Media Advisory September 19


Media audiences demonstrate a remarkable appetite for violent imagery says the University of Waikato’s Professor Kay Weaver. Professor Weaver, of the Waikato Management School and Pro Vice-Chancellor Postgraduate, is an expert on media and communication and will discuss her research into media representations of violence and gender as part of her inaugural professorial lecture being held tomorrow. She will also speak on campaigns designed to prevent violent behaviour as well as explore other controversial social issues, such as communication campaigns on genetic engineering. “Communication impacts on people and society, so we need to think about what and how we communicate, and how that might encourage positive or negative behaviours,” she says. “I’m interested in the limits of what we think we can communicate in public, and how communication is used to motivate people to participate as citizens in decision-making processes about what we want in this country.” Professor Weaver’s lecture, titled Stories we tell and the worlds we create: From violence to public relations and dialogue in communication research, takes place at 6.30pm tomorrow Tuesday September 20 at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the university’s way of formally introducing new and recently appointed professors to the wider community. All lectures are free and open to the public.


University of Waikato students have received a record number of nominations for Blues Awards. First awarded in 1971, the Blues Awards recognise the commitment and achievements of students in either sport or performing arts. This year, nearly 100 nominations were received and more than 50 Blues Awards will be given out at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the awards on Friday September 30. Past Blues Award winners include Olympic gold medalist Rob Waddell, Silver Fern Joline Henry, former netball player and television host Jenny-May Coffin and former Tall Blacks captain Pero Cameron. For information on the Blues Awards event visit


A computer game featuring a cheeky pufferfish was launched last week by Asthma Waikato to help educate children to better manage asthma. The game has been created by two University of Waikato PhD students, who worked with Asthma Waikato and asthma experts to ensure the game gives kids the right messages. Sam Sarjant and Dacre Denny have also developed a computer-based colouring game along the same lines.


How the brain helps us to see three-dimensional objects will be the focus of this month’s Café Scientifique in Tauranga being held today. Speaker John Perrone, Associate Professor for the School of Psychology at the University of Waikato, specialises in teaching and research in the field of vision and visual perception with a particular emphasis on visual motion perception. He uses computer modeling techniques to simulate the properties of motion sensitive cells in the primate brain. He will discuss the progress made in the past 30 years in understanding how particular cells in the human brain respond to visual motion, and why it is still unclear how these cells combine their responses to produce a sense of three-dimensional depth. Café Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues and is open to anyone wanting to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. It is held today, September 19, 7.30pm, Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. Café Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues, and is supported by the Faculty of Science & Engineering at the University of Waikato to make science accessible to people outside the traditional academic context.


Increasing the number of women on boards of directors is good for business. Dr Stuart Locke, Director of the University of Waikato’s Institute for Business Research, says the organisation analysed 10 years of data from NZX companies and found increasing the number of women on the board increased financial performance. The New Zealand Stock Exchange is proposing new rules that will require all publicly listed companies to declare the composition of their boards – stating how many women and minorities they have as directors and in senior roles. The Australia Stock Exchange has changed its rules and that’s led to a 50 per cent jump in female representation on boards in less than two years. The Australian policy recommends publicly listed companies have a gender diversity policy. The New Zealand proposal calls for it to be mandatory and goes beyond gender diversity to include ethnic diversity. However, Dr Locke also points out that just because women are associated positively with financial performance in New Zealand, it’s not the case in all economies.


Waikato Science masters student Josh Scarrow is putting his degree studies on hold to go to Antarctica for five months with a bunch of Australian scientists. Originally from Katikati, Scarrow’s focus is microbiology and he’ll be part of a joint project between Adelaide University and the South Australia Museum looking at biocomplexity of terrestrial ecosystems on the Prince Charles Mountains in Eastern Antarctica. The project is a replica of the Waikato University-led research project investigating biocomplexity in Antarctica’s Dry Valleys. Scarrow will leave from Tasmania and take 12 days to reach the frozen continent, stopping off en route to drop supplies at Australia’s Macquire Island. His main job will be collecting microbial samples. The scientists divide the landscape up into blocks, known as tiles, and use traditional and cutting-edge scientific techniques to examine the biology from visible lichens, mosses and insects to hidden microbes. It’s the hidden microbes, the bacteria, that interest Scarrow most. “Microbiology isn’t glamorous, but it is important – essential in the food chain – and for its potential benefits in bioremediation, things like oil spills. Globally, it’s a rapidly developing field and it’s great to be a part of it.” He leaves in October.


