Media Advisory November 07


The University of Waikato opens its new Student Centre on Wednesday. Ceremonies marking the occasion, include a dawn ceremony to bless the building followed by the official opening by Governor-General Lt Gen the Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, a Waikato alumnus. 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 opening of the Student Centre is a significant occasion for the university. “The conception and completion of this building is another demonstration of our commitment to the delivery of a world-class education while providing our students with a dynamic university experience,” he says. Last year, the Student Centre was awarded a five green-star rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council. The 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 held at 11am on Wednesday November 9.


As the Rena crisis threatens to heavily impact the Bay of Plenty coastline, the University of Waikato and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic are looking forward to plenty of robust discussion at the 2011 OceaNZ Dive Conference and Exhibition this weekend at Baycourt. Since the Rena ran aground in early October, the tertiary partnership has worked together to monitor and analyse marine life to establish a baseline of information which will enable scientists to quantify the impact of pollution and estimate recovery times. During the weekend exhibition, staff and students will be available to talk about the work carried out to date and the research and project work planned which will help scientists understand more about the long-term environmental effects of the oil spill. The University’s Chair of Coastal Science Professor Chris Battershill will be one of the guest speakers at the weekend conference. Information will also be available on the partnership’s new Bachelor of Science pathway programme. From next year, students studying the two-year Diploma in Marine or Environmental Sciences at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, will be able to complete a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biological Sciences, by completing their final year with the university. The degree is available entirely in Tauranga. The 2011 OceaNZ Dive Conference and Exhibition will be held November 12 - 13,


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 next week, 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 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.


When container ship Rena ran aground on the Astrolabe reef four weeks ago, New Zealand was plunged into dealing with one of its biggest environmental disasters, the full extent of which is only now being quantified. The impact on the Bay of Plenty coastal environment will be the focus of this month’s Café Scientifique in Tauranga, organised by Dr Kathrin Otrel-Cass of the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Science and Engineering. The university’s Chair in Coastal Science Professor Chris Battershill will address some of the issues around the particular impacts on the ecosystem of our coastline and the clean-up processes. He will be accompanied by Andrew Berry who leads the Salvage Operations for Maritime New Zealand and will provide an update on the salvage operation. Also in attendance will be visiting Geophysics Professor Mal Heron from James Cook University, who can comment on Australia’s recent ship grounding incidents. This Café is an opportunity to hear more about the impacts of heavy oil on the ecosystem, and the nature of cleaning up spilled oil. Café Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues. It aims to promote public engagement with science and make science accessible. Café Scientifique will be held on Monday November 21, 7.30pm, Alimento Café, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. For more information please visit:


An iPhone app that tells you how safe beauty products are and an Android app that helps preschool kids learn are two of many innovative projects on show at the University of Waikato Computer Graphic Design Show. Final-year computer graphic design student Karen Manktelow has created an iPhone app that will assist with the purchase of ethical and environmentally friendly skincare products. The app, called skincare, works by giving a safe rating to products that have had their barcodes photographed and scanned through the app. “Last year I went to a Living Nature presentation and they pointed out how many chemicals are in our cosmetics. There’s not a lot of information for New Zealand women about what is in their cosmetics, and hopefully this is a solution,” says Karen. This year’s design show for Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design runs until November 9 at the University of Waikato. The show’s theme is Uncharted Territory, and among the projects on display are interactive board games, xbox camera technology being used to control computer input and output and branding projects where students have taken a product, event or service and developed a visual identity system for a company. Another project on display is Katrina McIntosh’s project called Wordals, which uses Android technology to help preschool kids learn. Wordals is a series of educational games on Android tablet computers aimed at preschool children. Based in the Department of Computer Science, Waikato’s three-year Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design degree offers a unique mix of programming and design, in line with new international developments in design education.


