Media Advisory April 16


University of Waikato social scientist Professor Darrin Hodgetts says engaged research and meaningful relationships are key to solving many of the issues faced by New Zealand’s underclass. Professor Hodgetts has researched the experiences of marginalised groups in New Zealand and will discuss his research in his Inaugural Professorial Lecture being held at the university tomorrow, Tuesday this week. He says many of New Zealand’s services for the homeless reflect the assumptions of middle-class people rather than the lived realities and motivations of homeless people. “We don’t have adequate services or effective interventions for people who have a history of homelessness and unemployment,” says Professor Hodgetts. “The services work best for middle-class people who have fallen into homelessness. These people may have fallen on temporary hard times and are supported until they get back on their feet, which is great, but there are still plenty of people missing out.” Professor Hodgetts’ lecture, titled Working Towards a Socially Relevant, Responsive and Engaged Societal Psychology, takes place this week on Tuesday April 17 at 6pm 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. Lectures are free and open to the public.


University of Waikato students from Hamilton and Tauranga begin graduating this week. The marae graduation takes place this week on Wednesday April 18 at the University of Waikato Hamilton Te Kohinga Mārama campus marae. More than 150 students are graduating at the marae with ceremonies taking place at 9.30am 1.30pm. Tauranga graduation is scheduled for Friday April 20 at the Holy Trinity Events Centre in Tauranga. About 115 graduands are expected to participate in the Tauranga ceremony which starts with a street parade from Red Square from 1.45pm, with the graduation ceremony kicking off at 2.30pm. The Hamilton graduation is scheduled for April 30 - May 3 in Hamilton at the Founders Theatre. A schedule for the all graduations is available online.


University of Waikato composer Mike Williams launches his opera, The Juniper Passion, on Anzac Day at the university’s Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Williams composed the opera, with former university staff member John Davies as librettist. Almost four years in the making, the World War II opera has been produced in remembrance of New Zealand’s armed forces. The Juniper Passion is set in the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944 and University of Waikato Distinguished Alumnus, historian Dr Chris Pugsley, provided valuable historical insights about the battle. The opera also features University of Waikato alumnus singer Julia Booth, and staff members singer David Griffiths and orchestral conductor Rachael Griffiths-Hughes. The multi-media opera will be performed at a free public session at 6pm on Anzac Day, April 25, in the academy’s Dr John Gallagher Concert Chamber. It features choreography by Atamira Dance’s Artistic Director Moss Paterson and 3D graphic visual sets by animation designer Sean Castle.


In what’s thought to be a Waikato record, Hawaiian student Keao NeSmith completed his doctorate in applied linguistics in just two and a half years. He’ll graduate at the University of Waikato marae this week on Wednesday April 18 and has brought 10 members of his family to New Zealand to share the day with him. A recipient of a top US Mellon-Hawai’i Fellowship worth $56,000, NeSmith enrolled in the School of Māori and Pacific development to study how his Hawaiian language, currently endangered, was being to new generations of native speakers. NeSmith says he chose New Zealand to study to further broaden his academic and professional experience and training and to gain a more international view of academic and research methodologies. “It was a good decision. My supervisors were top – absolutely professional, dedicated and meticulous. I was well-supported in a fun environment with staff dedicated to cultural advancement.” NeSmith hopes to work with those struggling to revitalise the language by developing a professional teaching programme. He’s currently teaching Hawaiian at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. NeSmith hopes to continue his connection with Waikato and New Zealand, returning for presentations and to conduct research.


A radio advertisement to study psychology at the University of Waikato has changed the life of Tauranga man Jacob Kerewaro. He was 29 with a chequered past and working at Countdown when he heard the ad and decided to take up the university offer. This Friday, April 20, he’ll graduate in Tauranga with a Bachelor of Social Science and has begun studying for his Masters in Applied Psychology in Applied Behaviour Analysis. Mostly he has studied part-time with the majority of his classes taught in Tauranga. “Part-time learning suits me. I find having less pressure allows me to think more, reflect on what we’re learning in class and prepare better. My father is Tainui and from the Waikato and when I arrived at Waikato University it felt like I was in the right place. There are excellent support services on campus, including Māori mentoring, the staff are approachable, and the technology available today makes learning a lot easier.” When he completes his masters, Kerewaro hopes to work with young people, possibly Māori youth who are intellectually or physically disabled. Kerewaro is one of 115 students who’ll graduate at Tauranga’s Holy Trinity Event Centre on Friday April 20.


Nominations for the University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni Awards close this week, Friday April 20. Held annually, the Distinguished Alumni Awards acknowledge graduates of the University of Waikato who have made outstanding contributions in their careers or communities. Past recipients include Sir Jerry Mateparae, New Zealand’s Governor-General; Hon Hekia Parata, Minister of Education; Theresa Gattung, a leading business personality and Dr Craig Nevill-Manning, Director for New York Engineering at Google. Graduates of the university holding a degree or diploma are eligible for nomination. All nominations are confidential and require a broad criteria of excellence and achievement. Nominations from alumni, current or former staff and friends of the university are welcome by Friday April 20. The 2012 awards will be presented at a formal dinner hosted by University of Waikato Chancellor Rt Hon Jim Bolger and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on Friday August 24. Visit for further details.


Tauranga locals Polly Brown and Kim Mitchell, who graduate from the University of Waikato with Bachelors of Social Work this week, have already found jobs at the local branch of Child, Youth and Family. They both now work as care and protection social workers for children under five. “It’s great to finally be working with families face-to-face after four years of study,” says Ms Brown. Acting convenor of the social work programme Kelly Smith says there is a need for trained social work professionals right across New Zealand who are skilled and knowledgeable about assisting people work through the social issues taking place in our communities. The four-year University of Waikato programme, which is only offered in Tauranga, was developed in partnership with Bay of Plenty Polytechnic in 2009.


The University of Waikato hosts the first of this year’s Corporate and Executive Education Excellence in Practise Series on Friday, April 20. Dr Julian Elder, CEO of WEL Networks Limited, will present the first session entitled The Challenge of the Future in an Infrastructure World. Dr Elder will talk about the traditional approach to planning of infrastructure and the challenge the future brings to decisions made today. In his talk he will also raise the question, are we about looking after the assets for the future or providing a service today? The lecture is free and takes place on Friday this week from 1-2-pm at the University of Waikato Management School, MSB, 1.03. To rsvp email


Twenty-two top biology students will be at the University of Waikato this week to complete their training for the International Biology Olympiad. The week-long training event hosted by the University of Waikato and Massey University challenges exceptionally gifted young students in higher secondary school biology. The students are competing for four places in the team to represent New Zealand at the international competition in Singapore this July. About 300 students fight for a place in the New Zealand Olympiad team each year. The places are whittled down via tutorials and exams over eight months of study. The group of students will be in the Waikato University biology laboratories from today Monday April 16 to Thursday April 19 honing their skills and sitting practical and theory exams. In Singapore the New Zealand team will compete against more than 60 countries in the international event.

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