University of Waikato Faculty of Education senior lecturer Dr Anne Hume has been nominated as a finalist in the 2011 Kudos awards for her commitment to science and educating future scientists. The Kudos awards are a Waikato initiative held yearly to celebrate science achievement in the region. Dr Hume is a finalist in the Science Teacher/Communicator/Educator category and has extensive experience and influence in the national education scene including being part of the writing team for the national science curriculum in 1993, and on the science expert panel for NCEA. “Teaching others over many years has taught me how to learn more effectively and I have managed to achieve personal goals that I once believed were out of my grasp, like becoming a researcher, gaining a doctorate and contributing to science,” says Dr Hume. Dr Hume has been awarded a New Zealand Suffrage Medal for contributions to science education and been a Fulbright Scholar. She has done work with the development team for the Science Learning Hub, and this year is a researcher in a Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) funded project promoting pedagogical content knowledge development for early career secondary teachers in science and technology. The University of Waikato has two other finalists in the Kudos awards – Dr Johan Verbeek and Dr Charles Lee. The winners of the awards will be announced at a dinner on Thursday October 13.


The University of Waikato hosts visiting scholar Dr Per Axelsson from the University of Melbourne this month as part of a seminar on Indigenous Health. Dr Axelsson, from the Centre for Health and Society at Melbourne University, is an expert of the consequence of colonisation on mortality and health. During the seminar he will discuss the limits and possibilities of investigating health effects of colonisation and the transition that took place in the western world following the introduction of modern public health measures. His research examines the history of colonisation on indigenous health, and the continued effect on indigenous health today. The free seminar takes place in BG.24 at the University of Waikato on September 27, starting at 12noon.


University of Waikato Science student Yvonne Taura has been awarded a $15,000 Scholarship by the Māori Education Trust. Taura, who is completing her Master of Science (MSc) thesis, was awarded the Rose Hellaby Postgraduate Scholarship for her commitment to researching environmental issues for her iwi Ngāti Tuwharetoa. After completing a Bachelor of Environmental Science at Te Whare Wānanga O Awanuiārangi in Whakatane, she was contracted by her hapū to research environmental impacts concerning the quality and influences on whanau lands within the South Taupo Wetland. “My research focuses on freshwater ecology in particular wetland ecosystems, which stems from my work in Turangi where my hapū have concerns about willow management.” A collaborative effort with Landcare Research, NIWA, DoC and the University of Waikato, Taura’s research aims to deliver scientifically based guidelines, techniques and tools to improve management and guide restoration of freshwater wetlands throughout New Zealand. She will receive the scholarship at a ceremony later this year.


Revelations about the environmental anxieties imperialism created are unearthed in a new book by University of Waikato historian Dr James Beattie. In Empire and Environmental Anxiety: Health, Science, Art and Conservation in South Asia and Australasia, 1800-1920, Dr Beattie provides a new analysis of imperialism and environmental change. The book reinterprets history by unearthing early concerns about human-induced climate change, soil erosion, and a looming timber famine, also revealing colonial fears about the power of environments – and environmental change – to affect health. “Climate change and conservation are not new concepts – in fact during the 19th and early 20th centuries, conservation represented a form of imperial control designed to generate revenue and to enable the more efficient exploitation of resources,” says Dr Beattie. “The environmental anxiety this created tied parts of South Asia and Australasia together, through the exchange of policies, people, plants and ideas.” Empire and Environmental Anxiety will be launched at the November conference of the New Zealand Historical Association being held at the University of Waikato, November 16-18.


