Media Advisory October 25


A Waikato University management student with a passion for social justice is one of just three students in New Zealand to win a Rhodes Scholarship for 2012. Widely considered to be the most prestigious scholarship in the world, the Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award for study at the University of Oxford. Raised in Whangarei and of Ngāpuhi descent, Briar Thompson is completing a Bachelor of Communication Studies majoring in public relations and has a string of previous awards to her name. At Oxford, she plans to undertake a masters degree in refugee and forced migration studies followed by another masters degree in global governance and diplomacy. Her goal is to advise on or develop solutions to regional and global issues.


A unique MBA programme for Māori leaders has won the inaugural MBA Innovation Award offered by the London-based Association of MBAs (AMBA), one of the world’s leading management education accreditation bodies. Developed to foster indigenous ways of doing business with a collaborative ethos, the MBA programme is a partnership between the University of Waikato Management School and the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development at Hopuhopu. Professor Frank Scrimgeour, Dean of Waikato Management School, says the award is recognition that New Zealand punches above its weight when it comes to new approaches in management education."The award endorses our commitment to develop future Māori leaders. It shows that our MBA programme is world class, relevant, and at the forefront of management thinking and it is recognition that Waikato Management School is held in high esteem by our international peers."


Iwi, Māori and indigenous communities wanting to access research capability to support their development will be able to turn to the University of Waikato’s newest research institute. Te Kotahi Research Insitute (TKRI) will be formally launched this week at the university. TKRI Director Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith says the institute aims to promote innovation, well-being and inspiration. “We expect Te Kotahi Research Institute to become a hub for high-quality indigenous research that crosses disciplinary boundaries and focuses on improving the lives of whānau, hapū and iwi,” she says. The launch on Thursday October 27 will be marked by a free, day-long public symposium on the Waitangi Tribunal’s Wai 262 report, followed by an invitation-only dinner in the evening. High Court Judge Justice Joe Williams, former Chair of the Waitangi Tribunal and former Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court, is the keynote speaker at the Wai 262 symposium.


Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae will unveil Waikato University’s new Student Centre next month. The Student Centre project, which has taken three years to complete, involved the university’s library being updated and expanded to become a multifunctional facility. The facility combines traditional library resources with high-tech IT facilities and also feature shops, relaxation spaces and a central point for student services on campus. Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says the Student Centre will become the social heart of the campus and will provide a dynamic university experience for students and staff. Last year, the Student Centre was awarded a five green-star rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council. The five-star rating recognises the environmental and sustainable features of the Student Centre design, which include photovoltaic panels, self-monitoring lighting and energy efficient heating systems. The official opening of the University of Waikato Student Centre will be Wednesday November 9.


Ten finalists have been selected for Waikato University’s Thesis in Three competition following four heats involving nearly 50 students. Doctoral students have to present their research in three minutes with the aid of a single static slide and are judged on content, academic rigour, relevance and presentation. Subjects are as diverse as East-West management philosophies, the apparent ineffectiveness of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) programme, justice versus democracy, and issues around giving birth in a foreign country. “A competition like this forces the students to really focus on what it is they’re trying to achieve in their doctoral research,” says Professor C Kay Weaver, Pro Vice-Chancellor Postgraduate. “It’s quite a challenge for them to present the work in such a concise way and make it interesting for an audience that might know nothing about the subject.” The finals of Thesis in 3 take place at Clarence St Theatre in Hamilton on Wednesday October 26 and is free and open to the public. The winner will receive $5000 of research funding – sponsored by accountants Prior Blackburn.


People returning to New Zealand after a long time overseas may find it doesn’t feel like home, and they don’t know where or what home is anymore. According to research conducted by University of Waikato PhD student Naomi Pocock, often people return to New Zealand after time overseas and find that life has continued without them, and what they felt was home may now seem unfamiliar and strange. Pocock interviewed travellers who had been away from the country from between nine months to five years, and returned in the last six months, to see how their concept of what was home had changed. “Home to a lot of people isn’t necessarily a place, it’s being with what matters to you the most. I see it as more of a feeling than a thing or a place, and it may be represented, for example, by a special relationship or the opportunity to undertake meaningful activities.” Pocock graduated last week alongside more than 500 other University of Waikato students.


