Media Advisory April 11


An online academic journal published solely in Te Reo is to be launched this week at the University of Waikato. The University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori, Professor Linda Smith, says the new journal, Te Kōtihitihi – Ngā Tuhinga Reo Māori, has been established by a group of emerging researchers at Waikato who were looking around for opportunities to publish in Te Reo. “They were talking about how difficult it was to get research published in Te Reo and how hard it was to provide their students with contemporary Māori research published entirely in the Māori language,” she says. “So I encouraged them to solve the problem themselves!” Guided by a four-strong editorial team from Waikato’s School of Māori and Pacific Development and Faculty of Education, Te Kōtihitihi aims to attract original research on a wide range of topics. The editorial team aims to publish Te Kōtihitihi twice yearly, and the journal will carry academic papers, opinion pieces, book reviews and creative work – all in Te Reo. Issue No 1 contains six academic papers written specially for the journal on topics ranging from language revitalisation, Māori history, tikanga and mātauranga Māori. Also featured is an original haka composition that was performed at Te Matatini, the national kapa haka competition. Contributors came from the universities of Waikato, Massey and Victoria.


Waikato University is set for its annual Kīngitanga Day on April 14. The University of Waikato has had strong connections with the Kīngitanga and Tainui since the university was founded in 1964 and it is this distinctive relationship that the university honours each year through Kīngitanga Day. Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori Professor Linda Smith says Kīngitanga Day is now into its third year and has become a permanent fixture on the university’s calendar. “Kīngitanga Day is a great opportunity for the university to engage with the wider community through activities that celebrate our distinctive heritage, histories and relationships,” she says. “Our relationship with the Kīngitanga and Waikato-Tainui, but also many other iwi across the country, has always been a fundamental aspect of this university.” Celebrations for Kīngitanga Day begin at 9am with a range of presentations and seminars from leading academics and guest speakers, including Ministers Dr Pita Sharples and Dr Wayne Mapp and Waikato University Chancellor Jim Bolger. Haka and poi demonstrations, weaving and craft workshops, competitions and prize giveaways, and a range of entertainment are also planned. All activities are free and open to the public. Waikato University will also be holding a banquet at the Academy of Performing Arts for Kīngi Tuheitia, who is due to spend the day on campus, and other invited guests. For more information visit the Kīngitanga Day website.


The University of Waikato hosts an event on Kīngitanga Day (April 14) to showcase research capabilities relevant to Māori business. The event is part of a series of events, sponsored by the Tertiary Education Commission and run by the Universities Commercialisation Offices of New Zealand to promote what New Zealand universities are doing for business/investors, and to boost relationships with industry. All the universities are involved in the series and take turns to host events on different themes. Speakers at the University of Waikato event include Science and Innovation Minister Dr Wayne Mapp and Materoa Dodd of the Federation of Māori Authorities. A panel of guest speakers in the afternoon will consider the context of Māori innovation and how to connect with research and development.


Two teams of computer science students from the University of Waikato are heading to the finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in Auckland tomorrow, April 12 to present software they’ve created to analyse small predator movements. Twenty teams of university students are competing to represent New Zealand in the global student technology competition that seeks an innovative and workable solution to an issue related to the UN’s Millennium Goals on hunger relief, poverty, education, disease control, healthcare and the environment. Team Taiao – Jess Champion, Michelle Clark and Michael Fowke – worked with the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust to develop image recognition software that can ‘count’ the number of mouse tracks on the tracking cards used by conservationists in sanctuaries such as Maungatautari. Tracking cards are inked cards that can be placed in strategic locations to monitor the activity of predators such as rodents. If a mouse crosses the card, it leaves ink tracks. It can take up to three years to train someone to read the cards consistently, and the trust processes 4000 cards a month. The Taiao software automates this process, minimising the delay between collecting and reading the cards, and allowing for quicker response when pests are detected.


A Waikato University scientist who’s worked tirelessly to preserve New Zealand’s flora, fauna, forests, wetlands and waterways is being made an Emeritus Professor. Dr Warwick Silvester spent 30 years at Waikato University and during that time says he became “reasonably knowledgeable” about a number of things, especially nitrogen fixing bacteria and the way soil properties, microbes and root systems of plants influence the availability of nutrients. He pioneered the use of stable isotopes to track nitrogen fluxes through forest, pasture and wetland ecosystems. In 1987 he helped establish Waikato University’s Stable Isotope Unit and served as its director for 20 years. Clients from all over the world still make regular use of this facility. Off campus, Dr Silvester has been a member of the Tongariro/Taupo Conservation Board and chaired the development of the recent Tongariro National Park Management Plan. He remains a key member of the Technical Advisory Group for the Rotorua Lakes and since his retirement he has been heavily involved in land use research around the lakes – a major research project at Waikato University funded by the Foundation of Research Science and Technology. A ceremony to bestow the title of Emeritus Professor on Dr Silvester will take place on 13 April.


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 Tuesday April 19 at the Academy of Performing Arts.


Trenchers, gowns and a mass of red balloons will fill Devonport Road at the end of the month as graduands head to the University of Waikato’s Tauranga campus graduation ceremony at the Holy Trinity Church in 3rd Avenue. In total, 130 students will be graduating, the same number as last year. This year recipients will include one PhD graduate and three Masters graduates. This year will also see the first three graduates from the four-year Bachelor of Social Work Degree, which was set up in 2009 and the first programme to be jointly developed as part of the University’s partnership with the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. While it only began two years ago, it has included both University social sciences students and graduates of the two-year Diploma in Social Practice from the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, who have gone on to complete the final two years of the degree. The graduation ceremony takes place on Friday 29 April, beginning with the street parade from Red Square at 1.45pm. The ceremony begins at 2.30pm.


Waikato opened its doors to its first law students in 1991 promising to be different from other law schools. Waikato’s distinctive curriculum focused on professionalism, law in context, biculturalism and the Treaty of Waitangi. Current Māori Land Court Judge Craig Coxhead, who was an early graduate of the faculty, says it is this approach that has enabled the law school to build its reputation. “The law school has to be of value to communities and this law school definitely is,” he says. “Waikato produces graduates who obviously have the legal skills, but they also have the attributes which provide value to a broad spectrum of areas, such as law firms, government departments, community groups, and hapū and iwi.” Judge Coxhead, along with Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker who is also a graduate of the faculty, is the keynote speaker at the Te Piringa-Faculty of Law gala dinner which will be held on April 20. The dinner is part of celebrations to mark 20 years of legal education at Waikato. The gala dinner 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.

Waikato University’s Professor Chris Battershill will discuss the important role New Zealand plays in biochemical discoveries in the next Tauranga Café Scientifique taking place tonight, April 11. He will speak about biomedical discovers which have been crucial to the development of anti-cancer and anti-tumour drugs. A recent example is the part New Zealand played in the successful development of a new breast cancer active drug derived from a marine sponge. Professor Battershill is the university’s Chair in Coastal Science in Tauranga. His role aims to expand coastal science endeavours in the region through links with existing expertise to provide integrated education, training, and research efforts from the ranges to the reef. Tauranga’s Café Scientifique takes place at 7.30pm on Monday April 11 and will be held Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. These sessions are supported by Waikato University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering.

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