Media Advisory June 14


The University of Waikato, now into its fourth year as a strategic partner at Fieldays, will again have a strong presence at the event. This year’s theme is Innovation for Future Profit, and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says it’s fitting for the university because ideas are its stock in trade. The university stand, in the Premier Feature area, showcases some of the organisation’s relevant and ground-breaking research such as carbon sequestration, bioplastics, soil enrichment, and waterways management. The university also hosts a Seminar Series, featuring university researchers, and speakers such as Gareth Morgan.


Waikato University’s Professor Terry Healy has been awarded a Queen’s Birthday Honour and the University of Waikato Medal in the space of a week. Professor Healy was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the June 7 honours list. Just days before, he was presented with the University of Waikato Medal at a ceremony on campus. Professor Healy is widely regarded as New Zealand’s pre-eminent coastal scientist. At the end of May he was presented with a life membership of the NZ Coastal Society – only the third person and the first scientist to be awarded that.


A University of Waikato professor has spoken out about population ageing. Professor Natalie Jackson, director of the university’s Populations Studies Centre, recently addressed the Royal Society of New Zealand in Rotorua and discussed how accelerated population ageing will threaten the existence of New Zealand’s welfare state. On June 9, she addressed the Welfare Working Group Forum in Wellington and outlined the challenges to and opportunities for the benefit system arising out of population ageing, and pointed to the critical need to invest now in the country's teens and children - tomorrow's taxpayers. Last month, Professor Jackson presented her inaugural professorial lecture, which is the university’s way of formally introducing new and recently appointed professors to the wider community. She spoke on a similar theme.


A University of Waikato Centre for Continuing Education lecture will explore the processes started by American Indians to ensure their needs as sovereign societies are met. Reclaiming Futures: Possibilities for American Indian Tribal Development will discuss key elements of community development that can support and sustain innovative strategies for tribal self-reliance in the 21st century. This lecture is presented by Dr Judith Antell, who is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation and director of American Indian Studies at the University of Wyoming. This free public lecture takes place today, June 14 from 6-7pm and is held at the University of Waikato main campus, room S.G.03. For more information visit


To achieve its goal of going national, Hamilton law firm Tompkins Wake should specialise in commercial and agricultural law and expand its services to Taranaki, Wellington and Canterbury. That’s what senior strategy students have recommended for the firm at the Waikato University Management School business case competition. Four teams competed in the case competition final, chosen from 22 teams. The winning group of five, calling itself The Strugglers, developed a strategy that called for Tompkins Wake to diversify, develop and dominate. They’d do this by specialising, merging with another firm from outside the city that focussed on commercial and government law, tout for agribusiness clients at major events such as Fieldays and A&P shows and make more efficient use of technology to liaise with clients, especially in remote regions. To fix the age-old problem of young lawyers leaving New Zealand firms to take an OE, The Strugglers recommended developing relationships with international law firms in London and the US so their staff could go overseas, work and gain international law experience and then return to take up positions again with Tompkins Wake in New Zealand. Richard Rowley, CEO at Tompkins Wake, said some of their ideas they’re doing already, some they’ve already rejected for various reasons, but the students also presented ideas they’d never thought of so participating in the competition was a rewarding experience. The Strugglers won $2,500 in the Telecom-sponsored event. The judges were Margaret Wilson – law professor and former Attorney General and Speaker of the House, Graham Naylor – a partner at Deloitte and Michelle Kong from Telecom.


A Waikato University student has designed the perfect tabletop guardian, a robot which can detect and destroy a foreign object entering its territory – the table. Electronic engineering student Ahmad Hassan has won the annual University of Waikato Mechatronics Cup with a winning design for a tabletop robot made out of Lego, programmed to detect an object and knock it off the table, without the robot toppling to the ground after it. Ahmad’s robot was made by drawing on his knowledge over a range of subjects, making it not only electronically, but structurally sound. The Mechatronics Cup is an electronic engineering competition designed to help fourth year students apply the knowledge they have acquired throughout their degree. Winners of the Mechatronics Cup are students who excel and are usually in high demand after graduating.


Staycations – where people stay home for their holidays and do day trips or overnighters to tourist destinations could be the answer for rural tourism, especially in the Waikato. Dr Jenny Cave from the University of Waikato’s Department of Tourism and Hospitality will be talking at Fieldays this week about farm tourism. She says the Waikato is regarded as a through-route but with the huge population close by, city dwellers could come to the region for real-farm experiences. But Dr Cave warns that while tourism ventures are often cheap to set up, operators tend to be overly optimistic about the money they’ll make. She advises that before opening up the farm gate to tourists, farmers should do their homework by carrying out focus groups and talking to information centres and regional tourism organisations to see what’s currently available and what’s missing in a region. Dr Cave is speaking at Fieldays on Thursday as part of Waikato University’s seminar series.


The most recent research on the Waikato River, from Taupo to Port Waikato, has been documented in a new book. The Waters of The Waikato: the ecology of New Zealand’s longest river, edited by Professor David Hamilton and Dr Kevin Collier from Waikato University and W N (Bill) Vant (Environment Waikato) and Clive Howard-Williams (NIWA), will be launched next month. It’s intended as a resource for people who use and manage the river, and covers issues of water quality, sediment levels, wetland and lake protection, pest and native fish, and plant, invertebrate and bird life. Nearly 50 researchers, including academics, working scientists, iwi, and others who work in land and water management, contributed to the 15 chapters. The Waters of the Waikato has been published by Waikato University’s Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research and Environment Waikato, with input from NIWA and 13 other organisations.


Five Waikato University students were presented with a share of $34,000 in Freemasons scholarships at a ceremony held in Wellington recently. The Freemasons scholarships recognise students who are academic high achievers and are also actively involved in the community. Among the recipients were masters student Melanie Haeata, who received $10,000, and university students Vanessa Cameron-Lewis, Irene Lichtwark, Claire Mulholland, Steven Rae, who each received $6,000. Freemasons scholarships have been awarded to university students since 1992.


Waikato University’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) have been helping raise funds for the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust (MEIT) – the largest ecological restoration project in New Zealand. SIFE is a non-profit global organisation that encourages university students to work on sustainable community ventures. SIFE is selling BPA-free stainless steel drink bottles that feature pictures of the flora and fauna of Maungatautari. Hamilton outdoor store Trek ‘n’ Travel came to the party and advanced the bottles. The students have been selling them from the SIFE office on campus and at events being held in the Karapiro-Cambridge area. The MEIT project is one of several that about 30 SIFE students from across the university are working on. They have a Business Advisory Board that gives them advice and direction as they work on establishing successful enterprises. The team will travel to Auckland next month to compete against AUT for a place at SIFE World Cup being held in Los Angeles in October.


Waikato Management School is to host the first in a series of international conferences which will examine the past, present and future roles for public relations in constructing a nation's image. The inaugural conference, Global Concerns and Futures for Public Relations, will be held on June 28. Conference co-organiser, Professor David McKie says PR is substantially shaped by material locations, especially nations: "Participants will be talking on PR impacts on nations from Europe to South America as well as Australasia , and address events as diverse as business investment, messages in wartime, and the risk in cultivating images of national purity.” Keynote speakers at the one-day June event include Professor Ryszard Lawniczak from Poznan University of Economics in Poland, Professor Jordi Xifra of Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain, and from Waikato Professor Juliet Roper and Associate Professor Debashish Munshi.

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