Media Advisory October 31


Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae will unveil Waikato University’s new Student Centre next week. 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 will 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. Sir Jerry, a Waikato Alumnus, will open the building.


An anthropologist, a demographer and two Te Reo specialists have been named Fellows of the University of Waikato’s Te Kotahi Research Institute. The fellowships were announced at a dinner last week to formally launch the new institute. The TKRI fellows are Professor Lynette Carter, Director of the Institute of Post-Treaty Settlement Futures and Professor of Anthropology, School of Indigenous Graduate Studies, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi; Dr Wayne Ngata, former Māori Language Commissioner; Hōri Manuirirangi, lecturer at Waikato’s School of Māori and Pacific Development and interpreter for Te Kotahi Research Institute; and Dr Tahu Kukutai, former Fulbright recipient and Senior Research Fellow at Waikato’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis. The four new fellows were selected as innovative collaborators who will form the basis of a broad network of national and international research sharing similar aspirations for indigenous development.


University of Waikato Professor Moira Steyn-Ross says identifying what it means to be awake, unconscious and asleep is vital to understanding the nature of anaesthesia. In her Inaugural Professorial Lecture being held in November, Professor Steyn-Ross will discuss her research into understanding the functions and dysfunctions of the brain, and the potential for enhancing the measurement of the depth of anaesthesia. She says one person in every 1000 is awake during anaesthesia. This includes people who are well aware of what is happening through to those who have a vague memory of what happened. “If we understood anaesthesia better we could come up with a more reliable way of detecting if a person really was unconscious.” Professor Steyn-Ross, who has been modelling the brain for nearly a decade, says her model for the brain can also describe the cycles of natural sleep which could improve our understanding of the role of sleep in the processing of memories. The model has also been able to predict seizures which should help towards understanding why seizures happen and how to control them. “Hopefully the predictions from this model will also be useful in these sorts of applications.” Professor Moira Steyn-Ross’s lecture, titled Phase Transitions, Waves and Chaos in the Brain, takes place on Tuesday November 15 at 6.30pm at the university’s 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 Hillary Scholar Tania Law, 22, is one step closer to her dream of umpiring netball at an international level.The masters student and Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar has recently been appointed to the Netball New Zealand National A Umpires Squad for 2012 after picking up the whistle at age 15.“I just got my New Zealand A Award which is the highest umpiring award in New Zealand,” says Tania. “You get assessed on your umpiring throughout the national competition, the Lion Foundation Netball Champs, which is the NPC of netball. It’s a tough job umpiring; everyone has their own opinion, but it’s your job to keep control of the game.The mental and physical challenge is different than anything else. You’ve got to be fit enough to keep up and still be able to make split second decisions that can change the game.”The Netball New Zealand A Umpires squad is one level below ANZ and international competition, and brings her dream to umpire at an international level one step closer. Tania is in her second year of her Master of Science in Molecular Genetics. She is one of 11 Netball New Zealand National A Umpires, and was the first sports official to receive a Hillary Scholarship.


A significant reserve of New Zealand’s history is now available online, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the National Library and a lot of work at the University of Waikato Library. The British Parliamentary Papers - Colonies: New Zealand have been digitised by library staff. These despatches from downunder include reports, statutes, letters and other documents sent between the colony and the British Colonial Office in London spanning 40 years between 1830 and 1870. Kathryn Parsons, the university’s New Zealand Collection librarian, says having them online gives greater access to some of our most interesting history. Subjects vary greatly; from the behaviour of Governor Hobson, land sales, military clothing for pensioned soldiers, and journeys around the country which include detailed descriptions. There are detailed maps available too. Map librarian John Robson says there are maps of downtown Auckland in 1841 when all the city was being put to tender, and each lot is marked and each buyer identified. “You see familiar names.” The BPP pages allow browsing by date, by sender and recipient of documents, by title, and full searching by names and keywords. It can be found at


Waikato University scientists are linking up with a trio from National Geographic and going to Mt Erebus this week. Professor Craig Cary is director of ICTAR, an international Antarctic research centre based at the University of Waikato, dedicated to understanding Antarctica’s unique and fragile terrestrial environment. Professor Cary, Associate Professor Ian McDonald and Dr Craig Herbold will be joined by a photographer, writer and lighting technician from National Geographic and two Antarctic New Zealand advanced field trainers. They’ll be based on the mountain until 20 November. “We’ve been working up on Mt Erebus for the past three years, studying the unique bacteria that live in the hot soils - 65° degrees,” says Professor Cary. “We’ve got temperature probes placed all around the volcano that we’ll be recovering this year along with extensive sampling. We’ll also be drilling ice chimneys and scaling down them into caves to collect soil samples. It’s cold and dangerous stuff, it’s hard work but it’s so exhilarating.” Professor Cary says they’re finding that the microbes appear archaic. “We hope that by looking at the genetics of this rare microbial community they’ll discover how long since gone microbes adapted and survived these harsh conditions.” For more information visit


Dr Andy West, former Chief Executive of AgResearch has been appointed Adjunct Professor of Agribusiness at the University of Waikato. Dr West holds several directorships in the agribusiness sector and is general manager for strategy and R&D at SealesWinslow stock foods. He will be based in the university’s Institute for Business Research. IBR Director Dr Stuart Locke says Dr West brings valuable knowledge, experience and contacts that will ensure agribusiness goes from strength to strength in the heartland of New Zealand’s primary activity and processing.


A maths student with a fondness for things German has won a German Academic Exchange scholarship to study in Germany during our summer. Jordon McMahon has been awarded the DAAD scholarship worth 2200 euros which will cover his tuition fee, travel and some living expenses for the six weeks he’s in Leipzig. The scholarship is for students with a sound knowledge of German and some background in German Studies who are interested in improving their language skills and understanding of contemporary affairs and who are aiming for further studies in Germany. McMahon is a third year Bachelor of Science student majoring in Maths but has taken a number of subjects across his degree including science, politics and German. Long term, he aims to pursue a career as a mathematician after completing a PhD.


The University of Waikato centre for continuing education presents its annual Tauranga Public Lecture Series this 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 tomorrow, November 1, at the University of Waikato Tauranga Campus Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Rd, starting at 6.30pm.


Printmaking in Aotearoa is the subject of the next Demystifying the Arts lecture from the University of Waikato Centre for Continuing Education. Lecturer Heather Bramwell talks with New Zealand printmaker Carole Shepheard about the changes that have occurred in printmaking over the past two decades. Throughout the conversation, consideration will be given to the impact of new technologies which address the need for print to evolve, adapt and extend if it wished to be contemporary. This does not mean a loss of tradition or convention, but a willingness to embrace new possibilities that accommodate invention, challenge and risk. Surface Impressions: Contemporary Printmaking in Aotearoa takes place in Te Whare Tapere Iti Room, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, on November 10, starting at 7pm. Tickets cost $5. For more information visit

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