Media Advisory July 05

The University of Waikato hosts a free lecture on the achievements in stem cell research to date and the prospects for future development on July 6. The lecture will be presented by the University of Auckland’s Professor of Molecular Medicine, Katherine Crosier. Professor Crosier is also a haematologist at Auckland Hospital and directs the Developmental and Cancer Genetics Research Laboratory at the University of Auckland. The presentation is on campus at the University of Waikato in AG.30 in the School of Māori & Pacific Development on Tuesday July 6 at 7.30pm.


Weta have an important role as nocturnal scavengers, but they’re vulnerable to predators and the destruction of their habitat. University of Waikato biology student Kristi Bennett spent three months working with the Tongariro Natural History Society to find out more about the weta living around Lake Rotopounamu. Bennett, who’s studying a Bachelor of Science (Technology) degree, spent her time working on pest and rodent control and later, advising the Tongariro society on ways to better monitor weta numbers. She found the society’s original project had too many variables, so she recommended that they increase the number of “weta motels”, standardise the weta observation process, and designate an area for rodent control. The society has adopted Bennett’s recommendations. Her work placement was organised by the Cooperative Education Unit in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The Cooperative Education Unit organises more than 200 work placements each year for Waikato University students studying for tech degrees in science and engineering.


A University of Waikato Centre for Continuing Education art session exploring poetry happens on July 15. In this session of Demystifying the Arts, Waikato Times theatre critic Gail Pittaway speaks with poet Meg Davies about her works. Demystifying the Arts is a series of interactive and live discussions which aim to put the audience in touch with experts of the arts. Discussions occur in an informal, friendly and engaging atmosphere. This session takes place on Thursday July 15 at the Waikato Museum and costs $5. For more information visit


A new survey shows staff in accounting firms place a high value on work-life balance, and for many employees it can make all the difference between staying or leaving. The initial findings from a University of Waikato Management School survey of more than 60 employees in 20 accounting firms reveal that nearly half the respondents plan to move on from their current employers within three years, but more than two-thirds are looking for a long-term career in accounting. Dr Linda Twiname developed the survey with Dr Helen Samujh and Summer Research Scholarhip student Steven Rae to examine recruitment and retention within the accounting profession. She says that firms wanting to retain staff should focus on offering a good work-life balance. “Our survey showed 87% of respondents see flexible employment arrangements as a real ‘enticement’ to stay with a firm or return after an OE break,” she says. The researchers also conducted a separate survey of 11 accounting firms in the Waikato, Wellington and Tauranga areas, looking at ways to quantify the costs of recruiting new graduates. Initial findings reveal that over the course of the first year of employment, the investment in new graduates amounts to between two and three-and-a-half times their entry-level salary. The researchers are now looking for more accounting firms to participate in the surveys.


Absolute beginners wanting an introduction to the Māori language can join up for an eight-week evening class offered by the University of Waikato Continuing Education in Tauranga. The course will focus on pronunciation and the construction of simple sentences. It assumes no prior knowledge of the language and will teach participants how to make greetings, say names and ask simple questions, talk about family and use numbers. Business groups may also find this course useful for staff as an introduction. It will be held on Wednesday evenings from 6-8pm beginning July 21 and costs $150.


A Waikato University biological scientist has been recognised for a lifetime of research with a Doctor of Science (DSc) from Oxford University. Oxford is the home university of Professor Allan Green. He received the DSc in recognition of his three main areas of research: the terrestrial plant performance in Antarctica, which has seen Professor Green complete about 15 research trips to both the Ross Sea and Antarctic Peninsula; research understanding how lichens perform photosynthetically; and understanding the photosynthetic performance and water relations of other plants including kiwifruit, avocado, and native forest ecosystems.


About 30 secondary school students will experience life as a university law student on Tuesday July 13 as they attend the University of Waikato Law Student for a Day programme. Budding young lawyers will come onto campus, spending the day attending law lectures and tutorials, chatting with senior law students, and exploring the Law Library. Students will also get the opportunity to discuss their future study options with the Law student advisers.


Ann Easter has gifted and talented children, but that’s not the reason she’s studying high achieving students for her PhD. Ann, mother to Ashley and Caitlin has been awarded a three-year University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship to study children who come to university early. “Overseas evidence shows that advancing gifted children through the education system is beneficial,” says Ann, “but there’s a lot of negative reaction to it in New Zealand, often around the social and emotional development needs of children not being met.” Ann’s own son Ashley was 17 when he started university, not much younger than most first year students. But now, at 23, he’s about to leave Waikato to study for his PhD at Cambridge University in the UK. He’s one of three New Zealanders to receive a Woolf Fisher scholarship that covers study fees, living costs and flights for three years – worth about $250,000, he says. Daughter Caitlin Easter is a recipient of Waikato’s Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship which covers her university fees. She represents Waikato in netball and swimming and is in the third year of a Bachelor of Social Science. Next year she’ll do honours and after that hopes to be one of eight students accepted onto Waikato’s postgraduate clinical psychology programme, which will require another four years of study. There’s one member of the Easter family who isn’t currently studying, but Dad Michael also attended Waikato University, one of the early graduates of a Master of Science in biochemistry.


The University of Waikato Continuing Education is offering beginners a new three week course on financial literacy later this month in Tauranga. Aimed at teaching people valuable money skills, the Money Talk! evening course will help participants understand how money works and about their own personal money habits. They will learn how to develop a spending and savings plan for their family and discuss the dos and don’ts of money lending. Presenter Sylvia Bowden is a budget adviser and life coach and wrote How to stop your kids from going broke – which each participant receives as part of the course fee. Money Talk! costs $90 and runs from 6.30-8.30pm Mondays and Thursdays from July 26 - August 12.

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