Media Advisory March 22


It’s a nigh-on impossible task: naming everyone in a group photo from 50 years ago, but Terry Stowers has nearly done it. He’s spent the past year studying a photo, taken in 1960, of the first ever intake of trainee teachers to the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Education – then known as the Hamilton Teachers’ College Department of Education, and he’s managed to identify all 173 people in the picture – bar one. It’s part of the preparation work for the Faculty’s 50th anniversary later this year. “It’s a bit of a mystery,” says Stowers, who as a 17-year-old was himself part of the 1960 student intake. “He has been positively identified by several people, but according to college records that person didn’t arrive until a year later in 1961.” A photo is available and Stowers is hoping someone will recognise the face and help him fill in the blank. “If it’s the guy we think it is, he’s a guy who’s lost an arm. He supposedly had an accident either before starting college or early on in the first year. It’s possible he had to leave college and then start again, which might explain why the records don’t match.” Stowers is also working on identifying people in the student intake photo for 1961, and would like to hear from anyone who was part of either group. “These are the students who all started and completed their training while the Teachers’ College was still based in Melville, before the move up to the current University campus,” he says.


Insects and fungi are the David and Goliath story of New Zealand’s weeds. Most of the 300 invasive species that a pose a threat to the environment are garden escapes with the weediest places being those nearest towns. At the next Tauranga Café Scientifique, hear from Environment Bay of Plenty Pest Plant Officers John Mather, Walter Stahel and Sara Brill who will discuss biological weed control which involves the targeted release of insects and fungi that are natural enemies of weeds. This café session takes place on Monday March 29, 7.30pm, at Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. Café Scientifique is a place where for the price of a coffee or glass of wine, people can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Sessions aim to raise public awareness of science and are supported by Waikato University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering.


This week Waikato University is hosting the Night Glow as part of the Balloons Over Waikato Festival. The festival, most of which takes place at Innes Common near Hamilton’s lake, takes place March 24-28, with the Night Glow taking place on Saturday March 27 from 4pm on the university’s sports fields. The evening will include performances, fireworks and, from 8pm-8.20pm, the Glow itself when the balloons inflate to music.


Waikato University will host a seminar examining carbon footprinting on March 31. Carbon Footprinting – where to next? will discuss carbon footprinting of products in supermarkets and the likely steps in demonstrating environmental credentials for export sectors. The seminar is presented by Professor Roland Clift of the University of Surrey in the UK. Professor Clift was involved in the development of PAS 2050, a carbon footprinting method used for labelling products in UK supermarkets. New Zealand’s work on carbon footprinting of agricultural products is aligning to this very method. The seminar takes place 3.30pm on Wednesday March 31 and is held in the seminar room of the McMeekan Centre at the University of Waikato Ruakura satellite campus.


Sir Paul Grant, a principal who suspended 300 troublemakers in his first week at a tough East London secondary school, is at Waikato University on March 22 and 23 to talk to School of Education staff and invited school principals. He says he took the tough approach to show the 'anything goes' culture had to change. Last year East London’s Robert Clack School received the best A-level results in the borough and some of the best in the capital. "Accountability and professionalism are both key to a successful school. I'm a strong advocate of the professionalism of the teaching profession and believe that very good teachers accept accountability. Teaching is such an important profession that we need to accept that people will look at us and expect us to have high standards," he says. Sir Paul says having test results focuses the mind and makes people accountable. "Yes you get people screaming and shouting that you will only teach to the test, but where's the accountability in the tougher, poorer areas? What's the alternative? Do we sit back and watch the children fail? That's not me saying I don't trust teachers, but I think all human beings need a bit of pressure and having that accountability is the key."


A University of Waikato economist has stepped into the current hot debate over the future shape of local and regional government in the Waikato region. Professor Frank Scrimgeour, who is Dean of the Waikato Management School, has presented to local MPs and mayors a report outlining six different options to take the region into the future. We’re starting to have a debate on the future governance of the Waikato region, but for the most part it’s been a conversation without information,” said Professor Scrimgeour. “My contribution aims to focus this debate on matters of importance and tease out the implications of the different ways we could go.” He said any reform must balance economies of scale and scope with local identity engagement. He presented six options for discussion, including versions which would see three unitary councils across the region or one regional council plus two to five territorial authorities. The university will host a mid-year forum on the issue.


