Media Advisory March 28


An economist who has monitored the pulse of New Zealand’s economy for more than 40 years has been made an Honorary Fellow by the University of Waikato. Brian Silverstone has made a significant research contribution to macroeconomics, with a particular focus on Okun's law, unemployment, business confidence and capacity utilisation. A former president of the New Zealand Association of Economists, he was joint editor and contributor to two edited volumes which rank among this country’s leading publications in economics. One, published in 1978, honoured New Zealand’s most internationally renowned economist A.W.H Phillips; the other, published in 1996, has been described as the seminal work on New Zealand’s economic reform.


Waikato University’s newest professor is concerned at the way New Zealand, like the world’s other prosperous economies, is continuing to pursue economic growth despite the long-term dangers. Bob Evans, professor of Environmental Planning has come to Waikato from the UK where he was Director of the Sustainable Cities Research Institute at Northumbria University. “We need to consider how we can adopt more sustainable and resilient patterns of living, including a dramatic reduction in our consumption of natural resources, both locally and globally.” One example is our use of cars. “Hamilton is sprawling and that means people here use their cars far more than they do in more compact cities. We’ve reached peak oil, there’s instability in the Middle East and demand is increasing, particularly in the booming economies of India and China. So we need to re-think how we plan and manage our cities.” Professor Evans has worked as a town planner in local government, in the private sector and for community organisations before moving to higher education. His most recent research has focused on local governance for sustainability, civic engagement in renewable energy projects, and the ways in which local governments can involve local communities in the process of nurturing more sustainable lifestyles. He will give his Inaugural Professorial Lecture on April 19 at the Academy of Performing Arts.


A Waikato University linguist has put together a New Zealand picture book collection that reflects New Zealand’s national identity. Dr Nicola Daly from the Faculty of Education has just launched a website called which she hopes will be used as a teaching resource in New Zealand schools. She researched more than 500 New Zealand picture books, studying the language and counting the number of loan words in each text. “It’s the language in these books that is going to influence New Zealand English in years to come,” says Dr Daly. From the 500 books she worked with a group of children’s literature experts to select 22 books for her collection, then worked with a postgraduate student and teacher to develop curriculum-based classroom activities for each one. The collection includes three Patricia Grace titles, single works from leading authors Joy Cowley, Margaret Mahy and Lynley Dodd and two from author illustrator Gavin Bishop. Dr Daly’s collection of 22 books has an average of 45 loan words per 1000 words of text. “My collection isn’t finite,” she says. “I’ll be reviewing it every few years and I’m certain people will have their own ideas about what should and shouldn’t be there. We’ve provided an avenue for feedback on the books and activities on the site. My only wish is that it gets used and is useful.”


Our lakes and rivers are becoming increasingly ‘dirty’ and keeping them clean or restoring them to their previous glory is a growing and potentially very expensive problem for local and central government. At Hamilton’s next Café Scientifique, taking place next week, Waikato University’s Associate Professor Chris Hendy will share his insights into the geochemistry of natural waters. He will discuss the problem of oversupply of nutrients, compounds containing phosphorus, nitrogen and silicon. Dr Hendy has been researching lakes and their sediments for more than 40 years. For the past decade he has been working extensively in the lakes of the central North Island to build up an understanding of the importance of lake sediments as both a sink for trace elements including nutrients and a source for recycling them back into the lake system. Hamilton’s April Café Scientifique takes place at Café Français, 711 Victoria Street, Hamilton, at 7.30pm on Tuesday April 5. It is supported by the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering.


Kapa haka, hāngi and a tā moko workshop will be some of the experiences on offer at Kīngitanga Day at Tauranga’s Windermere campus in April. The annual event, which is celebrated at both Hamilton and Tauranga campuses, recognises the University of Waikato’s unique and distinctive connection with Tainui and the Kīngitanga. As well as a hangi lunch, Tauranga participants can enjoy a tā moko and raranga art exhibition at the Void Gallery. At 10am, guest speaker Tame Pokaia, will offer insights into one of the biggest Māori movements in Aotearoa. He will focus on today's changing society and the impacts on the Kīngitanga as we move forward, in the next 25 years and beyond. At 12.45, Te Whānau Mai Tawhiti takes the Pomare stage for its kapa haka performance, and from 1.15-3.15pm, also at Pomare, guest speaker Moera Anderson will talk about the theory of tā moko with a live demonstration. Celebrations for Kīngitanga Day take place 9am-3.30pm on Thursday April 14, with all presentations and exhibitions free and open to the public.


Waikato University’s Te Piringa-Faculty of Law next month celebrates 20 years since enrolling its first students. To mark the occasion a reunion dinner will be held on April 20 with Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker and Māori Land Court Judge Craig Coxhead confirmed as the keynote speakers. The reunion will follow on from the international Justice in the Round conference, being hosted on campus by the faculty on April 18-20. The conference will see speakers address issues of justice from custom and cultural perspectives, rights, and dispute resolution. The faculty will also hold student-oriented events including a student debate and a Thesis in 5 competition, which sees PhD law students present their research in just five minutes. For information visit the Te Piringa-Faculty of Law website.


Waikato University is once again hosting the annual Night Glow as part of the Balloons Over Waikato Festival this week. The festival, most of which takes place at Innes Common near Hamilton’s lake, will be held from March 30 to April 3, with the Night Glow taking place on Saturday April 2 from 4pm on the university’s sports fields. The evening includes performances, fireworks and, from 8pm-8.20pm, the Glow itself when the balloons inflate to music.


Renowned forensic archaeologist Professor Robin Clark will speak at the University of Waikato next week as the guest speaker for the Royal Society of New Zealand Distinguished Speaker public lecture series. Professor Clark is an expert in the use of Raman microscopy in forensic archaeology. Raman spectroscopy is a light scattering technique primarily used in assessing the structure and composition of materials. When a light source such as a laser is coupled to a microscope, the resulting technique – Raman microscopy – is now recognised to provide effective means for identifying micro- to nano-metre sized grains of any material such as a pigment. In this lecture he will explain and explore how the technique of Raman spectroscopy has helped in the restoration, conservation and dating of artwork, along with the detection of forgeries. This lecture takes place at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus on Tuesday April 5 at 7.30pm.

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