In this year’s Margaret Avery Memorial Lecture Professor Barbara Brookes will present a lecture entitled ‘The Theatre of Medicine: Dr Anna Longshore Potts on Tour in Nineteenth Century New Zealand’ which explores the significance of gender and the reception of an American medical practitioner in a British colonial society. Variously named a ‘she-quack’, a ‘hybrid,’ a ‘lady medico,’ a ‘Quaker lady,’ ‘the American lady doctor’ and ‘one of the most distinguished women of this century,’ Anna Longshore Potts proved to be an entertainment sensation. By the 1870s she had become a lecturer on health, travelling first across the USA and then throughout the English-speaking world. In 1883, she travelled the length and breadth of New Zealand with a significant entourage. The lecture by Professor Brookes explores her time in New Zealand. Margaret Avery first came to Waikato in 1965 as a visiting lecturer and in 1993 was awarded the title of Honorary Fellow of Waikato University for her notable service and leadership in advancing the academic aims of the university. Her contribution to the wider university is acknowledged and celebrated with the annual memorial lecture. The lecture takes place in S.1.04 at the University of Waikato on September 29, starting at 5pm. A gold coin donation is asked of those attending.


The Waikato Management School Students’ Association (WMSSA) hosts an informal networking evening on Wednesday September 21 in the MSB foyer, Hillcrest Road, Hamilton at 5.30pm. In association with the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, WMSSA welcome members of the business community to network with each other and current Management students. The purpose of the evening is to assist current students in gaining networking experience and an insight into the life of a working professional, as well as providing an opportunity for businesses to interact with future graduates.


Wildlife writer and conservationist Julian Fitter presents an overview of the Natural History of Aotearoa, focusing on the development of its unique birdlife in a natural history lecture and book launch. The discussion looks beyond the immediate issues, such as conservation, and examines the value we place on our environment, including: the ways of meeting challenges created by unsustainable development, industrial agriculture, and climate change. Fitter’s presentation will be followed by the launch of his latest book, Birds of New Zealand, co-authored by the late Don Merton. The lecture costs $2 at the door and takes place in Lecture Theatre 106, Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Road, Tauranga, on September 22 starting at 6pm. Fitter is a renowned natural history author/photographer and conservationist who lives in the Bay of Plenty. He has been an integral part of the University of Waikato’s environmental lecture series in Tauranga. Those wishing to attend are asked to book online at


Digital strategist and successful entrepreneur Michael Turner, Chief Executive of Eventfinder Ltd - a technology platform for promotion, syndication and ticketing for the events and live entertainment industry - will talk to the Waikato Management School about how Eventfinder became a multi-country success. Eventfinder has a dominant position in the New Zealand market, with a top 30 website and syndication partnerships with major media including Yahoo, MSN, APN and Fairfax. Turner will tell how he built Eventfinder into a successful multi-country business from his kitchen table using the JFDI methodology. The lecture is part of the The University of Waikato’s Centre for Corporate and Executive Education’s Excellence in Business Practice Series in which industry leaders talk about their experiences and how they have navigated through today’s complexity of change. The free lecture takes place on Friday September 23 in MSB1.01, at the University of Waikato, starting at 1pm.


The Christchurch earthquakes have sparked fresh concern about the likelihood of a large quake in Wellington. The University of Waikato will host lecturer Russ Van Dissen from GNS Science on Wednesday September 29, as part of a lecture series given around the country. The lecture titled ‘It's Our Fault - Better Defining Earthquake Risk in Wellington’ and is a comprehensive study of Wellington's earthquake risk. The objective of the study is to position the capital city of New Zealand to become more resilient through an encompassing study of the likelihood of large earthquakes, the effects of these earthquakes, and their impacts on humans and the built environment. Van Dissen was named the 2011 Hochstetter Lecturer in honour of Ferdinand von Hochstetter, an early explorer and geologist. The free public lecture takes place Wednesday September 29, 7.30pm in MSB.1.01 at the University of Waikato.

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