Cricketer and rail safety campaigner Chris Cairns is on campus at Waikato University on March 25 to talk to masters student Helen Clark about the level crossing research she is working on. Clark is looking at whether visual illusions might contribute to accidents on railway level crossings. Her research is part of a wider, Marsden-funded vision science project, led by Associate Professor John Perrone of the Traffic & Road Safety Research Group at the University of Waikato. The Marsden project is looking at the role of eye movements in our perception of the speed of moving objects (such as trains). Cairns will talk to Clark during a visit to campus on Thursday, March 25. The former New Zealand cricketer established the Chris Cairns Foundation after his sister Louise was killed in a level crossing accident in 1993.


Waikato University will host the first international Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines conference in November. The conference aims to encourage and stimulate discussions among researchers and practitioners with three broad themes, social justice and transformation, practice and advocacy, and emerging methods. Ethnography, which is the study of culture and cultural processes, involves a number of disciplines from law and education to health and business. The Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines conference takes place November 17-19 and is held at the main University of Waikato campus. For more information visit


University of Waikato researchers are embarking on a three-year study of dying, death and bereavement among contemporary Māori. The Kia Ngawari study aims to increase knowledge and understanding of Māori palliative needs, both within the healthcare system and among whānau. Dr Tess Moeke-Maxwell, an experienced mental health researcher and professional counsellor has won a 2010 Health Research Council Career Development Award, worth $341,443, for the post-doctoral research. The Erihapeti Rehu-Murchie Research Fellowship in Māori Health will allow her to identify and interview up to 30 end of life whānau living in Waikato and South Auckland, and complete up to eight full case studies. Dr Moeke-Maxwell will be working with two noted Waikato academics. Associate Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora is the founding Director of the Māori & Psychological Research Unit, and Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku (CNZM) of the School of Māori and Pacific Development is an eminent cultural, arts and heritage researcher. “We want to throw a lens on Māori families’ experiences of death and dying to gather valuable experiential data on Māori processes associated with end of life,” says Dr Moeke-Maxwell. “We hope people who participate in the study will feel that they are contributing to something important, and see this as a way of helping others and generations to come. At the end of this study we will know a lot more about how whānau are doing during this part of the life cycle.” The study will also help identify the gaps in help available from formal and informal services, such as the health care system, rest homes, funeral services and Māori support systems.


Waikato University’s annual Distinguished Alumni Awards take place in August and nominations are open until the end of April. The awards celebrate University of Waikato alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their careers or communities. All nominations are confidential and use the broad criteria of excellence and achievement. Previous winners have included Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Judy McGregor, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua and former Telecom head Theresa Gattung. The 2010 awards will be presented at a formal dinner hosted by university’s Chancellor, former Prime Minister Jim Bolger, and the Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford on August 27. Nominations close April 30.


Pregnancy can be a stressful time and often the partner of a pregnant woman gets symptoms that mirror pregnancy – food cravings and weight gain, constipation, labour pains, headaches and toothache, to name a few. It’s known as Couvade Syndrome. Waikato University student Irene Lichtwark had a 10-week Summer Research Scholarship to investigate the affliction that she says is common but under-researched. “There are many theories as to why people, mostly men, get Couvades,” she says. “Some put it down to anxiety for their partner, others say it’s sympathy. Some theorists blame envy, while others say it’s a man’s way of preparing for fatherhood. I think it’s wrong to put it down simply to attention seeking.” Lichtwark surveyed pregnant couples from Putaruru to Otorohanga and up to Thames. Her research is part of a bigger study into stress in pregnancy being led by Dr Carrie Barber at Waikato University. As well as the summer research scholarship Lichtwark was recently awarded a $6000 Freemasons university scholarship. The scholarships are awarded to students who are active in the community, have a good academic record, demonstrate good citizenship and leadership potential.


Waikato University is supporting the Jazz Club concert series as part of the National Jazz Festival in Tauranga. The festival takes place April 1-5, with the Jazz Club concert series taking place from Thursday April 1 to Sunday April 4. The Jazz Club concert series includes evening performances by Nairobi Trio, L.A Mitchell, Zamba Flam, the Jews Brothers, and much more. The National Jazz Festival is the third oldest jazz festival in the world. For event and ticket information visit

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