Media Advisory October 03


The Topp Twins will have honorary doctorates conferred by the University of Waikato this month. Jools and Lynda Topp, who grew up in the Waikato, have been entertaining and poking gentle fun at New Zealanders for more than 30 years. They left Huntly College at 16 and after a short time in the Territorials, took their performing art to the people, beginning as buskers in down town Auckland. Since then, they’ve had numerous sell-out shows across New Zealand and frequently performed at overseas festivals. Their profile and popularity has enabled them to prick at the nation’s conscience and over the years they’ve been high-profile opponents of the 1981 Springbok rugby tour, strong proponents of homosexual law reform, and vocal campaigners for Maori land rights and Nuclear-Free New Zealand. “The Topp Twins send people up without pulling them down,” says Waikato University Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford. “They are intuitive readers of the nation’s pulse and they know that people will usually listen to a song before they will listen to a speech. Not only that, the University of Waikato has long been committed to gender equality. Feminism has informed teaching and research in many disciplines and the region has a reputation for producing strong women. To honour the Topp Twins seems like a natural and perfect fit.”


Silver Fern Laura Langman and world rowing champion Nathan Cohen were named Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year at the 2011 Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues Awards on Friday night. The Pou Ahurea award for Māori Person of the Year went to opera singer, University of Waikato student Chase Douglas while composer and doctorate student Jeremy Mayall won the Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year Award. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Blues Awards. First awarded in 1971, the Blues Awards recognise the commitment and achievements of students in either sport or the creative and performing arts. More than 50 Blues Awards were given out to the University of Waikato’s top sporting and arts students. Award winners represented a range of disciplines from dance and theatre to orienteering and table tennis.


University of Waikato Te Piringa-Faculty of Law Dean Professor Brad Morse says New Zealand and other countries have learnt and will continue to learn a lot from the Treaty of Waitangi. As part of his inaugural professorial lecture being held this month, Professor Morse will share his views of how the experience of the Treaty in New Zealand are of interest to and beneficial to other people and nations around the world. Professor Morse, who specialises in indigenous issues, has been an adviser to the Waitangi Tribunal and the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission. His lecture, titled Te Tiriti o Waitangi in a Global Context: Growing Recognition of Indigenous Rights, takes place at 6.30pm on Tuesday October 18 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.


The University of Waikato and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic will jointly host the Bay of Plenty Chamber of Commerce networking event Business After 5 on Wednesday. Every month different member organisations take turns to host Business After 5 at their own premises to showcase their products and services, while networking with other business people. This month it is the academic sector’s turn with the university and polytechnic jointly hosting the event at the Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Road, Tauranga, starting at 5pm, October 5. The future of tertiary education in the Bay continues to go from strength to strength as both institutions work together to deliver high quality study options for students. University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic CEO Dr Alan Hampton will give a brief presentation about how local business can take advantage of the growing research and education opportunities provided through the tertiary partnership.


Early vibrators were sometimes operated with a foot pedal, and they weren’t household items either. They were usually in the hands of doctors and used to treat hysteria in women (and occasionally men). Six University of Waikato students feature in the play In the Next Room or the vibrator play being staged by Carving in Ice productions in November. Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Waikato Gaye Poole is directing the play and says tracking down antique vibrators is proving a challenge. “I’ve asked around a number of antique stores and nobody has heard of these early electric vibrators so we’ve actually turned to a props maker to help us out.” In the Next Room or the vibrator play was written by Sarah Ruhl in 2009 and is billed as a comedy of marriage, intimacy and electricity. Aside from the six Waikato University students in the cast, others are helping backstage for the production taking place in November.


