and indeed potentially crucial difference to both individual and community health and wellness.

“In some countries a lack of nutrition and infrastructure can be blamed for people’s poor health, but on the other hand, particularly in the Western World, people’s lifestyles have become so sedentary and there’s an excess of nutrition and infrastructure. What we’re seeing is ever-increasing levels of obesity and a whole lot of related illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and a whole host of chronic disorders – including anxiety, stress and mental illness.”

Professor St Clair Gibson’s lecture is on Tuesday 20 September at 5.15pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Gate 1, University of Waikato. Parking is free after 4.30pm.

16 August 2016

Old dirt, new boots: The economics of land, water and people

Professor Graeme Doole, Waikato Management School

“What is the single most effective thing we could do to reduce contaminant loss from New Zealand farms over the next 5-10 years?” asks University of Waikato economist Professor Graeme Doole.

Graeme is one of New Zealand’s leading environmental economists and is an economic adviser to the Ministry for the Environment. At his inaugural lecture on 16 August, he will present his research into the environmental problems associated with agricultural activity on both sides of the Tasman.

The loss of contaminants from farms into waterways remains a huge challenge for New Zealand to overcome, and Graeme believes that gaps remain in terms of how best to identify and implement simpler solutions that would lead to quick environmental wins.

“Society wants better water quality, but at the same time our national economy is heavily reliant on agriculture. Now we’re faced with trying to reverse-engineer our traditional farming systems, and that’s really difficult,” he says.

In recent years, Professor Doole says his academic practice has shifted towards “a more pragmatic economics where I can engage with people and help to solve real-world problems”.

So what does an economist think the future holds for New Zealand? New technological advances could mean we won’t even need to rely on grazing animals, he says.

“There are game-changers coming, but it all depends on what values are most important to us. As consumers, are we willing to eat lab-grown steak?”

The lecture, Old dirt, new boots: The economics of land, water and people, is on Tuesday 16 August at 5.15pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Gate 1, University of Waikato. Parking is free after 4.30pm.

19 July 2016

Why do we have a $400,000 small-town GP job no one wants?

Professor Ross Lawrenson, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Professor Ross Lawrenson says it’s because we aren’t meeting our current medical workforce needs, and part of the reason for that lies in the way we’re training our doctors.

At his Inaugural Professorial Lecture on 19 July at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Professor Lawrenson will discuss the problem with the current medical education system and propose some solutions.

He says the current model of medical education, which dates back to the early-20th century, has created a “GP vs specialist” mind set.

“There’s this idea in society that to be successful, you need to specialise, you can’t be ‘just’ a GP.

“We should be making sure our medical students are representative of the communities they will be working with, and send them out into those communities earlier in their training.”

21 June 2016

The ecology of marine sediments: Why soft bottoms matter

Professor Conrad Pilditch, Faculty of Science and Engineering

If a butterfly flaps its wings in Mexico does it really cause a hurricane in China? Conrad Pilditch thinks it does. The Biological Sciences professor specialises in the processes that influence the structure and function of soft-sediment communities – in other words, a butterfly effect of how large changes can occur as a result of small actions.

At his Inaugural Professorial Lecture on 21 May, Professor Pilditch will discussed his current research on soft sediments, and why we should care about them. “Basically, if you value clean water, productive fisheries and collecting kaimoana, you should care about soft sediments,” he says. Read more.

17 May 2016

Mozart's Laptop: Using computers to aid the creative process

Professor David Bainbridge, Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences

Imagine if Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony wasn’t ever recorded because a young Ludwig forgot to jot down the famous notes “Da-da-da duuumm”.

Thanks to advances in technology and research by Professor David Bainbridge, musicians won’t have to worry about forgetting or misplacing that next big hit. David, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Waikato, is creating tools that will make a musician’s job of composing, storing retrieving and performing their music much easier.

At his Inaugural Professorial Lecture on 17 May, David explained his current research on Music Information Retrieval (MIR); using digital libraries to store and retrieve music files. “The MIR field is relatively young, only emerging about 15 years ago as the technology caught up with the desire to store and retrieve large amounts of sheet music, songs and other audio recordings.”

15 March 2016

Modern Māori Men: Postcolonial formations of Māori Masculinity

Professor Brendan Hokowhitu, School of Māori and Pacific Development

When we think of today’s Māori men, we’re inclined to think staunch, stoic, strong, and often silent.

But early colonial writers often talked of Māori men being very physical and more emotional, even more feminine, than the ‘Victorian Gentlemen’ they were encountering. New Dean of Waikato’s School of Māori and Pacific Development Professor Brendan Hokowhitu has researched what he calls Māori modernities, or how Māori have interacted, evolved or devolved in a postcolonial era, including in relation to masculinity.

In his Inaugural Professorial Lecture, Professor Hokowhitu outlined his research that covers Māori participation in sport and the reasons for it, Māori masculinity in general, and the media’s interface with Māori, whether that be stereotypical representations or Māori or how Māori have taken up media to represent themselves.

This page has been reformatted for printing.