University of Waikato linguistics lecturer Dr Julie Barbour has received a $345,000 Marsden Grant to complete the world’s first large-scale comparative study of “mood systems” in the Vanuatu languages. For her PhD Dr Barbour examined the Neverver language, recording and documenting its grammatical system. Her new research extends her PhD by looking at one specific element of that grammatical system – mood marking – and compares Neverver with other Vanuatu languages. More than 100 different languages are spoken in Vanuatu, many of which have never been written or described. “In English we use tense, we must describe events as happening in the past, present or future. In these languages they seem to describe events on the basis of whether those events are real or unreal,” says Dr Barbour. “When I was studying Neverver, one of the things I noticed was the mood system was completely different to the system we use in English.” The study will be a world-first inter-island study of the functions of “grammatical mood” in Vanuatu’s languages. Dr Barbour’s research is a continuation of the work of her PhD supervisor Professor Terry Crowley, who dedicated years to recording and documenting the many Vanuatu languages but recently passed away. “I’m so thrilled to be doing my own project as a way to continue the work he started.” The Marsden Fund is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the Marsden Fund Council, and funded by the New Zealand Government. It supports projects in the sciences, technology, engineering and maths, social sciences and the humanities. The University of Waikato won four Marsden Research grants.


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 second presentation called National Museums of the Future features Michael Houlihan, Te Papa CEO. The free lecture takes place tomorrow, November 8, at the University of Waikato Tauranga Campus Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Rd, starting at 6.30pm.


The University of Waikato will host the annual New Zealand History Association conference next week. The conference, titled Past Tensions: Reflections on Making History, will focus on fresh interpretations of tensions in the past, including models of biculturalism/multiculturalism, histories of the colonising process, environmental histories, and the gendering and ‘racing’ of the past. The conference takes place November 16 - 18 with public lectures being held during the conference. Kicking off the public lectures is the inaugural Wiremu Maihi Te Rangikaheke Memorial Lecture, held on November 16. Presented by Dr Apirana Mahuika, a Waikato University honorary doctorate recipient and University of Waikato Council member, the lecture will look into Māori and iwi history. On November 17, Professor Charlotte Macdonald of Victoria University will present the Beaglehole Lecture, titled The King’s Speech and Sensible Flesh: The pains and pleasures of twentieth-century history making. For more information on the New Zealand History Association conference visit


People wanting more information about the University of Waikato’s Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies – PGDip (MgtSt) – can attend an information evening in Tauranga. Run through the internationally-accredited Waikato Management School, the PGDip (MgtSt) is ideally suited to people with management experience wanting to develop their skills. This is a highly interactive programme that focuses on the integration of theory and practice through practical coursework, case studies and class discussion. It is offered in Tauranga as a two-year programme run on alternate Saturdays from 8.30am - 5.00pm, and begins in February. Two free information evenings will be held on Tuesday November 15, and Wednesday November 23, 5.30pm at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Road, Tauranga. To reserve a place, please email


Three University of Waikato students received awards last week as part of the Tauranga Moana region’s 11th annual Adult Learners’ Week Awards. They were recognised for their enthusiasm and commitment to learning, inspiration to other students and contribution to the community. Kiri Diamond received the Acorn Foundation Eva Trowbridge Scholarship of $3000. This scholarship is awarded annually to a University of Waikato student who studies in Tauranga as long as the student continues with their degree the following year. Kiri is halfway through a Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in Psychology and Education Studies and intends to continue working within the Tauranga community upon graduating. Melissa Teirney and Fae McIntosh each received University of Waikato Tauranga Alumni Adult Learner Scholarships of $500. Melissa has just completed her second year of a Bachelor of Teaching degree and is a fluent Spanish speaker, having lived in Chile for 12 years, and particularly enjoys teaching English, Spanish and Social Science. She hopes to teach at an intermediate school when she graduates. Fae has completed her final year of study towards a Bachelor of Social Work and has one more practicum placement to complete over the summer before she graduates in April. She hopes to go on to work in the community as a social worker. Adult Learners’ Week, held nationally from October 31 – November 4, is a UNESCO initiative organised in more than 40 countries to celebrate achievements and contributions in adult learning.


Printmaking in Aotearoa is the subject of the next Demystifying the Arts lecture from the University of Waikato Centre for Continuing Education being held this week. 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, this week on November 10, starting at 7pm. Tickets cost $5. For more information visit


Has the role of brand and marketing communications become more or less important amid rampant competition, media fragmentation and a technology revolution? Natalie Sutherland, General Manager Marketing Strategy at Vodafone New Zealand will explore the impact of these trends through the lens of the Vodafone Brand at the next Waikato Management School Excellence in Business Practise Series. Sutherland is an experienced services marketer who has worked across a broad range marketing disciplines in financial services and more recently telecommunications. Her current role is focussed on business and marketing strategy. She will be speaking at the Waikato Management School, MSB 1.02 on Friday November 18, starting at 1pm.

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