After spending eight years working for the Paraguayan Attorney General, Maximiliano Mendieta came to Waikato University to learn how to better his country. Max came to the University of Waikato this year to complete his Masters of Law looking at human and indigenous rights and on his return home secured a job at the Paraguayan office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Having always wanted to study abroad, a full NZAID scholarship came up in 2011 and Max chose Te Piringa – Faculty of Law because of his interest in indigenous rights. Te Piringa has a commitment to the development of a bicultural legal education in its curriculum, research interests and institutional structures. “I had always been attracted to New Zealand because of rugby, Māori culture, the beautiful places and the fact it’s more advanced than Latin America in human rights, social justice and corruption.” After returning to Paraguay, Max briefly taught criminology at the National University of Law and worked with Amnesty International to establish an anti-discrimination law through the Paraguayan House of Representatives while looking for work.


Poor management and avoiding responsibility may contribute to workplace bullying, leaving employees feeling sadness, shame and pain. According to research by University of Waikato PhD student Alison Thirlwall, bullying is usually the by-product of an already troubled workplace and by avoiding responsibility, workplaces contribute to the problem. Her interest in workplace bullying was sparked when she worked at a South Island polytechnic and she found a gap in literature while researching an abusive situation in the workforce. To conduct her research, Thirlwall collected survey data and interviewed workers from 10 New Zealand polytechnics and institutes of technology. “My enquiry into workplace bullying aims to show how bullying starts, how it’s experienced and managed by targets and the way it ends. Bullying is a process that exhibits a common pattern and is much more than simply negative or inappropriate behaviour. In its most extreme form, targets can be subjected to ostracism and campaigns of verbal and behavioural abuse.” Bullying was described metaphorically in terms of fights, madness, and isolation and perpetrators were described as duplicitous, dangerous animals, and explosive.


The one-woman play Silent Night will play two nights at the University of Waikato this week. The play is written and performed by Yvette Parsons and is the first theatre production from the Central North Island Consortium to be staged at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The Central North Island Consortium is a collective of theatres from Hamilton, New Plymouth and Hastings and is funded by Creative New Zealand under its Regional Distribution Funding Strategy. “It means that plays and other art forms get out to regional venues – plays that might have had their first performance in a major centre and not normally gone beyond that,” says Academy Manager Jeremy Bell. Silent Night is set on Christmas Day in a little flat in suburban New Zealand as Irene McMunn prepares for a party and reflects on life and loves of times gone by - with some useful Christmas craft tips thrown in. Hamilton performances of Silent Night will take place on October 28 and 29.


Whether there is negative mass in the universe or not, the mathematical concept of negative mass, once labelled by a journal reviewer as “black magic”, has helped a University of Waikato researcher solve vibration problems. Now the novel concept of “negative structures” has resulted in Associate Professor Ilanko Ilanko, from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, receiving a $795,000 Marsden Research award to develop a theoretical framework and explore the range of applications. Ilanko was awarded the grant to look at Negative structures, superposition and penalty parameters for dynamic analysis. His research aims to develop a new methodology for predicting the vibration behaviour of complex structures using the concept of negative structures – imaginary structures that have negative physical properties: negative mass and negative elastic stiffness. Just as mathematicians use ‘imaginary numbers’ to solve equations, engineers could use the idea of negative structures to solve vibration problems, says Ilanko. Applications of the theory could include creating optimal design of perforated brake discs.


Dr Alison Campbell from the University of Waikato’s Department of Biological Sciences will deliver a presentation called The Bones of Our Past, revealing how new fossil finds, and on-going research, constantly increase our understanding of the origins of modern humans. Supported by Waikato Pathways College, The Bones of our Past will examine what fossils have to tell us and look at the forensic methods used to learning more about the origins of human life. The presentation takes place in Lecture Theatre 106, Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Road, Tauranga on Wednesday October 26, starting at 6.30pm. A $2 coin donation is asked. Bookings are essential.


An electric arm that is controlled by sensor pads placed on a bicep was just one of the engineering design projects on show recently at the University of Waikato. The Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show on October 18 and 19 gave Waikato University engineering students the opportunity to showcase their prototype designs. The students also presented posters detailing their designs and gave short talks on their research projects which were marked by Waikato University lecturers. Among the many topics presented was a draft tube platform for Mighty River Power, a look at bio-sustainable energy generation from meat rendering, a project on the benefits of hydrogen injection into diesel engines, a look at failure methods of Toyota Prius battery packs and a design poster looking at the control of a robot arm through electromyography.


The University of Waikato centre for continuing education presents its annual Tauranga Public Lecture Series from next week. Museums not Mausoleums is a four part series which examines the cultural significant and relevance of museums in the 21st century. The first presentation called The Reinvention of Rotorua Museum features Greg McManus, the museum director. The free lecture takes place at the University of Waikato Tauranga Campus Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Rd, starting at 6.30pm on November 1.

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