Media Advisory April 30

University of Waikato graduation continues this week when more than 1000 students will be capped at Hamilton’s Founders Theatre. Ceremonies run from 30 April to 3 May, with a daily parade through the city. The full graduation schedule can be found online.

About 3000 students and teachers from as far away as Northland and Hawkes Bay will converge on the University of Waikato’s campus for the annual Open Day on 11 May. Open Day is designed to give prospective students a taste of university life and an opportunity to find out more about what the University of Waikato offers. The event is open to everyone who is thinking about full or part-time tertiary study, from secondary school level to mature students. For the first time, students coming to Open Day can see the range of presentations, lectures, tours and seminars online, and create an individual timetable to guide them around campus on the day. The University of Waikato Open Day runs from 9am to 2pm on Friday 11 May. For more information call 0800 WAIKATO or visit to see the day-planner and programme.

A doctoral study of bogans by Waikato University student Dave Snell reveals that underneath they’re not so different from the rest of us – they just look different. Snell, a bogan himself, caused a small stir in 2007 when he was awarded a doctoral scholarship of almost $100,000 to study how bogans develop their identity and function in the community, and he also looked at their online presence. He’s now completed his study and will graduate on Thursday at Founders Theatre in Hamilton.  He says physical appearance is obviously a key way they express themselves but actually, like everyone else, bogans behave differently in different groups. “My research shows that you can’t just slot people into distinct personality types – like those psychometric tests that HR people sometimes use.  Our interactions shape who we are rather than us being born a certain way”. Snell’s supervisor Professor Darrin Hodgetts says Snell’s research is valuable. “Really he’s used bogans as a case study to investigate community and identity. He’s contributed to our understanding of notions of identity, how we understand community and how we function within it. He’s done some good work.”

The University of Waikato celebrates Kīngitanga Day next month. Kīngitanga Day is an annual event that recognises the university’s unique and distinctive connection with Waikato-Tainui and the Kīngitanga. The day-long event has a range of activities including seminars, panel discussions and presentations from guest speakers and leading academics. This year the university’s Te Kotahi Research Institute will host guest speakers including Dame Claudia Orange, Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru, Moana Jackson and University of Waikato law lecturer Linda Te Aho for a symposium discussing the status, place and relevance of the Treaty of Waitangi in a constitution for Aotearoa. Celebrations for Kīngitanga Day take place 9am-3.30pm on Wednesday 16 May, with all activities free and open to the public. For more information visit

Four budding biology students have been selected to represent New Zealand in Singapore at the International Biology Olympiad (IBO) in July. The students were selected following a recent week-long training event hosted by the University of Waikato and Massey University’s Institute of Natural Sciences. Of the 22 students from around New Zealand who attended the camp, the four students selected for the team were SuMin Yoon from Hamilton, Eddie McTaggart from Nelson and Richard Chou and Evelyn Qian from Auckland. The Olympiad challenges exceptionally gifted young students in higher secondary school biology. The New Zealand team will compete against more than 60 countries in the prestigious international event. “Biology is a pathway to an incredible array of vibrant and exciting careers, many of which students do not even realise exist. New Zealand leads the way in many areas of biological research so the opportunities for biology graduates are many and varied” says NZIBO Chair, Dr Angela Sharples.

A University of Waikato graduand is hoping her PhD research will contribute to a self-help book for couples dealing with relationship issues. “I had worked as a counsellor for several years and really appreciated the postmodern, narrative therapy ideas the Master of Counselling teaches,” says Wendy Talbot. Before coming to Waikato, Talbot spent about 15 years working in couple education and counselling in community agencies, tertiary counselling services and in private practice. For her PhD, entitled Reflexive Audiencing Practices for Couple Relationships-in-action, Talbot filmed conversations of couples who were interested in developing their relationships. She would watch the recording with the couple and explore areas that stood out for them as interesting and important. Her findings were that when couples took a curious, appreciative stance to their conversations, from a third-person perspective, they began to see their relationships quite differently - aspects that were taken for granted or problematic became visible and able to be reviewed and developed. Talbot graduates at Hamilton’s Founder Theatre on 1 May.

Sport Waikato CEO Matthew Cooper says he’s changed his leadership style as a result of studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies at the University of Waikato. The former All Black and part-time Sky rugby commentator says it was hard slog juggling work, family-life and study but it’s certainly paid off. At Sport Waikato, Cooper oversees a staff of 80 who are tasked with getting and keeping the people of the Waikato and Coromandel regions active; all 383,000 of them. “While almost everything you learn on the programme is useful, I was probably most influenced by the leadership components of the programme. I have changed my leadership style as a result,” Cooper says. “I’m also more skilful handling problems and conflict than I used to be. I’m better at understanding human behaviour and using that to get good results. In effect the overall programme has taught me the art of listening and asking a lot more questions in my leadership role.” Cooper graduates on Wednesday 2 May at Founders Theatre in Hamilton.

Seven University of Waikato Hillary scholars are involved in two plays by Auckland playwright Jo Randerson being performed this week at the University’s Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.  The students are either acting or working behind the scenes, in Cow and Fold. Both plays are directed by senior lecturer in Theatre Studies Gaye Poole in a season that runs 1-5 May. “Cow is a wry look at New Zealand family and the pressures placed on them to conform. Fold, an earlier work, makes a mockery of pretension – it’s set round a birthday party and takes a dig at just about everybody – the pretentious, self-obsessed and self-deluded. They’re non-naturalistic plays. I think the audience will be challenged.”

The University of Waikato’s Department of Economics hosts Agricultural Consultant Phil Journeaux on 4 May to talk about a range of issues affecting farmers. Journeaux will discuss issues affecting the agricultural sector, from changes in farm profitability over the last decade, what’s happening with land prices, levels of debt, on-farm cost inflation, and productivity improvements. The drivers behind these are discussed, as are ways forward. Journeaux joined the Waikato office of AgFirst on 2 April 2012, after 35 years with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. He has been a member of the New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society for 23 years, and on the executive for the past 10, most recently as Treasurer. The seminar takes place in MSB4.02 at 11am and is free and open to the public.

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