Media Advisory April 26


About 3,000 students and teachers from as far away as Northland and Hawkes Bay are expected to converge on the University of Waikato’s campus for the annual Open Day on April 30. Open Day is designed to give prospective students a taste of university life and an opportunity to find out more about what the University of Waikato offers. The event is open to everyone who is thinking about full- or part-time tertiary study, from secondary school level to mature students. Would-be students can attend mini lectures on topics such as “No-one here gets out alive! The ethics of life and death decisions”, “The biggest volcanic eruptions on earth!” and “What presses your buttons: money, ego or love? How to get maximum value from studying at the Waikato Management School”. Other activities include campus and facility tours, and a chance to check out degree programmes, speak with University students and staff, and take part in laboratory demonstrations. The University of Waikato Open Day runs from 9am to 2pm on Friday April 30. For more information call 0800 WAIKATO or visit for a programme.


They’re identical twins graduating from the University of Waikato with identical degrees, and they’ve flummoxed employers by applying for the same jobs. Former Cambridge High students Mark and Simon Wilkinson say they’ve been confusing people all their lives. “It’s hard to differentiate our CVs,” says Mark, who with his twin graduates on May 5 with a Bachelor of Management Studies (Honours), majoring in economics and finance. Even the Treasury couldn’t choose between them: the twins were jointly awarded the inaugural prize for a student dissertation on capital markets sponsored by the Reserve Bank, the Treasury and the Ministry of Economic Development. The brothers are currently looking at careers in the finance industry, and not surprisingly, they’re applying for exactly the same jobs. “We’ve definitely made an impact,” says Mark. “I got a phone call from one company for a second interview, and the woman said to just pass the phone over to my brother.” The twins put their success at securing job interviews down to Waikato Management School’s good reputation. It’s one of only three institutions in Australasia to have Triple Crown accreditation, an international acknowledgement of excellence in business education.


Professor Margaret Wilson, Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University Waikato and former parliamentary speaker, has been awarded the inaugural Link Visiting Professorship to the UK. Sponsored by the NZ-UK Link Foundation, the three-month visiting professorship will begin in October at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. During her stay, Professor Wilson will give at least four public presentations or lectures on topics including electoral systems, taking into account New Zealand’s experience with MMP, the role of relatively new Supreme Courts in both countries, and the role of human rights institutions and their relationship with Parliament. The NZ-UK Link Foundation works for the advancement of education for the benefits of the public in the UK and New Zealand. The Foundation has established scholarships and exchange schemes for individuals to study and teach the economic, social, cultural and scientific history of both countries and the inter-relationships between them.


Waikato University’s first Inaugural Professorial Lecture for 2010 looks at the looming threat of accelerated population ageing. The free public lecture on May 18 is delivered by Professor Natalie Jackson, Director of the Population Studies Centre. The lecture will focus on Prof Jackson’s research into how accelerated population ageing will threaten the existence of New Zealand’s welfare state. Her lecture will propose the need for a society shift which prioritises children and redistributes access to age pension according to whether or not one has been a parent. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the university’s way of formally introducing new and recently appointed professors to the wider community. Prof Jackson’s public lecture takes place at 6.30pm on Tuesday May 18 in the WEL Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts at Waikato University.


Waikato University earth scientist Megan Balks has been elected to the board of the QE2 National Trust. The Trust helps private landowners in New Zealand to protect significant natural and cultural features on their land. The trust currently has 3,300 registered covenants protecting – in perpetuity – 93,500 hectares of natural and cultural features. Dr Balks, who lives on a small sheep farm on Mt Pirongia, has 24 hectares of lowland forest protected with QE2 covenants. With more than 20 years teaching and research experience in soil and environmental sciences and a life-long conservationist, Dr Balks is well qualified to be a director of the Trust. She served two terms on the Waikato Conservation Board including one as chairperson and she is a fellow of the NZ Society of Soil Science. She has also carried out extensive research in Antarctica, including the impacts of human activities on the Antarctic terrestrial environment; land treatment and disposal of effluent; irrigation, soil salinity.


Waikato University’s Faculty of Law presents two public law seminars, set to take place next week. Respect, Respond, Resolve explores the meaning of social justice for people with diverse disabilities and also discusses creative strategies for developing and sustaining robust legal advocacy for under-represented communities in the future. This seminar is presented by guest speaker Associate Professor Kate Diesfeld of AUT and takes place at 6pm on Wednesday May 5, at the main University of Waikato campus, room S.1.02. Lawyers and Unpopular Clients looks at the role of the lawyer as advocate and is presented by Attorney General, the Hon Christopher Finlayson MP. Discussion topics will begin with John Adams' defence of the accused in the Boston Massacre trial and lead on to more recent cases. This seminar takes place at 11.30am on Friday May 7, at the main University of Waikato campus, room L.G.02. For more information on these lectures visit


A survey of software development practices in New Zealand by a group of researchers from the universities of Waikato and Victoria has been named the most influential paper of the past 10 years by Australia’s leading software engineering forum. The award was made at the 21st Australian Software Engineering Conference held recently in Auckland. "A Survey of Software Development Practices in the New Zealand Software Industry” is authored by Drs Lindsay Groves and Ray Nickson of Victoria University, and Drs Greg Reeve, Steve Reeves and Mark Utting of the University of Waikato.


How would you respond if a homeless person picked up the leftovers on your plate as you dined in a foodcourt, or people criticised what you’d put in your supermarket trolley? Waikato University social psychologists have been studying situations like this as they try to understand the relations between people and groups and how societies and culture shape people’s lives. Together with Australian academics they have produced a book called Social Psychology and Everyday Life. Waikato’s Associate Professor Darrin Hodgetts says each chapter begins with a story, for example, characters in a speed dating situation, taking a taxi ride, or visiting the supermarket; then having set the scene they apply different concepts and theories to explain human interactions and relationships. The aim is to inform our understandings of everyday life in increasingly diverse societies. The book has been produced for a global market. Hodgetts says it is already being used as a set text by the London School of Economics and is being considered for translation into Chinese.


Swedish pianist Peter Jablonski is coming to Waikato University to perform in the International Celebrity Showcase series and give a master class that’ll be open to the public. Jablonski is London based, born in Sweden to Polish parents and has played with many of the world’s leading orchestras particularly in Europe and the US and sometimes appears on tour with his brother Patrik, who’s also a piano soloist. Manager of the university’s WEL Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts Jeremy Bell says it’s a huge coup to have Peter come to Hamilton. “He’s not your run of the mill virtuoso,” says Bell. The Academy is offering an early bird special of $35 a ticket for the concert on Sunday May 16 at 5pm so long as tickets are purchased before May 1. The master class is on Friday May 14.


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