Media Advisory August 23


Waikato University’s new Student Centre was officially awarded a five-star rating at a ceremony held at the last week. The New Zealand Green Building Council presented the university with a certificate, awarded for the environmental and sustainable features of the Student Centre design. The Student Centre building is the first building in the region to be awarded five stars. The $30 million project to turn the university Library into a state-of-the-art multi-functional facility is on budget and on schedule to be completed by mid-2011. Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says the five-star award is a significant achievement as the Student Centre demonstrates how the university is creating an exceptional experience for students and staff.


The University of Waikato welcomes competing Great Race crew Cambridge University on Tuesday August 31 with a powhiri at the university’s Te Kohinga Marama Marae. The race takes place at 1pm on Sunday September 5 and will be the fifth time Waikato and Cambridge have gone head to head, with results currently sitting at two apiece. Waikato University have named a young crew this year, with several national age-group representatives, including Matthew Glenn, Richard Harrison, Andrew Healey, Giacomo Thomas, Andrew Myers, Anthony Berkers, Andrew Myers, Jonathan Nabbs, Finian Scott, Matt Lobb and coxswain Ainslee Ashton. Waikato University won the Harry Mahon Trophy last year against the University of Oxford. Meanwhile, the Sydney University crew are returning for a repeat of last year’s results, where they beat the Waikato University women’s crew. The build-up to race day includes sponsors’ dinners, opportunities for the public to meet the crews, and a fun run and walk on Saturday September 4.


New Zealand’s had a Supreme Court for five years now – its establishment ended appeals to the Privy Council. Waikato University Professor Margaret Wilson will talk about this legal rite of passage at this year’s Harkness Henry Lecture at Waikato University’s Faculty of Law on September 9. Criticism of the Privy Council’s role in our judicial system was documented as early as 1904, so why did it take so long for us to find a satisfactory alternative? Professor Wilson was New Zealand’s Attorney General and close to the action when New Zealand finally took the step to finally assert its legal independence and in her lecture will give background and insight into how the Supreme Court Bill evolved, how issues were resolved and the bill finally passed into law. The public lecture is being held on September 9 at 6.15pm in the Academy of Performing Arts on campus.


Antarctica’s extreme environment has fascinated explorers and scientists for many decades, and more recently tourists. But what impact has so many visitors had on the great ice continent and how do we manage human activities? The University of Waikato invites anyone with an interest in Antarctica to Tauranga’s next Café Scientifique on Monday 30 August. The university’s Professor Roberta Farrell will talk about the historic huts and artefacts of the Scott and Shackleton era which have so far survived in the harsh environment but will not last forever. She will discuss the work that is going on to preserve them. Dr Megan Balks, who teaches in the Earth and Ocean Sciences Department at the university, will then discuss the impacts and management of human activities on the soil environment of Antarctica. Her research follows 18 trips “to the ice” to study the environment. Café Scientifique is a forum where anyone can come to explore and question the latest ideas in science and technology. Café Scientifique, Monday 30 August, Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga.


A Waikato University conference promoting Māori research takes place next week. The annual Toi o Matariki conference begins on Tuesday August 31 and highlights the diverse research work of Waikato University’s Māori graduate and postgraduate students. The conference will see students from all the university’s faculties of study present their research over two days. The conference aims to provide a forum for Māori graduate students to promote their work and in turn encourage other Māori students to enter graduate study. The conference runs on August 31 to September 1. For more information visit


Waikato University geography lecturer Associate Professor Lex Chalmers was responsible for setting the test for the International Geography Olympiad, held in Taipei, Taiwan. Twenty-seven teams from around the world competed in the six-day Olympiad, which required participants to compete in a series of examinations using field skills, cartography, multimedia, and writing geographical analyses. New Zealand’s team was made up of four of New Zealand’s most talented geography students. The team - Nat Christensen and Andy Dysart (John McGlashan College); Connor McIver (Riccarton High School); and Callum Dudson (Shirley Boys’ High School) - placed seventh out of 27 teams, winning two silver medals and a bronze. Dr Chalmers, who was part of the Olympiad International Task Force, says the team achieved New Zealand’s best Olympiad result. The International Geography Olympiad brings together the best 16-19 year old geography students from around the world to promote, stimulate and encourage high quality geography education worldwide.


Waikato University’s Spring Lecture Series kicks off next week and is focused on Our City, Our Region. The first speaker in the free public lecture series is Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta who will discuss development opportunities that exist in the Waikato region and the gains to be made with seeking engagement with Māori and local iwi. Ms Mahuta speaks on September 1. Other speakers in the following four weeks include Waikato Management School’s Associate Professor Stuart Locke, and CEO of WEL Networks, Dr Julian Elder. Also speaking is Waikato University’s director of population studies Professor Natalie Jackson, and dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Professor Bruce Clarkson and Chair of Lakes Management Professor David Hamilton. All talks take place at the university’s Academy of Performing Arts, 6.30pm-7.30pm on Wednesdays from September 1 until September 29.


Waikato University doctoral student Fiona Martin heads to Australia next month to present her PhD in three minutes. Ms Martin will compete in the inaugural Australasian Three Minute Thesis competition, which requires her to outline her thesis to a general audience in just three minutes. Her research looks into the death speeches of characters in early modern English dramas, including plays by Shakespeare and lesser known writers, such as Thomas Middleton, John Marston and William Sampson. Ms Martin, who won the university’s version of the competition last year, will take on doctoral students from 33 universities in New Zealand and Australia. The Australasian Three Minute Thesis competition runs September 20-21 and takes place at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.


New Zealand Chamber Soloists’ new CD, Elegy, is sitting at the top of the Radio New Zealand Concert’s classical chart. Released just six weeks ago, the CD that features works by Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and Babajanian has muscled its way up the rankings to sit at number one for the last two weeks. The chamber soloists are Lara Hall on violin, James Tennant on cello and Katherine Austin on piano. They are all based at Waikato University and the CD was recorded at Waikato University’s Academy of Performing Arts concert chamber over two years. It was produced by Atoll Records with award winning director Wayne Laird. Elegy received a five-star rating from the New Zealand Herald reviewer and Radio New Zealand Concert’s reviewer said “the Chamber Soloists get everything right with stunning and passionate performances of all the works”.

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