A group of University of Waikato students is representing New Zealand in the Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) global competition in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur this week. Student teams from 37 countries are competing in the 2011 SIFE World Cup on October 3-5, presenting the results of their community outreach projects to judging panels of business leaders. The Waikato team will present three innovative projects to aid at-risk high school students, restore a local lake and create a mentoring programme for first-year university students. “You’re judged on how your projects empower people and apply skills learned in the classroom to the real world,” says SIFE Waikato’s Jess Pasisi, who’s a third-year management student. SIFE is a global organisation for university students where teams create sustainable projects in the community to teach business finance, market economics, business ethics and entrepreneurship. It’s the third time the SIFE Waikato team has been to the SIFE World Cup. The team was the SIFE New Zealand national champion in 2003 and 2006.


Vodafone CEO Russell Stanners will talk at the University of Waikato Management School this week about the importance of shaping company culture. Stanners will discuss his position as CEO of one of the country’s telecommunications giants and the importance of an organisation’s values in shaping and determining its destiny. Stanners will recount how his organisation has transformed into one which understands why putting the customer at the heart of everything is key to improving business performance. The lecture is part of 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 and open lecture takes place on Friday October 7 in MSB1.01, at the University of Waikato, starting at 1pm.


New Zealand’s early Pakeha settlers brought plants with them, often ones that could be used for medicinal remedies. Waikato University PhD student Joanna Bishop is studying how the settlers used these plants, the native ones they found here and the evolution of more modern treatments. With two science degrees under her belt, Ms Bishop will base herself in the History Department for her doctoral study as a lot of her research will focus on old nursery catalogues, colonial diaries and letters, doctors’ case notes and pharmaceutical literature. She has been awarded a University of Waikato doctoral scholarship and says her research will contribute to the ongoing debates over traditional, alternative and complementary therapies. October is Postgraduate Research Month at the University of Waikato, and includes the annual Thesis in 3 competition, workshops for people thinking about starting a higher degree, and faculty conferences and workshops for current students. For more information go to:


The University of Waikato’s annual ChemQuest will provide the ultimate test for Year 12 chemistry students this week. The after-school chemistry quiz event gives students studying chemistry at NCEA Level 2 the chance to compete for the ChemQuest trophy and other prizes. About 63 teams of three are expected to attend. “ChemQuest is a highlight of the year, and it’s great to see keen students giving up their spare time to participate in the quiz. Of course, we try to make it fun, with a variety of chemistry-based questions. As well as questions based on chemistry, general knowledge and the NCEA curriculum, there are ones using the senses, such as smells and music,” says event organiser Professor Bill Henderson. The current trophy holders are St Paul's Collegiate, who have won the competition the past two years running. The event is sponsored by the university’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, James & Wells Intellectual Property and Hill Laboratories. The ChemQuest takes place at 7pm on October 6 and is held at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus, PWC lecture theatre.


Fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student Mitchel Woodhouse has designed a credit card-sized ‘Multi-tool’ that can open bottles, unscrew nuts and act as a small ruler. The former Cambridge High School student’s project will be one of many on show at the annual Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show held this month at the university. The event will be held from October 18-19, in S Block. During the show, second, third and fourth-year Engineering students showcase their research projects in the forms of posters, displays and seminars. Topics covered include Chemical and Biological Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Materials and Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Software Engineering. The event is the perfect opportunity for both high school students and industry representatives to meet talented engineering students. For more information visit


Children growing up in the 21st century are facing a very different world to that which their parents, grandparents and teachers grew up in. For these children, using instant communication technology such as email, texting and Facebook is second nature and having access to unlimited information through search engines is not a novelty, but a part of everyday life. For these reasons the education they require must be different to anything that has been offered before. Join Director of LENScience Jacquie Bay and science communicator Liz Carpenter at Hamilton’s October Cafe Scientifique, for their talk titled ‘It’s school Jim, but not as we knew it!’. Bay and Carpenter will discuss the idea of tailoring educational environments to enhance and foster the development of lifelong learning skills and competencies; an idea which can be applied over a range of contexts. Hamilton’s October Café Scientifique takes place at Café Français, 711 Victoria Street, Hamilton, at 7.30pm on Tuesday October 11. 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.

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